“Word for Today” – Galatians 5 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

April 21, 2009 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

law-11It seems that, over the years, local and state governments, along with their federal counterpart, have managed to draft laws which legislate just about every conceivable scenario, occasion, and behavior.  Indeed, many of these laws sound quite silly and esoteric.  For example, in Blythe, California, you are not allowed to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows.  In Kentucky, it is illegal to dye a duckling blue and sell it unless more than six are for sale at once.  In Massachusetts, it is unlawful for mourners to eat more than three sandwiches at a wake.  Even in our great state of Texas, a recently passed anticrime law requires criminals 24 hours notice, either in writing or orally, explaining to their victims the nature of the crime to be committed.  Remember that if you’re planning to commit a crime this week.  Government bureaucracy at its most humorous.

In our reading for today from Galatians 5, Paul pens some of the most famous and beloved words in all Scripture:  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control” (verses 22-23).  With these words, Paul outlines a list of virtues, fueled by and founded on Christ’s Spirit, that ought to be displayed in the life of every Christian.  But he then continues with these marvelous words:  “Against such things there is no law.” In other words, in a world that seems so overly legislated and regulated and moderated, there are still a few things that you are free to do and be.  There are still a few things that aren’t illegal.  And these things are the things of the Spirit.

Sadly, even in spite of Paul’s declaration of freedom which liberates us to unreservedly live out the fruit of the Spirit, some still try to temper these virtues.  “It’s okay to be loving,” someone might say, “but there are limits to love.  I mean, love fades.  And some people hurt you so much, you just can’t love them anymore.”  To which Paul would respond, “No!  You’re allowed to love even the most unlovable among us.  Against love, there is no law.”  Others might say, “I consider myself to be a pretty patient person, but my patience still eventually runs out.  After all, the line at the Whataburger drive-thru at 5:30 pm will try anyone’s patience!”  To which Paul would respond, “It’s okay to be patient even when the line is long and the service is slow.  And it’s okay to be courteous to your servers too.  Against patience, there is no law.”  Still others might say, “I’m all about being self-controlled, but I don’t want to come off as some sort of up-tight religious fanatic.  I need to let my hair down every once in a while and ‘live a little.’  Sure, my actions may be a little on the risqué side, but everyone loses control from time to time.  It’s just part of life.”  To which Paul would once more respond, “Truthfully, you’re allowed to practice self-control even when you’re ‘living a little.’  Just because you drink doesn’t mean you have to get drunk.  Just because you share a dance doesn’t mean you have to take it farther.  Against self-control, there is no law.”

Paul opens Galatians 5 with these words:  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (verse 1).  All too often, we exchange our freedom in Christ for a burden of sinfulness.  But Paul reminds us that it doesn’t have to be this way.  We are free to be full of the Spirit’s fruit.  We are free to let go of our sinful past.  We are free to live by the Spirit.  In a world full of laws, against those things, there is no law.  So today, celebrate your freedom and say “no” to the law of sin and “yes” to the fruit of Christ’s Spirit.

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – Galatians 4 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – Galatians 6 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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