October 25 Sermon Excerpt
The Galatians were thinking of abandoning the Gospel, thinking of deserting Jesus for something other than the truth. So Paul told them firmly...stand firm! In the Bible the indicative precedes the imperative...say what? I’m about to take you to English class...
God never calls us or commands us to do anything without Him first giving us the power or standing to do so. Here is what I mean, For freedom Christ has set us free, that’s the indicative is a true statement, it is factual. So because Jesus Christ has done the work and set us free...now we can do the imperative, that is to stand firm and not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
As you read Paul’s letters you’ll see this more and more, “Jesus has done this for you, therefore you should do this…” I have met far too many people that claim they have a relationship with Jesus, yet they are not living in the “imperatives” (or commands) of the Christian faith. That’s bad theology and a deficient understanding of the implications of Christianity.
You see, when you give your life to Jesus, He doesn't call you to stay where you are, no, He desires growth. That isn't legalism, its reality, if we are following Jesus we will become more Godly. Now, here is what we get confused, we often feel like we need to pursue God so that He’ll love us and accept us. No, He loves you and accepts you because of what Jesus has done for you. His perfect life, death and resurrection, secures your right standing with God!
So we don’t follow the imperatives or commands to gain God’s approval, as Christians we’re already approved of… No, we follow God’s commands because His grace and love if flowing through us...
Did you catch what Paul wrote in the second half of verse one? ...Stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now, in Paul’s day the “yoke” was what was harnessed around an ox and then attached to a cart. So the ox would have this huge, heavy yoke around it’s neck and would be burdened to pull the cart of goods. Simply, the yoke was a strain.
Paul’s point, without Christ we have a heavy yoke around us. We’re strained. We’re burdened. You see, the Galatians we’re set free from the yoke of slavery...the believed in Gospel, they were following Jesus, but then they got distracted and we’re leaning towards putting on the yoke of slavery again.
Paul was saying to them, “What are you doing? Don’t go back to that life, don’t do it. In Jesus there is freedom, apart from Him is the heavy burden of slavery.” Stand firm and don’t go back…
Friends, in Christ we are free! He has set us free. Now, stand firm in the faith, don’t go back to a yoke of slavery. I don’t know what your “yoke of slavery” may be... But, whatever it is, there is no freedom, freedom is only found in Jesus Christ.