You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you?
For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God….. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing
Living by grace is the antithesis to the way that man has learned to live in this world. The life of grace can only be understood if one has learned how to live by faith, and then apply it. You see, living by faith does not come naturally.. indeed it’s a most unnatural way to live. But it is nonetheless a fact of the Christian life. The reason is that the human mind thinks that we can merit something from God and this is the basis of all religious thinking – and much Christian teaching. If only we would take to heart what is laid out in Scripture, and just believe Him! Most of us have to admit that we went for years as a believer not knowing how to ‘believe‘. Probably most of us still admit that faith can be difficult, yet faith is what is required and without faith, it is impossible to please God.
Let me give you an aeronautical example: A pilot of an airplane has two methods to fly his craft. He has two ways that he can navigate his aeroplane – either VFR or IFR.
VFR means – Visual Flight Rules
IFR means – Instrument Flight Rules
VFR or Visual Flight Rule flying means that you navigate the plane by means of sight. You look at the horizon to recognise your relationship to the earth, you bank left or right, and return to your position by means of what you see. IFR or Instrument Flight Rule flying means that you have no outside frame of reference by which to navigate – nothing! You have no input or feedback from your senses at all. You navigate your craft only by means of what you read on the instrument panel. You have to trust the instrument panel, over feelings, sight and logic and human reasoning.
VFR or Visual Flight Rules is hair-raising navigation and more often than not results in tragedy. IFR or Instrument Flight Rules is the most unnatural thing to do and yet is tried tested and safe. Most Christians live their life the VFR way rather that the IFR way – by the Visual Flight Rules of life. They live by sight and feelings rather than the Word of God. They live the “law-works-merit” way – rather than the “grace-faith-promise” way. How frustrated Paul was with the Galatian believers who use the “Visual Flight Rules” of life rather than living God’s way: Oh you foolish Galatians, he asks, did you receive the Spirit by works of the law, or by believing what you heard.?
These Galatian Christian believed the gospel of grace and then returned to the old ways of the law. These men and women moved from darkness to light; from bondage to freedom; from death to life. They had been freed from the law of condemnation to that of liberty and life, and yet they willingly returned to the old ways of death, despite Paul’s careful teaching. And exactly the same thing is happening today. Every believer has been saved by grace through faith and placed in union with Christ; baptised into Christ’s death and was identified with Him the moment they believed. They had learned the liberating truth of grace but then reverted to a Christian life under the law.
Every believer is identified with the Lord, the moment they trust Him – forever, and all we have had to do is believe, but this is counter to human logic. We are asked to believe what we do not see and or feel and this runs counter to human reasoning. We are asked to have a confidence in the intangible and invisible promises of God and a conviction that God is faithful to keep His promises even though we cannot see it or experience it with our five senses. We have been asked to have trust in God even though we don’t understand and are expected to live our lives trusting Him to navigate, using His “Instrument Flight Rules” rather than the more comfortable “Visual Flight Rules” of life.
To live our Christian lives by God’s “grace-faith-promise” rules, rather than the more logical “law-works-merit” rules requires us to live by faith and not by sight. It often means that that we need to re-examine our Christian life and all that we have been taught in the past. As we explore these scripture passages, may we exhibit a teachable spirit, so that we grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. So that we walk the “grace-faith-promise” way (or fly the IFR way) rather than slipping into the “law-works-merit” way (the VFR way)
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