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The Law and the Promise | Thinking Through Galatians 3

The preaching text for this weekend’s sermon in the Narrative Lectionary is Galatians 3:1-9, 23-29. This is really a placeholder text to represent the center section of Paul’s letter to the Galatians during this three week mini-series on the the letter. This post will provide a list of links to resources for the text. The image above is from my overview of Galatians in the Hart Haus Series.

A Chance to Preach Law and Gospel

I had the privilege to be a T.A. at Luther in the class Law and Gospel taught by Pat Kiefert and Rolf Jacobson. I learned a ton in that class and illustrated my way through the lectures. View all the visual notes here. The text for this week allows for a good overview of how a) necessary both Law and Gospel are for the world, and b) how religion continually misunderstands the relationship between Law and Gospel. The Law is necessary for society, but it never saved anybody. The Gospel/Promise of God is a free, unconditional gift from God through the death and resurrection of Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. We don’t earn it by following the Law or jumping through particular religious hoops.

click here to view all my posts on Law and Gospel

A Catholic Meditation on a Very Lutheran Doctrine

One of the reasons I love Richard Rohr’s writings so much is that he breaks down all my stereotypes. He is a Franciscan Monk, which means he is Roman Catholic. I grew up Baptist, and the hard core Baptists of my past wouldn’t even think of reading him for that reason alone. I am now in the Lutheran Church, and, as we know, Luther was kind of frustrated (to put it mildly) with the Roman church’s view on Law and Gospel. This morning I read Rohr’s Meditation titled An Economy of Grace and it is an incredibly Lutheran understanding of the Gospel (which is the main reason I am now Lutheran). Listen to this,

God’s freely given grace is a humiliation to the ego because free gifts say nothing about being strong, superior, or moral. Thus only the soul can understand grace, never the mind or the ego. The ego does not know how to receive things freely or without logic. It likes to be worthy and needs to understand in order to accept things as true. The ego prefers a worldview of scarcity or quid pro quo, where only the clever can win. That problem—and its overcoming—is at the very center of the Gospel plot line. It has always been overcome from God’s side. The only problem is getting us in on the process! God’s inclusion of us reveals God’s humility, graciousness, and love. Only inside an economy of grace can we see that God wants free and willing partners. An economy of merit cannot process free love or free anything. “Not servants, but friends” (John 15:15) is God’s plan. Yet to this day, most Christians seem to prefer being servants. Actual divine friendship is just too incredible to imagine.

I encourage you to read the whole thing.

A Blessing to Preachers and Learners

My prayer to my fellow preachers, and to all who will listen to you this weekend, is that we will all experience the Promise of God’s grace more fully this week.

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