Wide-open Spaces

Wherever a church’s culture is characterized by a “do this and be damned, do that and be damned” mentality, the power of the curse is revived and the gospel emasculated. Yes, there are genuine ethical dangers that jeopardize our forward progress in “Christ being formed in us,” which are therefore to be avoided (Gal 5:19–21), but churches and their leaders cannot create new bodies of regulations (now not even given by angels, but just formulated by mere human beings) in order to confine their congregations under the protective custody of human-made regulations, hedging them in and imposing authoritarian rule over them.

Wide-open spaces are scary for people who ultimately trust in walls. The freedom that God’s sons and daughters are meant to enjoy requires responsible use of that freedom, as Paul will develop at great length (5:13–6:10), but ultimately Spirit-directed freedom is God’s will for God’s people in Christ. New Torahs, while having the appearance of nurturing obedience, in fact constitute disobedience to God’s purposes for us and a repudiation of Christ’s death to bring us that freedom.

David A. deSilva, The Letter to the Galatians, ed. Ned B. Stonehouse et al., The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2018), 304–305.

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