In the world but not of it

February 3, 2010

Rhetorical questions…

Filed under: Uncategorized — In the world but not of it @ 5:00 am

You’ve heard the story of how a frog that is thrown into boiling water will immediately react and jump out but a frog that is placed into room temperature water and then the water is slowly brought to a boil will actually stay in it and eventually die.

Similarly I remember a car my parents owned back in the 70’s. If you live in a part of the country where snow is common then you know that salt is used as a melting agent for the slippery roads. This mixture of snow and salt really does a number on the body of the car and eats away at it resulting in rust. This was common for cars back in the 70’s and even the 80’s although today’s cars hold up a bit better. My parent’s car developed several areas of rust that really detracted from the beauty of the car itself.

What is interesting is that you never see the rust forming. One day you come out and it is just there and then it continues to get worse. The same happens in the lives of many professing believers. The “melting agents” of the world seep in and slowly deteriorate them.

We watch as Christians, leaders and lay people alike, become complacent and lethargic in their walks. The rust has begun to form and they don’t see it.

In Galatians 3:1-5 the Apostle Paul dealt with similar issues when he wrote this passage. He asked six rhetorical questions (highlighted in bold below) that are very much the same ones we need to ask of ourselves at times.

Look at each one and carefully consider whether your life presently is represented in any or all of them.

V1 Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you? For the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death was made as clear to you as if you had seen a picture of his death on the cross.

V2 Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.

V3 How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?

V4 Have you experienced* so much for nothing? Surely it was not in vain, was it?

V5 I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ.

The believers in Galatia had started to go backwards. They began turning back to the rules and regulations they were used to following. That is often the case when we don’t see God working fast enough on our timetable and it can also be the case when we have begun just going through the motions of being a Christian.

The temptation is always to refer back to past efforts, traditions or practices that stir up lots of activity but have no lasting spiritual results.

We should note that the word “foolish” in this passage actually means “ceasing to use intellect”…

Paul was appealing to what they knew to be true not their emotions. We are good at confusing our emotions with our intellect. We hold on to the Truth we know regardless of how we feel about it at a particular time.

I have not had too many experiences where my feelings lined up with my intellect regarding spiritual matters. I find more often than not that I need to act on faith and trust in God and then the feelings will follow…


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