Across the Pastor’s Desk: Don’t give up Savior’s freedom

Published 8:00 pm Friday, July 29, 2022

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose

The members of the early Christian church in Colossae and Galatia shared similar problems.

Don Rose

They had heard the good news of salvation through the cross of Jesus the Christ and they had been set free from bondage to sin and death through him as a result. This message was a message about what God had so graciously done for them and the assurance that what they could not do for themselves had already been done once and for all. They already were sharing in the dawn of a new age for God’s creation. 

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Then, however, others came to their communities and began to tell them that there was more that needed to be done. Yes, they had heard the word of the Gospel, but these new voices were saying that there were still human practices that needed to be done so that their new status could be assured. These new voices combined expressions of various religions and philosophies to develop rites and practices for humans to accomplish and to add to what God had already done, the work of salvation. 

The believers were confused as to what direction they should go and were at the point of giving up the freedom that they had received through Christ. They were tempted to believe that human actions could indeed add to what God had done and without those actions God’s work was incomplete.

Any believers today find themselves in similar situations as so many different voices address their lives. New rules and new rituals are regularly promoted as the means by which persons can be right with God. Just do this or just do that are the temptations that are placed before God’s children in these days. New acts of piety rather the promise of God’s Word become the assurance of a relationship with God and God’s dominion. Such false pieties never bring salvation but rather create new bondage.

The Apostle Paul in his Letter to the Galatians as well as the writer of the Letter to the Colossians both speak emphatically against such voices and the practices that they promote. Both letters assure the readers and hearers that what God has done in Christ is more than sufficient and to introduce any other human action is to deny the very gift of God’s love and grace. This was a corrective word that those early believers were in need of hearing over and over again. It continues to be a word that God’s people need to hear yet in these days. 

Do not give up the freedom so costly won through the gift of the Savior for the sake of false pieties that hinder and bind. In Christ, God has done all that needs to be done for the salvation of the world.

Don Rose is pastor of the Mansfield and United Lutheran churches.