Monday, May 4, 2009

Galatians 3:3-29 (Walking Backwards)

“Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” –Galatians 3:3

At some point when kids learn to walk, they realize that they can do it backwards as well. It usually doesn’t take long for them to figure out that they don’t do so well when they can’t see what they are walking towards though.

Somewhere along the way, Evangelicals have gotten the Christian walk backwards as well. They do a good job of proclaiming salvation by faith. However, after that… it is all about works. They don’t call it work, though, it is termed discipline or discipleship. The idea is that in order to grow in the Christian life you have to work.

This is a distortion of discipleship. We are teaching that the people who put in more effort will advance faster in the Christian walk, becoming more holy while the slackers will lag behind. We are making Sanctification dependant on human efforts. Paul here in Galatians teaches just the opposite. We are perfected not by our efforts, but by faith.

That is not to say that the Christian disciplines are bad; we have just got the emphasis backwards. Anyone who thinks their growth in Christ is dependent on how disciplined they are is doomed to frustration and failure. Our growth, just like our salvation, is totally dependant on God. We have to believe that He will change us. When that is understood, we can allow ourselves to enjoy the disciplines and grow in them, instead of working at them and beating ourselves up when we miss practice.

Its just like the difference between someone who shoots baskets in their driveway because they enjoy Basketball, and someone who drills everyday because they want to live up to some outside expectations from a parent or a coach.

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