Posted by: bshelley | August 26, 2008

Man made yokes

Today’s Verse: Acts 15:10 “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear” NASB

There was a serious problem in the beginning of the church. “Judiaziers”, were going around trying to persuade the new Christians that they must also observe the Law of Moses. We are not just talking about the Ten Commandments, but all the other 600+ laws under which those under the Old Covenant struggled. Peter’s response was that neither their fathers nor they could find salvation in these rules. Not because there was something wrong with them, but rather that they were there to make it clear that man has a sin problem and is thus separated from God. Specifically their biggie teaching was that the men needed to continue to be circumcised in order to be saved. The problem is that, like all under the Old Covenant, circumcision was just a shadow of the reality that was to come under the New Covenant. The reality under the New is that the circumcision required is the one performed by God, not man. But the apostle Paul says it best in Colossians 2:9-12

For in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God who raised Him from the dead.

So the circumcision of the Old was a token of the covenant. The New requires the same, only performed on all by God in baptism. It is not our hands working, but God’s when we obey. Yet even today, there are those who would add rules and man made requirements to the liberty we are to have in Christ. Unfortunately, because of that, too many see Christianity as “rules” rather than the freedom it is. You can understand why as rebellious children, nobody wants to live by someone else’s rules. Not that under Christ we don’t have lofty goals for Christ-like living, but in Him we are freed from the weight of the yoke of rules which cannot save and from the burden of sin, which is death. When we are in Christ, we are forgiven. When we stumble and sin, we are forgiven. When we fall short of His best for our lives, we are forgiven. That, dear friends is the Good News! Do not fall prey to those who would with their man made rules place you back under the yoke of the Law. In Christ we have freedom from the penalty of sin. Our response should be rejoicing and praise and a desire to serve Him in all that He asks. Once we really understand, we might even want to tell others about the treasure we have found… who knows, they might want freedom too!

Lord, there are not words adequate as a response to such a salvation. Let the words of my mouth and the work of my hands in Your service be my thanks and my witness to Your goodness and mercy. Amen 

Audio Version: seeking-gods-heart-acts-15_10

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