This was in the daily email this morning, and it brought to mind what Paul tells us in Galatians 5:1. "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Glory to God!
Laws of religion are intended to hedge us in and distinguish between those who belong and those who don’t. These rules include a vast array of expectations about how one should pray, vote, serve, dance (or not), drink, eat, spend time on Sunday, spend money, educate children, and worship. The laws of one’s doctrine may even give particulars about how to spend “quiet time” with God each day. These expectations become “law” when we feel we must live up to them in order to feel adequate or acceptable to our communities, our church, other Christians, ourselves, and maybe even God.
Religion uses laws in an attempt to make us all look the same. But the grace of God enables us to live daring, free lives outside of man-made lines as unique individuals. Remember the troubles the Pharisees had with Jesus? He was never where they anticipated Him to be; they would look for Him in the temple and He would be eating and hanging out “on the wrong side of the tracks.” When He was supposed to be fasting, He was eating with tax collectors and prostitutes. He healed on the Sabbath when He was expected to rest. And all the while He was only doing what He had heard His Father say and seen His Father do (John 5:19, 26, 30; 14:10). Likewise, when we live in a grace relationship with God, we will be in line with His will, even though we can count on being out of line with the will of some religious leaders. For those exhausted by a heavy yoke of Christian traditions and self-standards, this is truly good news!
Rest Assured (2003), pages 110, 192