Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Orange Moon Wednesday, June 19, 2024 "Ritual? Reality!"

The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…

"Ritual?  Reality!" 

"In the moment we trusted the Lord Jesus as Savior, our spiritual enemies launched a full out assault on the living relationship with God freely given to our hearts in Christ - "bewitched."


   "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel, which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ" (Galatians 1:6-7).

    A careful reading of the Apostle Paul's epistle to the Galatians reveals that the Galatian believers had fallen victim to the temptation of exchanging reality for ritual.  Circumcision, food restrictions, and the observance of days viewed as holier than others had led the Galatians away from the living and vital presence of Christ unto "weak and beggarly elements" (Galatians 2:4-5; 11-14; 4:8-9).  Paul wrote Galatians to combat the error, and to ensure his brethren did not neglect the marvel and magnitude of God's grace in the Lord Jesus.

    The observances Paul addressed had occupied a place in the Old Covenant, which served as a "schoolmaster (tutor) to lead us unto Christ," but which had passed way when no longer required.  "But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster" (Galatians 4:24-25).  Paul referred to the temptation of foregoing reality for ritual in no less terms than devilish involvement: "O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?" (Galatians 3:1).

    In the moment we trusted the Lord Jesus as Savior, our spiritual enemies launched a full out assault on the living relationship with God freely given to our hearts in Christ - "bewitched."  They cannot sever the bond with our Lord whereby He becomes the very Life of our lives.  Our enemies can, however, tempt us to view fellowship with God in lesser terms than the presence of Christ provides.  Indeed, let us consider the gift of "so great salvation" in the most direct terms: God made our hearts the very home of His beloved Son when we believed.  "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).  Christ lives in us, He walks in us, and He works in us "both to will and to do of His good pleasure" (Hebrews 2:3; Galatians 2:20; II Corinthians 6:16; Philippians 2:13).  He is, in fact, the very Life of our lives.  Little wonder that Paul "withstood the Apostle Peter to the face" when Peter succumbed to the temptation to return to rituals that belie the living reality of the Lord Jesus in the hearts and lives of those in whom He dwells (Galatians 2:11-21).

   We do well to realize the challenge we face, that is, "bewitching" attacks on the reality of grace provided to us in Christ.  God gave Himself to us when we believed, the most marvelous bestowal imaginable.   Presently, we "walk by faith, not by sight" regarding such grace and glory (II Corinthians 5:7).  However, this does not minimize the presence and power of the living God dwelling with and within us.  Ritual?  Reality!  The Apostle Paul would settle for no less in those he served with God's grace when leading them to Christ, and when thereafter seeking to strengthen and protect freely given relationship provided through the Savior.  We must join Paul in his determination, rejoicing in a gift beyond compare, and realizing that enemies ever seek to hinder and damage our experience of it by offering "weak and beggarly elements."  Let us rather live in the strong and abundant element of the risen Christ living, walking, and working in the greatest reality of our existence…

"To live is Christ."

(Philippians 1:21)

"For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.  I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

(Galatians 2:18-21)

Weekly Memory Verse

   Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.

(Romans 15:8)


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