Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:23-28)
Am I Okay?
No matter how much we’re reminded that Christ has freed us to live by faith alone, we always find a way to weasel ourselves back into living under the law. We are absolutely addicted to our self-righteousness.
But living in law-mode kills true worship by making us into self-obsessed idolaters who are constantly asking, Am I okay? Deep down we know the answer to that question is a decisive No. But there we go again, trying to keep the whip-cracking demands of me-focused law.
On the other hand, faithful worship is self-forgetting, Gospel-adorning, and God-focused. It freely admits that, left to ourselves, we’re not okay. And yet, God sees us through the righteousness of His beloved Son, with Whom He is well pleased (Mat. 3:17). This liberates us for greater enjoyment of Him.
So I invite you to hop off your treadmill for a minute, catch your breath, and receive some Gospel sanity. We all need to be reminded again and again of our standing in Christ. Through Him, God has fully and finally answered the question, Am I okay? Why yes, yes you are.
Loved By God, United to Christ
According to Galatians 3:23-28 (quoted above), we’re not under the law’s guardianship anymore. That’s a good thing. The law was a lousy parent. In fact, Paul says it was only there to bark at us about everything we were doing wrong (Gal. 3:19). He says elsewhere that the law was a cruel bully of a husband who never helped us, but only served to point out our every failure (Rom. 7:1-4).
But—praise be to God!—our true Husband has come, and through Him, we died to the law. He emancipated us from its tyranny to live in the full enjoyment of God’s grace. That’s the Gospel right there! It’s the incredible News that, through Christ, the Father adopts guilty, defiled people like us, dresses us in garments of righteousness, and, beaming with delight, He’s walking us down the aisle to present us to our Bridegroom.
You’re loved by God and united to Christ. And yet, there’s more. This isn’t just Good News for you personally; it’s Good News for the whole church.
Life in Christ is life with the church. You’re officially a member of God’s family. Through the waters of baptism, you signaled to the world that the Father’s wrecking ball of grace has toppled every earthly barrier which kept you from being in Christ together with His people. And as we gather, God greets us the same way He would greet Jesus Himself: “Welcome home, guys! I can’t tell you how excited I am to see you!” No matter how crummy our week has been, that’s the greeting God tenderly speaks over us as we greet one another each Sunday.
So let’s remember that the church is living proof of God’s father-heart. People from all walks of life–some of whom have every earthly reason to not get along–gathered as one is an epic miracle. It brings us to our senses by reminding us that we’re no longer under law, but under grace. We’re no longer slaves, but sons. Our old abusive husband, Mr. Law, is long gone. And we have a new Husband who is kindhearted toward us.
In other words, because of Jesus, we’re okay. Better than okay, in fact. We’re more loved than we can fathom by the God who moved heaven and earth to give us full access to His presence. So let’s draw near to Him as His people to enjoy His grace. This is where you belong.
Liturgy for Sunday, September 20, 2015:
Call to Worship: Psalm 100
Confession & Assurance: 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Benediction/Sending: Hebrews 13:20-21