As I share in my most recent podcast (which you can find at https://anchor.fm/thenakedchurch/episodes/Galatians-The-Circumcision-Party-e3l992), the book of Galatians is really dealing with one single issue. The Jewish believers were insisting that the Gentile believers adopt a Jewish lifestyle if they wanted to truly embrace Jesus, and Paul was very passionately reminding them that the gospel had preached to them was a gospel of FREEDOM! And this wasn’t a one time conversation for Paul either! He spent the majority of his life fighting to keep the church free from the traditions that well-intentioned men were giving way too much significance to. So my question for you all is: how much of what we do today is really the freedom Jesus died to give us, and how much is tradition that well-intentioned men are giving way too much significance? Share your thoughts!
Hey guys! This is my first post to the group, and I’ve decided to try and tackle a pretty big subject as simply as possible. The subject matter for a discussion such as this could literally fill a library, and I am attempting to do it some kind of justice in a brief post? 🤔 I don’t know. We’ll see how well I do... I‘d love to your thoughts on these matters. 😀 Well let’s start with the first question. How do we know we are saved? The Bible is very clear about telling us we can know this without a shadow of a doubt. God does not want us guessing, or groping around in the dark on this one... I once heard a definition of religion that actually fit that description pretty well: “Religion is like a blind man groping around in the dark for a black cat that isn’t even there...” Christianity differs from all other religions in the fact that it is not like that. Not at all. We can be certain. We can know for sure. We have a hope that the rest of the world does not have. We know a Savior that the rest of the world does not know, but can come to know as well. This in fact, is the very definition of faith: “Faith is this, being CERTAIN of what we hope for, and SURE of what we do not see.”-Heb11:1 God wants us to know The One we know, to know we are saved, and to be completely secure in that. So, how can we know we are saved? Well, Christ is the bride groom, and we (the church) are His bride. We are married to Christ. We could ask anyone who is married in a similar way, “So, how do you know that you are married?” We might get any number of responses, but most couples would probably say something like this: “Well, there was an event in time; a celebration. We exchanged rings, and confessed our love for one another. We committed our lives to one another and vowed to take care of one another ‘until death do us part’, and we did life together from that point on...” The size of the event, or any of the fanfare associated with it is not important. The point is, was there an event in our lives-a time when we came to realize our need for a Savior when we said, “Yes” to Jesus Christ? Now, typically the strength of a marriage is only as good as the level of commitment on the part of each spouse. Our promise is only as good as our willingness to commit to that promise. But in our marriage to Christ, the level of commitment on the part of Christ transcends the depth of any human covenant, because the covenant was not made between God and human-but between Jesus and God. If we are married to Christ, we have entered into a covenant that is eternally binding! We know that marriage between two human beings is a covenant that can only be broken by divorce. So let’s talk about the security we have in our marriage with Christ. We will attempt to answer the question of whether or not a believer can lose his or her salvation, or in essence, be divorced from Christ. We could say that divorce might also apply to a God/human marriage, but we are all well aware of how much God HATES divorce... Now lets look at the only two biblical allowances for divorce. 1. If one spouse leaves the other, and never comes back, ever. 2. Repeated, prolonged, unrepentant adultery. *Please note that this is not an instance or two or three. This is prolonged, habitual, unrepentant adultery. It is certainly not a good thing. Certainly not what God intended, and there will certainly be consequences. Your spouse will be hurt. You will be hurt. The family will suffer loss. There will be a sense of disillusionment. We will definately feel estranged from our spouse, and we will certainly not be experiencing the joy of the love relationship...but the marriage itself is still intact and binding, without divorce. Those are the only two allowances for a biblical divorce. Now think of this as it relates to your union with Christ. Remember the promise, or the level of commitment is only as good as the one who is making the promise; and on our end that might not be so impressive... But on God’s end, the level of commitment is absolutely ASTONISHING! Let’s take a quick look at God’s covenant with Abram (Gen5:10) to help illustrate this. In the Old Testament, when a deal was struck between two men, they would split an Ox in half and walk through the two halves as a sort of “handshake” on the deal-agreeing that they would both hold up their end of the bargain. Only during God’s covenant with Abram, God was the only One to walk between the two halves of the Oxen. Abram wanted to-he was going to-but God caused him to fall into a deep sleep before he even had the chance... Do you see what happened there? God walked through the Oxen halves. Abram did not. God “shook hands” on the deal, but Abram did not. God held Himself completely responsible for fulfilling His covenant with Abram, while Abram himself was not held responsible. God promised to fulfill His end of the bargain REGARDLESS of Abram’s ability to follow through on his end. Now remember that this is the old covenant, and we are now under the NEW covenant which is far greater than the old! In the New covenant, God has made the promise to never leave us nor forsake us. In other words, God is not going to divorce us. Now, we may divorce God, (I guess🤔) by running away, and never coming back... But Jesus has a way of pursuing His lost sheep, doesn’t He? We might commit repeated, prolonged, unrepentant adultery against God, but He is STILL willing to work it out, as long as we are as well... So in conclusion, I think that we ‘could’ possibly, maybe... be divorced from God at some point... but the likelihood of that occuring would have everything to do with our continual, repeated, prolonged, unrepentant “NO” ...to a God who is thoroughly committed to chasing us down in an endless loving pursuit. If you have said yes to the gospel-if you have said, “Yes” to God-you have become His and He has become yours in a marriage that is not until it get’s “hard”, not until there is distance or lack of love (only on our end no doubt), no not even “till death do us part”... You are in a marriage-a love relationship with the God of everything-that is entirely and eternally binding from the day you said yes until forever. He is thoroughly committed to you in way that you could never be committed to Him. In that, we can be secure. We can be certain. We can know. The world needs to see this kind of hope, this kind of security, and this kind of certainty. In Christ Jesus, we have this. “To them God has chosen to make known among the gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery (the gospel, that is...) Christ in you, the hope of glory.”-Col1:27 We not only thoroughly possess Christ while He thoroughly possesses us; we possess a Christ who is thoroughly commited to completing the work that He began in us. Yet one more thing that we can be thoroughly confident of.-Php1:6