Is there Such a Thing as Too Much Freedom?

last will and testament
Photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ken_mayer/5599532152/">Ken Mayer</a>

Galatians 3:15-18

Take this real-life example, friends. Nobody makes corrections to or ignores someone’s will once it’s been notarized. The promises God made to Abraham and to his heir. It doesn’t say “heirs,” as in many heirs. It says “heir.” One person. That person is Jesus.

Here’s my point. The laws of Moses came 430 years later. That law can’t annul a deal that God had already notarized. It can’t cancel the promise already in effect. If the inheritance were based on Mosaic law, it wouldn’t have any relation to the earlier promise. But as it is, God notarized it with Abraham.

Paul is desperately grasping at straws here. None of this logic makes any sense.

  1. The promise to Abraham is pretty clear (Genesis 15:5) that God is promising a lot of descendents to be Abraham’s heirs, not just one person.
  2. People contest wills all the time. And it’s certainly not uncommon for provisions in wills to be declared invalid, or for them to be over-ruled in court.
  3. Laws change over time. So do terms of agreements. Even notarized agreements.
  4. If God is the one of the parties to the agreement, it’s God’s prerogative to change the agreement.

Besides, it’s sheer folly to use a legal argument when the whole point you’re trying to make is that the law doesn’t apply.

As much as Paul wants to make a case for Christ superseding the old Mosaic law, he’s still so ingrained in and bound by legalism that he himself can’t escape it.

Better to recognize that Jesus was indeed an heir to Abraham’s promise, and that so is everyone else. It’s just that Jesus realized the freedom of that promise in a way that the vast majority of the rest of us haven’t.

Better to recognize that if everyone is the heir to Abraham’s promise, then all of us have the capacity to be blessed and to be a blessing to many.

Better to recognize that declaring faith in Jesus isn’t a magical key that unlocks the pearly gates, but it is a way to realize and live into the freedom that is available to anyone who wants it.

Alas, for many, like Paul, that much freedom is too much to think possible without trying to make more rules about it.

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