Daily Archives: July 16, 2012

2 Kings 15, 16; Galatians 3

Living IN Christ means freedom. It means freedom from the curse of sin. It means freedom to be in relationship with God. This freedom is a gift of grace and mercy given to all who will accept it and walk in it.

In my own life, the conflict between law and grace, between legalism and living in true freedom are always battling. It is so easy to fall into the ‘trap’ of thinking I can DO something to win God’s favor and approval, to attain righteousness, just like the Galatians, when in fact Christ already did everything that needed to be done.

As much as I ‘try’ to be good, obedient, sinless, and perfect, I will never succeed. It is impossible for me to achieve that by myself.

The obvious impossibility of carrying out such a moral program should make it plain that no one can sustain a relationship with God that way. The person who lives in right relationship with God does it by embracing what God arranges for him. Galatians 3:11 (MSG)

When God chose the Israelite as His own, He wanted to protect them from themselves. He wanted to prepare them to recognize how much they needed Him. He gave them the Law through Moses, an unattainable set of rules to guide them, but also to show them that they couldn’t truly be righteous by themselves, no matter how hard they tried.

If such is the case, is the law, then, an anti-promise, a negation of God’s will for us? Not at all. Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time. Galatians 3:21-22 (MSG)

When I read all of the laws that were set forth in the time of Moses, I can honestly say that I have not obeyed them all. Sure, I wasn’t trained in them as many of the Israelites were; I didn’t live in a Jewish home that studied and practiced Mosaic law daily. But even if I was, I would still never be able to live by the letter of the law. And, therefore, I would be cursed.

And that means that anyone who tries to live by his own effort, independent of God, is doomed to failure. Scripture backs this up: “Utterly cursed is every person who fails to carry out every detail written in the Book of the law.” Galatians 3:10 (MSG)

The kings in the Old Testament (see chart below) lived during the time of Mosaic law. Azariah (Uzziah) and Jotham, kings of Judah, chose to try to live by the law, but failed to obey everything. They continued to allow the practices of idol worship, rather than tearing down those high places. But King Ahaz of Judah and all of the kings of Israel didn’t even try to live by the law. They practiced and participated in idol worship, murder, taking people’s money, plundering the temple, etc. They lived evil lives and led the people in their kingdoms into sin and further away from God. All of the Kings of Judah and of Israel lived under the curse of sin and therefore suffered the consequences of that curse.

There is only one King who is fully righteous – blameless before God and man. He is the Chosen One, the Seed appointed to liberate me. He became the curse. He was scorned, scourged, and sacrificed, made the scapegoat for my sins, so that the bonds of legalism are broken off and I am made righteous through grace. He died so that I can live. He died to redeem the law and allow me to move from a life full of works and rituals to a life of faith, freedom, and relationship.

Christ redeemed us from that self-defeating, cursed life by absorbing it completely into himself. Do you remember the Scripture that says, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”? That is what happened when Jesus was nailed to the cross: He became a curse, and at the same time dissolved the curse. And now, because of that, the air is cleared and we can see that Abraham’s blessing is present and available for non-Jews, too. We are all able to receive God’s life, his Spirit, in and with us by believing—just the way Abraham received it. Galatians 3:13-14 (MSG)

To prevent myself from falling into the deception of legalism, I need to ask myself everyday “Do I have the crucified Jesus in clear focus in my life? Am I responding to God’s Message to me? Am I fully trusting Him?”

I choose to live by the Spirit, to accept His gift of grace. I choose to trust Him. I choose to keep the cross as the center of my attention, as the foundation of my life.

Help me Holy Spirit! In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India

REGION

KING

CONDUCT

CURSE

Judah

Azariah (Uzziah) son of Amaziah

Did well in the eyes of God, except he didn’t remove the high places of idol worship

Afflicted with a bad skin disease until the day of his death

Judah

Jotham son of Azariah (Uzziah)

Acted well in God’s eyes, except he didn’t remove the high places of idol worship

Died during attacks against Judah

Judah

Ahaz son of Jotham

Didn’t behave in the eyes of God; participated in all forms idol worship; plundered the valuables from the Temple

City was sieged; lived under the heavy hand of the Assyrian king

Israel

Zechariah son of Jeroboam

Lived a bad life before God

Assassinated

Israel

Shallum son of Jabesh

Only reigned 1 month

Attacked and killed

Israel

Menahem son of Gadi

Lived an evil life

Attacked by and had to pay tribute to the Assyrian King

Israel

Pekahiah son of Menahem

Lived an evil life

Conspired against and killed in cold blood by his military aid

Israel

Pekah son of Remaliah

Lived an evil life

Attacked by the Assyrian King; assassinated by Hoshea son of Elah

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Filed under 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Galatians, New Testament, Old Testament