They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them… Tell me, you who want to be under law, do you not listen to the law?Galatians 4:17, 21
Let me share a parable of Jesus… Matthew 12:43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it. 44 “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order. 45 “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”
What is so striking about this parable of Jesus is the condition of the man at the end of it. No happy ending here. He finds himself in a worse place than he began. Instead of cursed by one evil spirit, he is spiritually destroyed by eight evil spirits! He is trapped.
Paul’s warning in Galatians 4 is equally passionate. He points out that those who attempt to live their lives by their own righteousness (and not the sacrifice of Christ Jesus alone) will suffer from two fatal flaws: their heart is unchanged, and they are embracing a new type of slavery. Because their heart is unchanged, they are not interested in the salvation of souls. They are actually interested in creating a group that looks just like them. They want power. Self-righteousness is seductive. We think it is an answer to our sin problem. Yet, it is a trap.
This new type of slavery is why Paul asks an important question. He asks, “Aren’t you paying attention to what the law demands?” The trap of the law is its demands. The law declares that if we seek life through the law that we must live by every jot of the law. There is no sliding scale if we live by the law. There is no grading on the curve if we choose to live by our own righteousness. Self-righteousness requires complete and total obedience to the law or we are declared guilty!
Our lives are like Jesus’ parable. If we do not intentionally embrace the cross, every type of spiritual charlatan can take up residence in our life. Those charlatans will then enslave us to their philosophies and control. Then, the guilt and hopelessness of this type of living will make our experience of Christianity worse that our experience of lostness.
Freedom is found in Jesus. It is not found in good deeds done in Jesus’ name. It is not found in following a list of guidelines that we can support from the Bible. Freedom is found in the cross of Jesus alone. His death, for me. His life in exchange for my life. God has given us freedom. So, embrace that freedom and become truly free. Either for the first time or as a renewal of God’s call on your life, receive what Jesus has done for you today. Never let it go.
Something to think about,