Summary: This message encourages us to live by promise not by law. If we want to enjoy life as God intended it, then we can’t live it trying to earn God’s blessings. We must live it in light of his blessings already given.

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Freedom’s Promise (Galatians 3:15-22)

It was a battle, a wrestling match, a test of wills. Every day, at exactly the same time, Margaret would go to the bathroom cabinet, open it, and take out a huge bottle of castor oil. Then she would head to the kitchen to get a tablespoon. At the sound of the drawer opening and the silverware rattling, Patches, her Yorkshire terrier, would run and hide—sometimes under the bed, at other times in the bathtub or behind Margaret’s recliner. Patches knew what was coming.

Someone had convinced Margaret that her beloved dog would have strong teeth, a beautiful coat, and a long life if she gave him a spoonful of castor oil every day. So, as an act of love every 24 hours, she cornered Patches, pinned him down, pried open his mouth, and—as he whimpered, squirmed, and fought her with all his strength—poured a tablespoon of castor oil down his little doggie throat. Neither Patches nor Margaret enjoyed their daily wrestling match.

Then one day, in the middle of their battle royal, with one sideways kick, Patches sent the dreaded bottle of castor oil flying across the kitchen floor. It was a momentary victory for the canine, as Margaret let him go so she could run to the pantry and grab a towel to clean up the mess.

When Margaret got back, she was utterly shocked. There was Patches licking up the spilled castor oil with a look of satisfaction only a dog can make. Margaret began to laugh uncontrollably. In one moment, it all made sense. Patches liked castor oil. He just hated being pinned down and having it poured down his throat. (Kevin G. Harney, Seismic Shifts, Zondervan, 2005, p. 23-24;

Isn’t that the way it usually is? We want what’s best for ourselves and others. We just don’t like having it poured down our throats.

And yet, that’s the way many good people live. In an effort to help themselves and others, they force down a bunch of rules, because they’ve heard somewhere that it’s good for people.

Now, most of the time the rules ARE good for all of us. The Bible makes it very clear that obeying God’s law makes life go smoother (Proverbs 3:5-6). And not only that, God’s ordinances “are sweeter than honey,” according to Psalm 19:10. The principles in God’s Word are not only good for us, they are tasty; they are enjoyable, especially when we are able to live them out.

The question is: How can we learn to apply God’s Word without all the struggle? How can we learn to obey the Lord and enjoy it? How can we learn to be all that God wants us to be without feeling like its being forced upon us?

Well, if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Galatians 3, Galatians 3, where the Bible shows us how.

Galatians 3:15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. (NIV)

I.e., in the case of God’s promises. God’s promises cannot be annulled or amended. Once He makes a promise, it stands forever.

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