You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?
Old School Theology
Debates about who qualifies to follow Christ are nothing new. In fact, discrimination against GLBT believers is fairly recent. The long list of targets preceding us includes the illiterate, scientists, racial minorities, and women. And believe it or not, one of the first controversies that divided Christians centered on circumcision.
While most early Christians agreed that Jesus brought God’s grace to all people, a small—but vigorously vocal—minority insisted it belonged exclusively to Jews. Therefore, before any Gentile could accept it, he had to be circumcised first. Where this notion came from is anybody’s guess. It certainly didn’t come from Jesus.
It troubled sincere Gentiles. And it greatly vexed Paul, who worried that their desire to please God could persuade them to obey the circumcision mandate. It was Old School theology, directly contradicting the New Order instituted by Christ. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again.” (Galatians 5.1)
“You were moving along,” Paul said, “Who got in your way and slowed you down?” The question remains relevant. Today, we still encounter believers with all sorts of conditions for following Jesus. Their motives may be pure, but what they promote never is. Requirements attached to those directly given from Christ saddle us with unnecessary burdens. We don’t need them because He set us free.
Jesus was the greatest communicator of all time. His words were precise, His standards were clear, and He meant for us to guide ourselves accordingly. He left us nothing to add or remove. Those who do are like Sunday drivers. They create bottlenecks. They cause accidents. They’re dangerous.
In 1 Thessalonians 5.14, Paul wrote, “Warn those who are idle.” There’s just no time to get hung up behind extraneous doctrine. The road to perfection in Christ is long enough already. It demands constant drive and attention. When we permit others to cut in on us with their ideas, we risk slowing down, crashing, or running out of gas.
An old songwriter once said, “I’ve got a long way to go to be like the Lord.” Boy, was he right. If we’re truly serious about going the distance, we’ve got to keep moving.
Which lane are you in?