You know what else amazes me? People read this letter and think that I was questioning the DESTINATION of the Christian, when, in fact, I was describing THE LIFE we have been called into! From our earliest experiences to the present day, this life is totally unlike any principle of living we have ever known. It is this difference we seem to forget as we go through our everyday routines. Somehow, the miraculous nature of our new life in Christ gets pushed right out of our actual considerations. No wonder so many of us live in such confusion.
You know, it wasn't a bad thing for Israel to live under the law… it was in accordance with God's plan of keeping them in custody. You know how some people have hired a nanny to keep after the children until they are grown? Well, the Law was the nanny for the children of Israel … and their childhood lasted from Moses until Christ! That's a long childhood. Their whole existence was lived in view of, “This is what I am supposed to do and/or not to do”. They were given corresponding punishments and rewards that hung over their heads. If it sounds similar to the way in which you were raised, it should. All of us were born into this prison … and the law intensified it for us! And this is what Christ came to redeem us from.
The Galatians had no reason to be intimidated by those who were hanging on the old system. The time had come and it had passed them by … they were still being led by the hand as little children! And they were trying to make the true sons of God feel as if they didn't really belong. But how does one who doesn't belong call out to the true God and call him, Daddy? Don't you realize that if the Spirit of Christ has been sent into the outsiders that also means freedom for the insiders? Those who were insiders have nothing over those who were outsiders.
Here is what we really miss: the life principles of those without God are the same as the life principles of those who are under the laws of God!! What else did you think it meant to “turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things”? Paul told them that by turning to the law they were actually returning to the same operating principles they had been called out of. And if this is what Christ is all about, who needs Christ?
The Galatians were showing all kinds of signs that they had regressed to their former bondage. They were falling into the religious habits the Jews had observed under the nanny. Just a quick look around most religious groups today reveals a similar condition! You believers today hold to forms that have no life, but only give the appearance that you have your stuff together. Whatever happened to freedom?
In case you don't know, I hadn't planned on going to visit the Galatians in the first place. It was accidental … if you can call it that. I got thrown off from my original plans. I was in bad shape from an illness and I didn't look so good. Which means their first impression of me gave them reason to look down on me as being the representative of God, but they didn't. After all, what kind of a God sends sick people? But they heard God's voice through me. The joy they received was not because I impressed them … they accepted me as Christ. This had been a miraculous thing. What had happened? Were did their joy go? How had I become their enemy? Because I was telling them the truth?
Those impostors who were wooing the Galatians were being dishonest. They pretended to care. They said they were concerned about improving relationships with Christ, but they only wanted to increase their own little kingdom. Their formula was simple: entice them … shut them out … make them beg to get in! I have no problem with the sincere love that seeks another's good, but that is often not the case. Open your eyes, there are impostors desiring to get you in their group. Just notice how they are doing what they are doing … it should be quite obvious!
Okay, maybe you're considering some formula to make you more spiritual. That's what the Galatians were doing. They figured if circumcision was the thing they were missing then why not do it? They were desiring a system of performance to live by, but they had no idea what that system really was. Do you? Do you know the significance in the fact that Abraham had TWO sons? Listen, there is a difference between a son of Abraham by the natural means and a son by the miraculous!
God had made a promise which left no option but to believe Him. But time passed and it didn't seem to be working, so Abraham and Sarah (aka Abram and Sarai) decided to take matters into their own hands. It was actually Sarai's idea. She begged Abram to go have sexual intercourse with her slave-girl; it doesn't appear that he put up a fight. Didn't you know it was the custom for a free woman to have children through her slave? In their minds they were doing the right thing! Call it what you will … “acting in faith”, “putting feet to prayer” “making practical application” … but they had attempted to do God's work their way! And their solution caused a major conflict. Ishmael was conceived and the free woman was despised by the slave. Years later (leave it to God's timing, huh?), God did give Sarah a child (Issac) and it was a miracle child for she was an old, old woman. The results? The child of bondage harassed the child of faith.
Don't you see it? The productivity of the flesh always questions the productivity of the Spirit. Here is the lesson we have learned in the world: If you want to get things done you gotta do it yourself! The lesson of God is this: Let God do what God promises to do! In the meantime, know this: the children of bondage will despise you and call you illegitimate, which is what they did to the Galatians. They questioned their identity. They called their life-source (the Spirit) a dry well. Then they tried to convince them that it was up to them to produce some fruit! “Get excited when you discover you can't produce! Shout with joy when it appears that nothing is happening! For there is more productivity in those who can't produce than in those who seem to be fertile!” Don't you get it? Don't you know who you are? Are you going to sit there and let the impostors define reality for you? How long will you let them question the source of your new life? How long will you let the dead tell you how to live? How long will it take you to realize that there is a foundational difference between those born of the Spirit and those born of the flesh? How much slavery will you endure because the religious world convinces you that you are still the same? Stop operating as if you have the same Momma! Stop living as if you need laws and rules to control you. Refuse to listen to those who are not of faith, do not let them sink their claws into you! For you have been born of the Spirit!