Have You Graduated from Legalism to the Spirit?

Have You Graduated from Legalism to the Spirit?

Galatians 4:1-2 – I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father.

Life for kids in the ancient world could be brutal. Lacking legal rights, kids were beaten, killed, and even babies were abandoned on garbage piles to die or be raised as a slave, prostitute, or gladiator. If a girl was born with any disability, she was commonly left to die in the wilderness, drowned, or suffocated. It’s amazing to think that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, chose to enter human history at this time.

In that day, the quality of your life largely depended upon the character of your father. The same is true today. A good father brings a good life. A bad father brings a bad life.

A good father in the ancient world had a guardian appointed to help raise and care for the child.  In our day, we call them nannies, teachers, tutors, coaches, and youth pastors. Maturity was not defined in days past by age, but rather by the father. He would not designate you as a legal adult until he believed you were mature enough to handle the responsibilities of adulthood. Once your father declared you mature, you were free to make your own decisions and no longer expected to have the guardian running your life.

Paul is using a physical analogy of maturity to teach a spiritual principle. If you are a Christian who still has everyone telling you what to do, making lists of demands and rules for your life, and controlling you then you are allowing immature people to stunt your maturity.  Just like a child would graduate from a guardian, God wants you to graduate from legalism and long lists of rules and demands, to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is precisely how Jesus lived, and the only way to mature in Christ. This is where the rest of Galatians is headed and we will examine in future studies together.

Is there anyone in your life still bossing you around, making demands, seeking to control, and does so in the name of God and godliness? Are you like that with other people?

Mark Driscoll
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