Bible Studies for Life Lesson for July 17- Personal Relationship
July 6 2011 by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh

Focal Passages: Galatians 4:1-7; 1 John 1:5-9; 3:1-3

Luther, my lead tenor, wasn’t feeling any connection between his soul and the notes of the spiritual, “Too Late, Sinnuh!” that my chorus was rehearsing for state contest. Impulsively, he stood, faced the group, and exclaimed, “Set yourself free, class; set yourself free!”

While calling for more “soul,” Luther overlooked the need to master first the elementary knowledge of the music — notes, pitch, rhythm, and dynamics — before the spiritual could progress from the students’ heads to their hearts and eventually resonate in the ears of their listeners.

Today, cries for political, religious, financial, and physical freedom reverberate throughout the world.

Centuries ago, while addressing the Galatian Christians, Paul stressed still another kind of freedom — spiritual freedom from sin, made possible by Christ’s death and resurrection.

Since the time Paul last preached in Galatia, many Christians there had allowed the Judaizers to convince them that Christ’s death and resurrection were not sufficient to save them from sin; they must renew their practice of circumcision and keep the Mosaic law.

Paul argued that this legalism would not promote spiritual maturity, but would drive them backward to the ABC’s of spiritual infancy. In the childhood of the world, the law served as guardian for people of faith (Heb. 11).

But God intended for grace, not law, to be the way of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). Paul used the word stoicheia, which meant the ABC’s of faith, to describe the elementary forces of the world that currently enslaved the Galatians.

Now, in God’s time, He had sent His Son to free them from the bondage of the law (Gal. 4:3-5).

Therefore, Paul insisted, “But now, since you know God, or rather have become known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and bankrupt elemental forces? Do you want to be enslaved to them all over again?” (v. 9).

Once my chorus mastered the elementary aspects of the music, and performed the spiritual in contest, receiving A’s from all judges, why would I, the following morning, go back to teaching the notes all over again?

Today I remember Luther’s appeal as reminiscent of the centuries-old cry of Paul: “Now that you live under grace, don’t return to slavery under the law. Set yourselves free, Christians, set yourselves free!”
7/6/2011 6:22:00 AM by Catherine Painter, author, speaker from Raleigh | with 0 comments

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