Paul’s Footsteps #39

Footsteps #39

I think I understand the Judaizers objection to Paul’s theology. They were facing the loss of things they had held sacred since childhood – things handed down for generations. However, had Paul yielded a single point, Satan and his hosts would have gained the victory. But his unwavering firmness was the means of emancipating the church and beginning a new and more fervent era. 

V4 (NLT) says, “They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations.”  What are Christians free from? (Read what Jesus said in John.8:31–36.) How do we experience for ourselves the reality of this freedom? Freedom, as a description of the Christian experience, is an important concept for Paul. He uses the word more frequently than any other author of the NT did, and in the book of Galatians, the words free and freedom occur numerous times. Freedom, however, for the Christian means freedom in Christ. It is the opportunity to live a life of unhindered devotion to God. It involves freedom from being enslaved to the desires of our sinful nature (Rom.6), freedom from the condemnation of the law (Rom.8:1, 2), and freedom from the power of death (1Cor.15:55). 

Our freedom in Christ removes us from the treadmill of works. i.e. the struggle to perform. If we mix works with justification by faith, we lose that freedom, because then we have the anxiety of looking to ourselves and wondering if we are good enough to be saved, or whether we measure up to Christian expectations. 

As we consider Gal.2:1-14 we need to correct the false assumption that some make that Peter and the other Jews had ceased following the OT health laws about clean and unclean food. If this were the case, a major uproar in the church would have followed and there would be some record of it. Apart from the food offered to idols debate, the NT is silent on this issue, because it was not an issue! Today the health laws, that were never symbolic of anything, have a strong scientific basis.

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