I hate forks in the road. I don’t care if it is a highway interchange or an intersection out in the country. Even if I know exactly where I am going, at the fork I face that moment of unpleasant wondering: Will I choose the wrong path and get lost?
I hate the forks because I hate to blow it.
Christian faith is built on the primacy of God’s love, faithfulness, and grace in Jesus Christ. This serves as the foundation for Galatians too. It appears that after Paul built a community based upon becoming children of God through “the faithfulness of Christ Jesus,” others came through teaching other “essential” aspects—circumcision, for instance.
This letter expresses Paul’s “NO!” to this particular aspect, but that doesn’t mean we can’t blow it. Despite the fact that everything rests on God’s grace, we do not lose our freedom to choose the wrong path at the fork in the road.
This is a dynamic tension for Paul. As he states in the first verse, “For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Paul uses the rest of the passage to describe the options and real choices that confront people of faith.
This gives us pause. Being gracefully adopted into God’s family through Christ is not the end of the story. It is the beginning of a story that does not guarantee our good decisions. We are not puppets in God’s hand. We can still blow it.
Yet Paul says “we live by the Spirit” of God, so we need not fear the road’s forks. And even when we realize that we’ve made the wrong choice, we recall that when everyone chose to put Jesus on the cross, God still turned it into a resurrection.
Lord, help me to affirm that your grace powers all and that my freedom really matters. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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