Saturday, April 3, 2010

Something far more interior...

For the first two weeks of April, I've chosen a verse in The Message translation of the Bible. I love the reminder that it's really not about me - what I do, religious or otherwise - it's about grace.

"For in Christ,
neither our most conscientious religion
nor disregard of religion amounts to anything.
What matters is something far more interior:
faith expressed in love."

Galatians 5:6 - The Message

The beginning of Chapter 5 in Galatians kicks off a theme of freedom ("It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!") and Paul goes on to explain the danger of depending on "law" rather than "grace." In The Bible Exposition Commentary, Warren Wiersbe explains it this way:

Living under grace means we "no longer rely on the external force of the Law to keep us in God's will, because we have the internal leading of the Holy Spirit of God. Christ died to set us free, not to make us slaves."

He goes on to say, " To live by grace means to depend on God's abundant supply of every need. To live by Law means to depend on my own strength, my own efforts to keep the letter of the Law and be left to get by without God's supply."

Why would we choose to be enslaved to a legalistic list of do's and don'ts, (represented in other translations of this verse as "circumcision or uncircumcision"). Yet we often do. We rush around trying to be "good enough" to earn God's love, when He has already lavished it on us. We're so focused on achievement that it's hard to readjust to the radical concept of grace - unmerited favor, freely given.

We are called to a life of grace that comes from an interior relationship that produces faith which is "activated and energized and expressed and working through love." (Amplified Bible) So, yes, we are called to act, but compelled by Christ's love, not law.

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, then,
and do not let yourselves be burdened again
by a yoke of slavery."

Galatians 5:1

Let's live free.

1 comment:

Nora said...

Just wanted to tell you that I wrote this verse on a piece of paper and have it posted on my desk at work!! Thank you for your post, they are encouraging!