I am sitting in a class taught by Scot McKnight. We are dissecting the book of Galatians verse-by-verse and discussing the issue and theme of the book of Galatians: Grace-creating freedom. What is grace-creating freedom you might ask? It is simply, as McKnight puts it, “Grace that creates freedom.” In Paul, we see Paul’s cry for Jew and Gentile living in a law-free setting being led by the Spirit. Since we are bound, not to the law but to the promise of Abraham, we have been given this promise as a sign and support of our freedom in Jesus. Scot breaks down this issue in this fashion:
Once something has been established, you cannot go and remove something just because you do not like it. Paul sees the promise of Abraham as the ‘law.’ The law that comes much later cannot remove the promise God had established with Abraham – Abraham’s promise is greater than Moses’ law. This is the whole meaning Galatians 3: 15-18.
One of the issues that might seem strange on the list above is the term ‘curse.’ If we read the above verses (Galatians 3: 10 – 14), we understand then how Paul views the Law of Moses:
Those who rely on works of the law are under a curse
(Everyone who does not abide in all things are cursed) – and do them
It is evident – God justifies no one under the law
(The righteous shall live by faith)
The law is not faith
(The one who does them shall live by them)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us
(Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree)
Paul’s understanding and reading of the law is radical to those who are Jews by birth. We need to keep in mind that Paul is not writing anything new. Rather, Paul rereads the Torah in a way that surpasses the Law of Moses with the promise of Abraham.
Later on (possibly later this week), I will be posting on what it means to be free in Jesus. I wanted to lay this out so that when we discuss that issue, we have this to look at, according to Paul.
My challenge this week is to consider what it means to be free. How does freedom look in the church? How does it look in your family and with those you communicate with? Jot some ideas down about how you and I can be free. Cause honestly, J.R. and I do not believe, as the church, we live in this freedom; this grace-creating freedom of the Holy Spirit. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know. God bless