Monday, May 18, 2009

Galatians 4:1-7 (Trust vs. Fear: An Abstract Bit)

Children (in a few remaining families these days) are under the authority and discipline of their parents. They are heirs of their parents, but as children they are little more than servants. They have no rights and must obey and learn. In that way they are protected from themselves and their stupidity. Children experience a lot of fear: the unknown, the dark, dangers and even their parents. They fear that they could somehow lose their parents love or esteem by failing them. As time goes by they learn that their parents love is unconditional and at the same time learn correct behavior, even while that behavior is not the basis of their parents’ love.

So it is with the law and God. Some people never really feel guilt or concern from doing wrong. They never benefit from the law—they ignore it. Others live in fear and try to fulfill the law. They also never benefit from it, even though they obey it as best they can. Religion—avoiding sins, does not justify. Religion, or the law, provides neither life nor reward; it merely punishes and brings sin and death.

The children of God, instead, realize that they are completely dependant on God for life and justification. They overcome the terror of the law (religion) by trust in God: faith.

How do we become a child of God? In truth, we simply realize who we are. We do not do anything. “But wait!” someone may say, “what about ‘the prayer?’” “Or, what about ‘confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord?’” Neither of these things has any more power to save than any other work. They can merely be reflections of a change that has already occurred within the person: the realization of their dependence on God.

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