I know that May can be a CRAZY busy month for a lot of folks. I’m praying for you all!! Amid all you have going on, please do take some time to respond to the COTR Surveys we have emailed out. I very much believe they will be a great spiritual benefit to you as well as helping the leadership of our Church follow God and serve you. If you can’t find the emails, contact Seya.
This Sunday, and next week in our Daily Worship Devotions, we come to a powerful and profound passage in Galatians. At first glance Galatians 4:21-31 might seem like a dull, abstract, or irrelevant passage. After all, what do Arabia, mountains, Sarah, and Hagar really have to do with us and our daily lives?
We’ll dig more directly into the details and theology of Galatians 4:21-31 this Sunday and next week. For now, by way of preparation and application, reflect on the following insights from Tim Keller on “the Four Kinds of People in the World.” Which of these bests describes your own personal experience and struggles? I know which one describes me most, unfortunately. As you look around your world and context, which of the others seem accurate?
1. Law-obeying, law-relying.
These people are under the law and are usually very “smug,” self-righteous, and pharisaical. Externally, they are very sure they are right with God, but deep down underneath, they have a lot of insecurity, since no one can truly be assured they are living up to standards. This makes them touchy, sensitive to criticism, and devastated when their prayers aren’t answered. [Note: This includes members of other religions, but here I am thinking mainly of people who go to church.]
2. Law-disobeying, law-relying.
These people have a “religious conscience” of strong work righteousness, but they do not live consistently with it. As a result, they are more humble and tolerant of others than the Pharisees (above), but they are also much more guilt-ridden, subject to mood swings, and sometimes very afraid of religious topics. [Note: Some of these people may go to church but stay on the periphery because of their low spiritual self-esteem.]
3. Law-disobeying, not law-relying
These are people who have thrown off the concept of the law of God. They are intellectually secular or relativistic, or have a very vague “spirituality.” They largely choose their own moral standards and insist they are meeting them. But Paul in Romans 1 says that, at a subconscious level, these people know there is a God they should be obeying. [Note: Such people are usually happier and more tolerant than either of the above groups. But usually there is a strong “liberal self-righteousness.” They are definitely earning their own salvation by feeling superior to others. It is usually a less overt kind of self-righteousness.]
4. Law-obeying, not law-relying.
These are Christians who understand the gospel and are living out of its freedom. They obey the law of God out of grateful joy, which comes from the knowledge of their sonship, and out of the freedom from the fear and selfishness that false idols had generated. They are more tolerant than #3, more sympathetic than #2, and more confident than #1. [Note: Most real Christians tend toward the errors of #1, #2, and even #3. But to the degree that they do, they are impoverished spiritually.]
I look forward to worshiping with you this week!
Yours in Christ’s love,