Some men, not content with [Christ] alone, are borne hither and thither from one hope to another; even if they concern themselves chiefly with him, they nevertheless stray from the right way in turning some part of their thinking in another direction. Yet such distrust cannot creep in where men have once for all truly known the abundance of his blessings.

-John Calvin

               

Years ago while youth pastoring (after my time away at bible college), I met a man who was an elder at the church I was serving at.  Dr. Karl Bandlien was one of the wisest and most gentle men I have ever had the privilege of laboring with—let alone getting to know.  Both of his daughters were in our youth group and were such a joy themselves.  I think Karl was as consumed with  the person of Jesus as much as anyone I have ever met.  He didn’t say much, but what he did say counted—I suppose that may have had something to do with him being a doctor.    Karl was fond of saying in a way only he could say it—He is doing it.  Year in and year out, it was like a mantra for him.  And a reminder for the rest of us.  Four simple words really.  But the truth stuck with me and I have thought often of those words. 

 Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life!   (Galatians 6:15, The Message Bible) 

The life of freedom in Christ is always about what God is doing in our lives—unlike religion, which makes it endlessly about what we are begrudgingly sacrificing for him.  The free life never entails living under God’s thumb, those who have truly entered into freedom in Christ don’t live out of an obligation but rather are compelled to freely follow Jesus out of a deep realization and a heart-felt appreciation for what Jesus has done and what he so freely continues to do that they cannot do for themselves—most specifically loving us with no pre-conditions or strings attached.

The free life is underlined by an unshakable awareness and trust in the God who is doing it.

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