Today we look at Paul and Paul combines two words not often combined — in fact, let’s add a third word. Here they are, and they go together:
Spirit, freedom, and love. I begin by quoting all of Galatians 5:13ff. Now here’s my question: Can you spell freedom without including Spirit and love? Can you spell Spirit without it meaning love and freedom? Can you spell love without it meaning Spirit and freedom?
This post is fabulous in the way it shows the Jesus Creed as THE foundation for Kingdom living. It is, as I have come to call it, very "simplex" -- it is simple to understand but very complex in working out.
Yes, these three words go together -- just as the Trinity does. What if I stepped out on a limb to suggest we think of Love as God (that should not be too hard), Freedom as Jesus (let it sit a bit and you can see it), and Spirit -- well that's the easiest! They are woven together -- like a braided rope. "A cord of three strands is not easily broken."
Love is God ... which we could not really understand until Freedom from the impossible burden of Torah came in Jesus ... which is the only way we can be empowered to be transformed from slaves to self to free agents of hesed (love, grace, mercy) through service, submission and humble leadership. Free agents that are bound to each other and to God by the New Covenant in Jesus Christ -- so that any time we choose not to love, we break covenant (sin) ... but even in sin we are free to humbly confess our sin and receive forgiveness and work toward reconciliation and restoration -- just as we are free to gracefully receive such confession and mercifully grand forgiveness and even initiate restoration.
Only in this context will we be free to live Kingdom Life -- freed from self-absorbed pursuits that do not satisfy (and the anxiety that comes with them when they are thwarted or threatened) -- freed from the guilt and shame from not being able to measure up to some other standard on our own strength -- freed from the deception of various entitlements and the resulting abdicating of our responsibility to love the "others" that are within our sphere of influence -- freed from the stranglehold of Chronos time so that we can live more in Kairos time -- freed from the limitations of our puny ideas so that we can embrace God's outrageous vision of an unshakable Kingdom where each one of us has a dynamic, Spirit-given (and empowered), part to play in the Body of Christ.
...I can still hear my mentor, S. Scott Bartchy, saying: "How much freedom can YOU stand?"
Blessings. I'll be back later....