Monday, October 11, 2010

Jesus + (something else) = SLAVERY

One cannot desire freedom from the Cross when one is especially chosen for the Cross. - St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, OCD (Edith Stein)

Galatians 4:22-24, 26-27, 31-5:1
Brothers and sisters:
It is written that Abraham had two sons,
one by the slave woman and the other by the freeborn woman.
The son of the slave woman was born naturally,
the son of the freeborn through a promise.
Now this is an allegory.
These women represent two covenants.
One was from Mount Sinai , bearing children for slavery;
this is Hagar.
But the Jerusalem above is freeborn, and she is our mother.
For it is written:
Rejoice, you barren one who bore no children;
break forth and shout, you who were not in labor;
for more numerous are the children of the deserted one
than of her who has a husband.
Therefore, brothers and sisters,
we are children not of the slave woman
but of the freeborn woman.

For freedom Christ set us free; so stand firm
and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery.

Paul told the Galatians that they had taken on themselves the yoke of slavery a second time. He was so upset he said the Galatians had lost their minds and fallen under a spell (Gal 3:1). Paul accused them of putting him back into labor pains (Gal 4:19) and said they had severed themselves from Christ and fallen from God's favor (Gal 5:4).

What did the Galatians do to throw themselves back into slavery? Were they alcoholic, drug-addicted, bitter, unforgiving, or compulsive? No, the Galatians returned to slavery by believing that both Christ and circumcision were necessary for salvation.

Many people believe in Jesus, but Jesus plus something else — Jesus plus a job, Jesus plus money in the bank, or Jesus plus insurance. When our freedom is based on Jesus plus, we have become slaves. When our freedom is based on Jesus period, we are free at last. "If the Son frees you, you will really be free" (Jn 8:36). "Only in God is my soul at rest; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my Rock and my Salvation, my Stronghold; I shall not be disturbed at all" (Ps 62:2-3).

Most of us don’t have the foggiest idea what real freedom is. It is the freedom of being genuinely human, instead of being bound by the burden of having to control "our world". It is the freedom of being loved and loving irrevocably the source of our creation. To put it simply, fear is the one work of the enemy of human nature that will destroy our freedom more than any other. Fear of death, fear of being unacceptable, fear of __________. (You fill in the blank) But if God is for us, who or what do we have to fear?

When we think we need something or someone in addition to Jesus, we are doomed to slavery. Jesus has it all. "Absolute fullness [resides] in Him" ( Col 1:19). Freedom is in Jesus alone.

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