Grace for Your Day April 5

Galatians 5:13-15 says:
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

The Book of Galatians has been called “Paul’s Fighting Epistle.” It has been referred to it as “The Book of Romans in War Paint” because, in it, Paul defends the doctrine of justification by faith. In this short letter, he defends the fact that we are saved by grace and not by works.
In other words, we are free. God has set us free from the tyranny of the Law which should cause us to love each other. It should cause us to draw closer to one another in love. Our common faith in Christ should be a unifying thing for us as a church instead of tearing us apart.

I mention this because the church in Canada is losing sight of this right now. It is beginning to forget this high calling because it is splitting over the issue of how to respond to the government. As the restrictions continue, a lot of Christians are turning against each other. They are forming into camps and saying “I believe that we should handle it this way.” “No. I believe that we should handle it like this.” We are casting off our freedom for a yoke of a different kind.

To show you how confusing it is, some are saying that the Bible commands us to resist the government. They are saying that it orders us to defy it in order to protect our rights. This is a strange thing to say since, to my knowledge, no one in the New Testament ever commanded the church to do that. The early Christians lived at a time when their rights were being constantly violated. They lived at a time when they were constantly being abused by the Roman Empire and yet they never made that pronouncement. They simply left it up to each individual to decide.

On the other hand, others are saying that the Bible commands us to do the opposite. They are saying that it commands us to comply with the governing authorities in order to protect people from the Coronavirus. They are saying that it commands us to obey them in order to keep others from getting infected. After all, as the argument goes, we have to love our neighbor. We have to show compassion to them so we cannot go to church right now. It would be an unloving thing to do which is also a strange thing to say. It is odd because what can be more loving than going to church? What can be more compassion than that?

All of this is to say this is a subject that we need to explore some more as a church. As many of you know, I recently finished preaching a series on the government but it would be wise to visit that topic again. With the arrest of James Coates and the strong response from it, I believe that our congregation is still wrestling with this issue. Our people are not settled on what to do so it would be good to take a look at it one more time.

This week’s sermon is entitled, “Brothers, Stop Fighting Over a Virus.” I understand that this fight is about more than just that. I understand that it is about more than just a virus because there are more issues involved but it all started there. We did not have this problem in Canada before the Coronavirus showed up so we need to learn how to deal with it in a Biblical way. We need to learn how to handle it in a loving way instead of biting and devouring each other.

My friends, this world is not getting better. It is getting worse because the depravity of man is being unleashed more and more. Today, we are fighting the government over the Coronavirus but tomorrow it will be something else so we need to learn how to deal with it now. We need to have this issue settled in our minds as a congregation which is what we are going to talk about this Sunday morning at Grace Fellowship Church.

We are still coordinating the details of our Sunday morning service but we will let you know as soon as they are sorted out. Either way, the sermon will be available on the Internet for you to see through video or live stream. – Jeremy Cagle