We’ve got to walk right and talk right and sing right and pray right, on the battlefield…”
Do we? Do we really? Is that all there is to being a Christian? Being right?
Sadly, many of us believe this children’s song and consciously or unconsciously we take it as our mantra. We are under so much pressure to discover the right and hold everyone around us up to it, while crucifying anyone who does wrong, that we miss the point. We lose they joy and freedom of what it means to be a Christian.
As I read Galatians and specifically Galatians five, I am reminded that this mantra is not new. Paul writes, “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen from grace” (5.4). Here he is condemning the thinking that says, being right is all that matters. Instead he says, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love” (5.1,6). “Only faith working through love…counts for anything.”
But then the question is posed, if we have no law, what is there to keep people from doing wrong? Doesn’t that mean that anything goes? It seems that Paul’s audience has the same question. He writes, “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You should love your neighbor as your yourself’” (5.13-14).
It goes back to relationship. If we’re actively seeking God, or as Paul says, “walk[ing] by the Spirit,” then we will not “gratify the desires of the flesh” (5.16). When you are in a close relationship with God because of the sacrifice Christ made, then the flesh will not have such a strong hold on you. When you are filled with Christ and serving others with love, through faith in what he accomplished on the cross, the law is rendered unnecessary.
Can you imagine the joy and freedom that kind of outlook and relationship posses? The freedom to not be under the pressure to get everything “right?”