February 12, 2021
February 12, 2021
Paul’s words to the Galatians in today’s text seem a little harsh, especially because he’s referring to a first century debate in the Christian church that doesn’t seem to be very pertinent to Christians in the 21st century.
And while the facts of that debate in the Galatian church may not necessarily apply today, the foundational argument is still very much alive. The Galatians were trying to put rules into place that would determine whether a person was in God’s good grace. Isn’t this what we try and do all the time too?
How many times have we heard…
“You have to interpret the Bible this way to really be a Christian…”
“You have to dress for Church this way or you aren’t respecting God…”
“You have to believe this way or you’re not really getting it…”
All of these statements are really the same argument that Paul was having with the Galatians. These are rules that we put in place to mediate our relationship with God. These are ways that we, as fallible human beings, come up with to determine whether a person is “in” or “out.” But that’s not what it’s about! Rules, according to Paul, don’t count for anything!
“…the only thing that counts is faith working through love.”
Rules are helpful things when they keep us moving forward in love and faith, guarding our hearts from our tendency to wander, but when we start using rules to judge others and determine who should be in the Church or not, that’s when we’re no longer honoring God.
Let today be a day that we honor God, not with rules and judgment, but with grace and love.
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- What is a rule that has been helpful along my faith journey? What is a rule that has been harmful? How can I affirm what is helpful and change what is harmful?
FAMILY FIELD TALK
- Today, pray for anyone that has ever been hurt because of rules that were meant to keep them out of Church. Pray that God would use us to show people love and not judgment.
God of love, you have accepted us; help us to accept others as they are. Let us show the type of grace to others that demonstrates your radical love. In Jesus name, Amen.