Grace And Truth
You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. Galatians 5:7'8 WEB
The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians who had been turned away from grace by some legalistic brothers. Though the Galatians were gentiles (non Jewish believers), they were taught that they had to obey the 613 commandments of the law as if they were Jews in order to be saved.
Paul asked them who had interfered or 'cut in' on them to keep them from obeying the truth. The term 'cut in' means 'to hinder, interrupt, to get in the way.' Anyone that has been cut off in traffic has experienced this. The Galatians had been pushed away from grace and truth and turned to legalism. Now they were trying to keep a long set of rules to earn their acceptance.
Legalism has always been a hindrance to a move of God. I find that when my desire for God starts to weaken, that I slowly gravitate towards a set of rules, and soon I become close-minded and lukewarm. Where legalism is found, the personal relationship with the Lord is pretty much dead, and a timely word from God (Rhema) is necessary to bring back the fire, to uncork the zeal inside of us once again.
When you connect with the heart of God, you will find that it is never about keeping rules. It is all about love, loving Him, and loving others. His commandments are for our protection and they provide us a guide to a happy life. 'Sleep with thy neighbors wife and he may kill you, so don't do that'' 'Turn the other cheek lest ye be stabbed, for it takes two to fight.'
Jesus Christ was full of grace and truth, but He constantly faced legalism while He lived on the Earth. The highly religious, legalistic Pharisees wanted to 'correct' Him:
'The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, 'Why don't your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?' He answered them, 'Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, But their heart is far from me. But in vain do they worship me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' 'For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men'the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things.' He said to them, 'Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition' (Mark 7:5'9).
Jesus said that the Pharisees had 'set aside' the commandments of God, and held tightly to their traditions. The Pharisees had added an 'oral torah,' the 'tradition of the elders,' that was taught alongside God's written law and passed down through the generations. It contained things like washing the arms up to the elbow seven times before eating. This manmade law was then taught as if it came from God. In essence, they worked hard, for nothing.
The same tendency lives within us today. So stay teachable, stay humble, for when you feel like you have arrived, that is a sure sign that you have not. 'Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. But if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he doesn't yet know as he ought to know' (1 Corinthians 8:1'2).
The only way to stay balanced is to stay close to God and be led daily by the Holy Spirit. 'But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law' (Galatians 5:18). It is something that we work at daily to keep the fire burning. Love God, love others, and check behind your teachers. Prayer: Heavenly Father, please draw my heart to You and light a fire within me. Let me be known as Your disciple because of my love for others. Share Your heart with me and teach me to hear Your voice clearly, in the name of Jesus Christ I pray. Amen!
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