Daily Reflection: The Jesus Agenda | Galatians 2:18-21
T H E J E S U S A G E N D A
But religious tyranny is not the answer either. In fact, if I rebuild the religious walls I once obliterated, I show myself to be the greatest lawbreaker of all. For I through law and religion, died to law and religion, so that I might come alive in, to, and with God! I have been crucified with Christ to law, to all religious systems! And it’s no longer my ego dragging around it’s sorry religious or irreligious agenda. But he lives in me. Christ! And this fleshly existence is now driven by something much higher, much deeper: I am totally driven to and governed by deep, abiding trust in the Son of God. Who loved me. Who gave himself for me. This is why I live now. In such an about face from all religious systems based on duty, rules and performance, I don’t cancel out or invalidate God’s amazing grace. Oh contraire! For if such a system of religious duty, rules and performance were in fact the path to a healed, whole and upright standing before God in the world, then Christ died for nothing – and it is his death that communicates everything. Galatians 2:18-21 |MAV
Christ is no deacon for sin. But he is also not a rebuilder of revised religious walls. Jesus didn’t bring us a revised or updated religious system that finally gets it right. Years ago I remember being struck by the opening line of Hebrews chapter 9: “The first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary.” It dawned on me: so do we! We have regulations for worship and an earthly sanctuary too. They had an altar for sacrifices of animals, we have altars for sacrifices of confession. They tithed to support a temple and priesthood, we tithe to support a church and pastorate. They had the law on stone, we have it on paper. So is that all we have here? An updated religious system that is easier (or harder, depending on who you talk to)? “The time is coming when I will make a new covenant. It will not be like the covenant I made with your ancestors. My laws will be internalized. You will know me. You will experience genuine, real, honest-to-God forgiveness” (see Hebrews 8:8-13). A new and living way. This is the Jesus agenda. It’s not about being religious, and it’s certainly not about being irreligious. It’s about our ego being swallowed up in the reality of Jesus and launched into a lifelong adventure of devotion to him and love for one another.
To what degree has your walk with Christ been defined by (or contained by) a religious system? How has this worked for you? How would you summarize the difference between the Old and the New Covenants, between the way of religion and the agenda of Jesus?
Lord, whenever I am stuck in a religious stupor or an irreligious rut, awaken me again with the aroma of your love for me. Give me the grace to die afresh today to my achievements, that I might truly find myself in yours.
Sometime this week, read Galatians again in one sitting.
For all of this week’s resources on Galatians including this week’s DG video on Galatians, check out the Vineyard website.