We are in Galatians Chapter 2 and verses 11 to 21. In this letter, Paul is dealing with a question which is facing the Church of Jesus Christ today. It is not a new question. This is not a new problem. In fact, there are very few new problems!
It is the question of Legalism and Licence - whether or not we are under laws or whether we are free in Christ.
These are places where Paul had preached and taught and founded fellowships, and he is seeing his work undermined, but more importantly - he is seeing the Gospel of Jesus Christ undermined.
We know these believers had begun in the love of Jesus. Paul would have seen that they were properly born again - he was a thorough spiritual midwife.
They had been forgiven - they had been washed in the blood of Jesus Christ and their sins dealt with - they held the Cross of Jesus Christ central. Their spiritual experience was real. They knew the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and Paul had even returned to appoint elders in these fellowships.
But false teachers had infiltrated the churches, and they were falling back into legalism - into rules, and regulations, and rituals. This is one of the greatest dangers any Church can face. What are the marks? "We have always done things this way. This has been our ways of doing things since I can remember! We have always…..! - and it becomes one of the traditions of men, and that soon becomes spiritual death.
The other problem is licence, where people think they are free to do whatever they want, whenever they want.
We are not free to come and go whenever we want. Our presence is an indication of our commitment to Jesus Christ and His Word. Is our testimony and faithfulness to Jesus Christ such as we would want others to pick up and follow and imitate? Paul said that in another letter - Imitate or follow me, as I imitate and follow Christ. 1 Corinthians 11 verse 1. Now that is strong!
What is our legacy for the next generation?
The answer - which deals with both legalism and licence is - discipleship.
We surrender to Jesus - being under the discipline of Jesus - and the authority of His Word - and seeking to obey the teaching of His Word. All that helps us in this vital area.
Some people like and even prefer legalism, because with rules and regulations and rituals, there is a degree of safety and security, but it is a false security.
This is what Paul is referring to and condemning here in our passage today.
Many, if not all of us, have found, that when the Word of God truly challenges, there can arise a debate inside - because we know that if we obey what Jesus is saying - that is going to affect our entire way of life - where we go - what we do - our conversation in these places - and perhaps even the friends or acquaintances we have.
And, some prefer to believe that what they hear is not true, so that they will not have to change their ways of life. We meet this frequently, and we should know this will happen.
Jesus Christ came to make revolutionary changes - radical changes - and Jesus still does that.
We have all found that commitment to Jesus Christ involves change - and changes.
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