Ever since we started the renovations at our place in the country, it has always been a treat to go sit on the back porch and soak in the beauty of the Texas countryside. I can sit out there in the morning and listen to the birds awakening with the dawn and then enjoy the croaking of what must be ten thousand frogs and crickets in the evening. It is peaceful, quiet, and still – the way I long for my heart to be in the midst of the chaos of life. And it is in those quiet moments – when I am "still and know that He is God" – that God speaks to me and calms the storm within. That is what I want to share with you in these posts. I want to share my view from the back porch. Some of my posts will reflect a few of the things I have learned in my journey through life. Some will simply be statements of what I see in our culture and how we as Christians should respond. I teach a Bible study class each week to an extremely eclectic group of adults and some of the posts and videos I share will be taken from those lessons. I have no delusions of profundity but rather I hope to cause you to think, to laugh, to ponder anew your life as Christ would have you live it. Furthermore, I hope this will be a conversation and not just a monologue. I would love to hear your thoughts, hopes, fears and anything else you would feel comfortable sharing with me. It's wonderful to relax here on the back porch enjoying the view, so pour yourself some coffee (or the beverage of your choosing) and let's talk.
The Rule of Law is the system under which we live in America. We press for law and order. If something doesn’t seem right we want to pass a law or at least a rule to fix the problem. We live daily with thousands of laws and rules and guidelines and procedures – some of which we can live with and some of which cause us great irritation.
When Paul addresses the Galatians he actually calls them foolish for following the law. But specifically he was saying that the law was given to show us our transgressions, but that it was incapable of saving anyone. Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The Galatians and we, by extension, cannot be good enough to earn our way into heaven. To accept the grace of God as found in the atoning work of Christ and then decide we are going to try to be good enough for God to accept us is nothing more than a slap in the face of God. It’s not just foolish – it’s ungratefully rude.
Jesus said in John 14:15 that if we love Him we will keep His commandments. He did not say that if we keep His commandments we will love Him. We must do the things He wants us to do, but not because it’s some kind of fraternal initiation to get us into heaven, but because we truly love Jesus and want to honor Him in all we do.
This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, September 18, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: email@example.com
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
We love to proclaim our God-given freedoms and complain loudly if we think those freedoms have been “abridged.” We watch with great concern as the Supreme Court renders decisions on any aspect of those freedoms afforded us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We complain about laws and regulations that restrict our rights or the rights of others and we petition the government through our elected representatives and through our personal efforts and protests when such grievances arise. However, perhaps the greatest deterrent to our living out our faith – of freely exercising our religion – is us.
It is our own complacency and our failure to “exercise” our faith by using the freedoms we share in this country. It is our own fault that we don’t use our freedom of speech to boldly proclaim the truth and hope of Christ – everyday, everywhere we go, to everyone we meet. It is our own fault that we don’t use platforms like digital media to publish our belief in the God who created the universe and yet wants to have a personal relationship with us. It is our own fault that we choose a thousand other activities to supplant the assembling of ourselves together in corporate worship. It’s our own fault. We can’t blame the government or other people who don’t share our beliefs. It’s all on us. We are not making full use of the freedoms we have as Americans to share the Gospel message of Jesus. We have used our freedom to pursue selfish and pointless goals that at best relegate God to a small part of our weekly schedule or, at worst, push Him out of our lives completely. We have squandered our freedom while ignoring the One who gave us the freedom in the first place.
So, Christian – before you moan and complain about how someone is trampling on your rights, look at your own life and see if you have been actively exercising those rights to further the cause of Christ. Have you taken advantage of your rights as an American citizen to tell others about the grace of God found in Jesus? Have you taken advantage of your rights as an American citizen to proclaim your faith in Christ through your personal actions and through your involvement with others who wish to do the same. The free exercise of religion includes the freedom of speech, of the press, and the right of the people peaceably to assemble. What a gift we have been given in the United States of America. Let us no longer use our God-given gift of freedom to trample on the very rights He has given us.