Skip to main content

May it be complete

Paul, a disciple of Christ, born out of the ranks of the Jews - a former persecutor of the believers in Jesus. Would you begin a conversation with these "credentials"? Whenever we are establishing new "relationship" with people, isn't this similar to what we do? We discuss what we do for a living, if we are married or single, how many kids we have, where we went to school, what our hobbies might be, or where we stand on a particular topic of interest. Each of these "facts" somehow give us some "credibility" in the group we are associating with, don't they? If I had to start a conversation with my 'former' credentials (those things that defined me in my past), I am not sure many of you would ever want to associate with me!

I, Paul, and my companions in faith here, send greetings to the Galatian churches. My authority for writing to you does not come from any popular vote of the people, nor does it come through the appointment of some human higher-up. It comes directly from Jesus the Messiah and God the Father, who raised him from the dead. I'm God-commissioned. So I greet you with the great words, grace and peace! We know the meaning of those words because Jesus Christ rescued us from this evil world we're in by offering himself as a sacrifice for our sins. God's plan is that we all experience that rescue. Glory to God forever! Oh, yes! (Galatians 1:1-5)

Paul begins with his appointment - his authority to be writing this message. In some respects, I guess this is important to get out there right up front so there are no questions about why he should be trusted to direct the actions of the church. He is not "people-appointed" - there was no board of elders "voting" him into his role as apostle. He was God-sent - therefore, his message would be God-approved. As such, his authority is to be accepted and the help he would give the believers was to be embraced openly. Maybe he set out this at the beginning because he had such a negative 'past' set of credential!

Two words will define his message to the believers:  Grace and Peace. Grace because it describes the process by which we are brought into the Kingdom of God and the very thing that holds us in that position. Peace because it becomes the outflow of our position in Christ. Paul is going to have to deal with a lot of important things for us to understand as believers in Christ. Things like how a Christian can live an imperfect life and still experience the grace and peace of God! He sets the stage for us to understand God's love expressed through his immense grace.

It all begins with Christ's rescue - freeing us from our confinement to live sinful lives, bound by the very thing we so desperately desire to be free of. He accomplished our rescue by the Cross. He was offered as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. This is a tough thing to grasp if we have no knowledge of the Old Testament Law of Moses. The Law was a system of rules and regulations God established with Israel in order to point them to the plan of redemption in Christ. The Law contained multiple "sacrificial" offerings - everything from the choicest grain of your harvest to the pure and spotless lamb offered as an atonement sacrifice. Each carried a meaning unique in describing provision and grace. Each pointed to Christ - to the hope of deliverance.

Rescue is often a misunderstood process. The term means to bring into liberty. It is the setting free of our mind, will and emotions from all which seeks to control, or interfere, with our living according to the will of God. It involves removing us from the obligation to continually "pay for" our sins - because Christ's sacrifice was once and for all - setting us right with God regardless of our sin. It is both the power and the authority to bring change beyond our capability. Think about it. Does a prisoner of war play any part in his rescue? No! It is the work of the Special Ops personnel sent on the mission to free the one who has been bound. Those Special Ops troops plan, prepare, and then execute the plan. In turn, the one bound is set free. Think of Christ as the ultimate Special Ops soldier! He and his Father planned, prepared, and he executed the plan perfectly. Nothing we do adds to the plan! His rescue is perfect because the plan was perfect!

God's plan: For us all to experience this rescue! If you are struggling to be rescued, it is time to step back and allow the one who has the plan for your rescue to step in. If you have been rescued, but still struggle with the feelings of bondage, it is your divine rescuer who wants to help you enjoy total and complete liberty in him. My hoe is that we all come to appreciate the complete rescue of Christ! Just sayin!


Popular posts from this blog

What did obedience cost Mary and Joseph?

As we have looked at the birth of Christ, we have considered the fact he was born of a virgin, with an earthly father so willing to honor God with his life that he married a woman who was already pregnant.  In that day and time, a very taboo thing.  We also saw how the mother of Christ was chosen by God and given the dramatic news that she would carry the Son of God.  Imagine her awe, but also see her tremendous amount of fear as she would have received this announcement, knowing all she knew about the time in which she lived about how a woman out of wedlock showing up pregnant would be treated.  We also explored the lowly birth of Jesus in a stable of sorts, surrounded by animals, visited by shepherds, and then honored by magi from afar.  The announcement of his birth was by angels - start to finish.  Mary heard from an angel (a messenger from God), while Joseph was set at ease by a messenger from God on another occasion - assuring him the thing he was about to do in marrying Mary wa

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean