Sunday, October 12, 2014


Galatians 2:15-16      We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

The “works of the Law” are many. They comprise the commandments found in the first five books of the Old Testament. In Leviticus you will find detailed instructions on how to live your daily life, discipline children, moral codes of conduct, how to live good civic lives and more. Worship was guided by rules outlining the types of animals required for sacrifice in order for sin to be atoned, and special days of worship.

Several years ago a young woman came to me wanting to be married to a young man whom I had not yet met. I arranged for us to get together and in the course of the resulting conversation discovered that neither the young woman nor the young man were Christians.

The man was quite open about it and regarded the church service as merely a public ceremony. The young woman thought she was a Christian, largely because she had come from a family of churchgoers and had been baptized in her infancy by a bishop. When I pointed out that baptism never made anyone a Christian this woman was greatly offended. She was even more offended when later I declined to perform the ceremony.

The Church has specific practices for worship and guidelines for living in ways that will please our God. Much of what we find in the New Testament begins with the teaching that our inner heart and mind are first transformed by the Holy Spirit. As a result, our lives begin to reflect a life of obedience to God through the practice of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Never think that you can put the practice of obedience before the inner transformation that enables our obedience. 

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