Rules are easier, but a relationship is better
From Letters of Paul: 30-Day Bible Study
It’s easy to read Paul’s letter and wonder why people would turn back to the law. Why willing submit to keeping all 613 commandments of the Old Testament when Jesus says, “Come follow me” instead?
Maybe the Galatians, like so many of us, decided that following a list of rules or steps seems easier than pursuing a relationship. Rules are objective. The outcomes are visible and measurable.
The same way that we don’t have to know how to cook to follow a recipe, we don’t have to know or be known by God to follow the law. Put in the effort, do the right things, and you’re good — or so people thought.
Galatians 3:11 is Paul’s rebuttal to this way of thinking: “... no one can be made right with God by trying to keep the law. For the Scriptures say, ‘It is through faith that a righteous person has life’” (NLT).
The law is not sufficient to save us because we cannot break the curse of sin. The law was designed to show mankind’s weaknesses, so we would see that we need a Savior and put our trust in Jesus.
From Abraham to us, God has been pursuing more than our obedience. He’s been pursuing relationships with his sons and daughters (Galatians 3:27-29).
Investing in relationships is harder than following rules. People are messy. They are unpredictable and imperfect. And yet that’s the route God chose. Rather than giving us 12 steps or five strategies to obtain holiness, God gave us His Son.
Building a relationship is harder, but the rewards are greater. A checklist can’t hold our heads high when enemies surround us, but a Savior can. Rules can’t come to our rescue, but a Savior can (Psalm 3:3, Psalm 3:8).
Rather than give us a recipe, God wants to teach us how to cook. In Jesus, God gave us a perfect example to follow and a teacher who understands our struggles. In the Holy Spirit, God equips us with the power to hear His voice to apply His knowledge in any situation. No recipes required.
- Do you find it easier to do things for God or to spend time with God? Why or why not?
- Think about the people closest to you. What are some of the blessings you’ve experienced from community? How does it feel to know that God wants that kind of closeness with you?