Bible Stories for the Young

The Rules vs. Spirit-Life

A Letter to the Galatians


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The Rules vs. Spirit-Life : A Letter to the Galatians

Do you remember the time Paul and Barnabas made the nations happy as they traveled around shouting out the Good News? Well, one of the areas they had been was known as Galatia. And one time Paul wrote a letter to the churches in Galatia to help them sort out some of the ongoing confusion about their new Life in Christ vs the Old Deal of Rules.

Paul talked to them about how the Covenant of Rules and the Covenant of Spirit Life in Jesus are TWO totally different deals. The deal of rules was just to help us learn how perfect God is, and how farrrrr from perfect we are. We can’t do it without Him. So Jesus came and died, and now He offers us a totally different deal — that HOLY-Spirit LIFE Deal!

And one day, little children, I pray you will bow your knee to Jesus, have your sins washed away, and come into His freedom and Spirit-Life Deal.

Listen to what Paul wrote. He said:

To the churches of Galatia, I am astonished that you are so quickly turning away from the Father who called you. Some people are confusing you and wanting to twist and muddle the good news of Christ.

Long ago I was an important religious leader who was extremely protective of traditions and rules. I was fiercely mean to God’s Church and I tried to destroy it.

But when the Heavenly Father happily wanted to show His Son in me, I got to work telling people the good news of Jesus.

Which is… that NO ONE is made right before God by the rules, because the righteous person will live by faith.

I died to the rules, so that I may live to God. It’s not me who’s living anymore, but Christ living in me. So the life I now live in this body, I live because of the faithfulness of the Son of God, who loved me and gave His life for me.

I hold on to God’s undeserved kindness — His Grace. Why? Because if rightness could have come through the rules, then Christ died for nothing! (And we know Jesus didn’t die for nothing. The rules were not able to make us right before God!)

Oh, you foolish Galatians! Who has got you in a mindless daze?

Answer me this: Did you receive God’s Spirit by following all the rules, or did you receive God’s Spirit by believing what you heard about Jesus?

Although you started this journey with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by your own effort or strength? Really?

Have you suffered for nothing? Haven’t you learned anything?

Abraham believed God, and that was credited to him as right. Waaaaay ahead of time, Abraham was told, “All nations will be blessed through you.” So all those who believe are Abraham’s children (those stars in the sky), and they will be blessed along with Abraham, the believer.

In Jesus this blessing of Abraham would come to the whole world, so that by faith we could receive the promise of the Spirit.

Trying to obey every little rule doesn’t make anyone right before God.

Let me give you an everyday example. If you made a deal with someone, once the deal is made you can’t just add stuff to the deal later. Right? Right.

Well, Promises were made to Abraham and to his descendant — Jesus, the Anointed.

But the deal of rules that came through Moses 430 years later, never took away the promise deal God made with Abraham. (Can you see that? Those were two totally different deals.)

Before the deal of faith came, the deal of rules was watching over us like a babysitter. (“Stop, It’s against the rules to steal that vase.”) The rules helped us feel the difference between right and wrong. It helped us understand God’s perfect other, other, otherness. But the rules were just our babysitter until Jesus the Anointed One came, and once faith has come, we no longer need a babysitter (because we’re in love with a person). In Jesus we are declared right and sons of God through faith.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no Jew or not-Jew, there is no slave or free, there is no male or female — for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s children — children of faith who all get a piece of the promises made to Abraham.

Before when you didn’t know God, you were slaves to sin and self-life. But now that you have come to know God (or rather to be known by God), how can you turn back to that weak and worthless, normal living? Do you want to be a slave again? Look at you. You’re even observing religious days and months and seasons and years. I’m afraid for you that my work for you may have been for nothing.

O my children — I’m hurting so bad for you until our Christ’s LIFE is visibly formed in you!

Okay… okay…. Those of you who want to be under the deal of rules, answer me this… do you not understand the deal of rules?!

Think of it this way… Abraham had two sons. Ishmael, the son of the slave woman, was born by a natural, earth way, a self-made way. But Isaac, the son of the free woman, was born through the promise. (The impossible made possible. Heaven’s way. The Spirit’s Way.)

These two women represent two different covenant deals — slavery and Free, Free, Freedom.

So you people of faith, Christ Jesus has set us free, so that we will be FREE, FREE, FREE!

So, stand firm. Don’t put on the chains of slavery by putting yourselves under the old deal of rules! Christ will be of no benefit to you at all if you do that! And if you do that, then you have to obey the whole deal of rules (because you can’t live under both deals at once).

Those of you who are trying to be declared right by rules are separated from Christ; you have fallen away from His undeserved kindness, His grace! For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness.

For in Christ Jesus, nothing about your skin matters at all — the only thing that matters is faith being seen through your love.

Ohh, Galatians, you were running a good race; who messed you up!? It’s not your Heavenly Father. But, a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough fill up with holes!

Family of believers, you were called to be FREE. Of course, don’t use your freedom as a way to go along with your flesh. Instead, serve one another through love. Remember the whole law can be summed up in a single command — “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Live by the Spirit, and you won’t do the stuff your flesh wants. Do you know why? Because your flesh and His Spirit want what is opposite. They’re in opposition all the time.

Fleshy self stuff is obvious — YUCK, YUCK, YUCK. Those who live like this will not end up getting the Expression of God on earth!

But what you get when you Live in His Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And there’s no law against any of that.

Carry one another’s heavy loads, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Don’t be tricked, God is not made fun of. A person harvests what they plant. The person who plants to make their flesh happy will get destruction… and the one who plants to make the Spirit happy will get eternal life.

We should never get tired of doing good because in time we will reap good stuff, if we don’t give up. So whenever we have a chance, let’s do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the Family of Faith.

So whether your little piece of skin is cut or not cut on the outside doesn’t matter at all; the only thing that matters is: are you a New Creation or not!?

From now on, no one better cause me any trouble because I bear the marks of Jesus on my body. The Grace of our Lord Jesus be with you Family… Amen.

Now I’ll summarize that whole thing again in two sentences: What you do with your little ole flesh is of no value or help at all in God’s eyes… The only thing that counts is: are you gonna be one of His new creations who are fed and led by the power of His Spirit, or not?