Rev. Rob Herron is the RUF Campus Minister at Appalachian State University
I am preaching this Fall on Paul’s letter to the Galatians and there are enough profound truths and themes in this book to fill so many books, I suppose the world could not contain them. If I have to boil down a central theme to the book, which on some level I do, it would be “freedom.” What is real freedom? It is the liberty that comes from the world-shattering, covenant-renewing and re-making work of Jesus. It is the new creation life that Jesus has ushered in through his death and resurrection, applied by his Spirit, to those who bear the mark of clinging faith. It is the freedom to reject law and receive the Law-Giver. And it really is freedom. It invites us to live in the one story the one Author is telling, a story whose ending is forever liberty. Here is an excerpt from my sermon on Galatians 1:1-10.
My son Robert has developed the unfortunate habit of ripping pages and pieces of pages out of books. He loves books, but I think he loves them so much that when he gets to a part of Peter Rabbit he really likes, his passion overwhelms him and he has to rip the book to shreds. So, I’ll often find little jagged pieces of his books lying sadly around. When I hold them, they look lost and fractured and out of place. But if you can find the story they belong in and put them back on the page, they’re still jagged, but you can see what they’re meant for. They find their beauty, purpose, and wholeness in light of the big story we belong to.
This is what the Gospel does. It doesn’t demand you find wholeness on your own. It brings your jagged story back into place, and in light of the big story of God’s love shown through Jesus, your story fits and finds its beauty. What does this mean? It means recognizing that you are not the author of your own story. That is a wonderfully freeing reality, because it’s not up to you to figure out your purpose or what your life is all about. It’s a good reality because the Author is kind and has written you a good purpose. Your life is all about knowing him as a perfect Father. This means receiving the freedom of no longer having to justify your role, because the author has written your part in love. Receive the freedom of being part of a story that has a glorious ending—all things made new.