The Only Thing That Counts

You know the type. We all know the type. Unless you are that type, then maybe you don’t recognize it at least in yourself.

One kid like this exists in every classroom. At least one kid. And in church… sometimes an entire church is filled with them. And in other organizations, as well. And in families.

That is the person who knows all the rules. And follows them. To the letter. Other kids in school hate that kid. Or, at least they don’t like them too much. These people love to point out to everyone else what the rules are. “You’re not supposed to do that.” Or “I’ll tell the teacher.” Or “You’ll roast in hell for doing that.”

The Apostle Paul started some fellowships of Jesus-followers in what today we call central Turkey. These were loving, joyous, giving  communities.

Then some strangers rode into town. They taught that these people needed to follow the law before they could be so joyous and loving. In fact, maybe it breaks the laws to actually be joyous and loving.

The particular law that those ancient teachers brought to the people in Galatia was the law of circumcision. They taught that first you had to earn the right to know God, and only then could they call themselves followers.

Paul told his friends that listening to that teaching would end their freedom in Jesus. He said that as soon as you follow one law, then you have to follow all the laws. Except he had already taught them that following all the laws in order to earn God’s favor was impossible. That’s why Jesus came–lived, died, and then lived again.

Paul said, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith made effective through love.”

Paul just taught what Jesus taught, “You’ll know my followers by their love.”

We need fewer “Church Ladies” and more followers. Can we ditch the rule following bias we have and just open ourselves up to finding the freedom to act in love? “Against such there is no law.”

 

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