20200430

Don’t Turn Back

Galatians 4:8-11

Split Rock is a three-tiered waterfall a little north of Schroon Lake. When my two older boys worked at Word of Life Ranger Camp, this was one of the places they liked to go to on their day off. Jonathan, my oldest, came home after one of these breaks, “Joel, we’ve found an incredible place to jump off the rocks into the lower pool at Split Rock. The drop is incredible, and the water is plenty deep at the bottom.”

Joel and a friend took off the next day. Joel found the place high above the lower pool and looked over the edge. Everything looked good. Now the challenge was to run and stretch out like a long jump so you could clear the rocks below. Joel stepped back, took a running start, and then jumped—up, not out. Immediately, he sensed his error and tried to grab hold of anything, anything. The small pine branch he reached for snapped in his hand. No turning back.

There are important times in life when trying to turn back can be deadly. This was Paul’s message to the Galatians who were being bewitched to turn back into all the holy days, sacrifices, and religious ritual of their past life.

“Now formerly, in your old life you didn’t know God and you were enslaved by gods who were not at all divine in their nature. So, now that you know God, or more accurately, are known by God why in the world would you turn back again to the weak and miserable elementary spirits of this present world system. Do you really want to be enslaved by them again, being careful to observe special days and months and seasons and years! I’m afraid for you that somehow I’ve wasted my hard work communicating the Gospel, even Jesus to you.”  Galatians 4:8-11

After we take that leap by faith into the freedom that the cross and the resurrection of Jesus offer, it’s no time to turn back and place ourselves under any obligation to keep weekly, or monthly, or yearly, special sacred days that we think will help us to achieve merit before God and somehow earn our place in heaven.

The Apostle Paul had no problem with keeping Jewish customs as a Jew by birth and culture, but he stood vehemently against anyone who tried to claim that any of this religious or cultural strictness would have any power when it came to overcoming sinful passions in our lives, or when we do fall into sin, earn some kind of acceptance before God. No, once we’ve taken that leap of faith into Jesus, received the gift of his Spirit, and become God’s sons and daughters by grace alone, it’s no time to turn back into the bondage of religious rules, holy days, and laws about food and drink.

And before you start calling me about Joel, by Jesus’ grace that day, he did jump out just far enough that he did hit the water in the pool below. He clunked his head hard on the rocky side of the pool as he slid down into the water. It knocked him out and hurt his ankle, but he’s still alive.

LORD, deliver us from any spell that lures us back into thinking that we can somehow atone for our sin or conquer our lusts through getting more observant religiously. Help us to revel in the freedom of your free forgiveness and allow your Spirit to guide us as He matures us in our new life.

For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!