Perhaps we need to re-learn our Christian vocabulary. First, grace. Was there ever a more comforting hope? But what does grace intend for us? And then, freedom. Was there ever a more captivating vision? But what does freedom look like as we follow Jesus?
While we know these words, and love what they represent, we want to push beyond what we already know:
It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. [Galatians 5:13-14, MSG]
We are heading into the heart of an enduring controversy. For a long time now, people have wrestled with freedom and grace, law and identity. Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a primary example of this, a letter written in the white-hot heat of argument. Perhaps, at times, you too find yourself conflicted, gravitating either towards dutiful rule- following, or towards inattentive casualness.
Neither hits the mark of course.
Let’s stay at this. Paul shows us the way forward. Let’s persevere in our pursuit of a grace-based identity. If it weren’t for Paul’s tenacity on these questions, what we know now as “good news” would certainly look a lot different.
Are you ready to push towards a new way of understanding yourself and your relationship to God?