Out with the Old, In with the New

I have very distinct memories of taking the bus downtown as a teenager to the record store and flipping through record after record to find a couple of vinyls to spend the money I’d earned cutting grass in the neighborhood.  On my way home I’d open the jacket and read everything on the inside while admiring the pictures. I couldn’t wait to get home to play the album in its entirety. Today’s generation will never know that kind of joy. But they’ll also never know that kind of inconvenience.  A whole afternoon was spent doing something that can now be done in a matter of seconds.

As much as older generations go on and on about the good old days, would we really want to go back to those times?  I’ll speak for myself here but I happen to prefer the benefits and convenience that technology affords.

Most of us like new stuff; televisions, cars, clothes.  And even while we enjoy some of the nostalgia of an old car, house and even furniture, we still like to fill those things with all of the modern conveniences and technology.  Even I would love to drive around town in a ‘69 Camaro but I don’t think my 45 year old shoulders can handle rolling down the windows. And remember that you’d have to reach across to the passenger side to roll that one down as well.  


When Paul is writing to the church of Galatia, he is ticked off because the believers there had received Christ when Paul had spent some time there building a ministry but in his absence another teaching permeated their doctrine which embraced doing things the old way.  He speaks often about their being set free in Christ Jesus but returning to the old way of doing things which demanded strict adherence to the law.

Imagine if you came home to find your child trying to complete a homework assignment using nothing but an old Commodore 64 (kids, ask your parents what that is).  It’s bulky, it’s slow, there’s no internet activity so there’s no access to the wealth of research available online and no printer so they can’t turn in any assignment completed on the dinosaur anyway!  You point them to a shiny new Macbook. Their desk regains much needed space, their grades improve and their much happier. Now imagine returning home after work the next day and they’ve returned to using that old Commodore 64.  Doesn’t make much sense does it? That’s what Paul thought when he heard that these believers whom he loved had not only returned to a system that hadn’t worked for them but were encouraging new believers to do the same. SMH.

There are a few things that we’ve learned from following the law as instructed in the many of the first books of the old testament.  

  1. Holiness – The law outlines for us God’s standard.  In other words, if you wanna roll with God, these are the things you have to comply with.  It’s brutally hard to do and that was discovered very early on.
  2. Community – The Israelites had a culture defined by their relationship with God and their adherence to this standard.  It gave them a sense of belonging as to a college alma mata, fraternity or sorority.
  3. Dependence – The strictness of the standard as defined by the law required them to maintain to close relationship with God to help them.  The couldn’t do it on their own.
  4. Expectation – And not only could they not do it on their own, they couldn’t actually do it at all!  The law then pointed to a need for a savior or messiah who we find in Jesus Christ who sets us free by shedding His blood for us which washes away our transgressions of this law.

So Paul urges the church at Galatia not to return to the bondage of the law after having been set free from it!  I don’t know about you but I prefer the new.