“Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:1-6)
Man’s real problem with any law lies with his own unregenerated nature.
Until the Spirit of God’s Son fills our heart there will always be the law of some tutor and governor to answer to. When the dictates of that steward proceed from the very mouth of God it is tough enough for a rebellious heart to swallow, but when they appear to be only man’s law (or a mix of man and God) it is harder still. But what is the real problem? Is the law itself the problem? The tutors? The guardians? The standards that are set?
Sometimes the standards can be mere traditions of men. But this can cause us to lose sight of the fact that man’s real problem with any law lies with his own unregenerated nature. The imposition of law only brings to light a heart bent on transgression. Those that are in the flesh cannot please God. “…The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” (Romans 8:7) This internal opposition is why Jesus says to every man, “You must be born again.”
So much of the fight we see against authority has so little to do with the supposed oppressive nature of the “powers that be” and so much more to do with the oppressive nature of sin itself in sinful man.
Whether it’s parental, societal, or religious law, the yoke of another will never be easy for one who has not come to Christ and had the Spirit of the Son put within him. By nature, man is dedicated to his own pleasure. He would rather do what he wants to do, not what anyone else thinks is good, not father, not mother, not God. So much of the fight we see against authority has so little to do with the supposed oppressive nature of the “powers that be” and so much more to do with the oppressive nature of sin itself in sinful man. That is very thing that changes when one enters into union with Jesus Christ. Now one’s old man is crucified with Christ and the submissive Spirit of God’s Son is sent into the heart. Now the child of the law who was growing increasingly agitated with the yoke being imposed on him by tutors and governors becomes God’s own son who sweetly wants to please his Father in all things. A stern, demanding controlling deity becomes a wonderful “Daddy.”
There is a native tension between the unregenerated heart and “law” of any kind. Many who come from “strict” backgrounds end up bitterly railing against the strictures and standards they were brought up in. They pick apart those aspects of it which they see arising from their elders peculiar ideas or outsized fears. They deem their present dysfunction as largely the product of their earliest guardians hangups and unskillful handling of them. But how much of the “bad blood” that flows in anyone’s veins was caused by the overzealous demands and silly convictions of others and how much is still being produced by a simple distaste at being yoked to an “outside” will?
We need to reckon with the fact that our own proud, willful, stubborn heart, however religious it tried to be, was always the real root of our problem.
Indeed, it is an easy thing to take issue with the law, the standards, the flawed tutors and guardians. “But to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7) If we get right down to it and are honest, we’ll lay the blame where it really belongs – at our own doorstep. Worldliness is in the heart. The all too human desire to do our own will and fulfill our own pleasure is bound to clash with whatever stands in our way sooner or later. The first clashes just happen to be with parents, who want us to do what they want as opposed to what we want. If we don’t change, the clashes are bound to continue.
We need to look beyond whether our governors and tutors truly wanted what was best for us and whether they knew what was best for us. We need to reckon with the fact that our own proud, willful, stubborn heart, however religious it tried to be, was always the real root of our problem. When we won’t stop obsessing over the impure motives and means that others used to “control” us, we only set ourselves up to fly into a dangerous overcorrection. Wanting to champion the cause of all those who were and are caught in the “bondage” of the man made, we promote a “freedom” where only God should teach us. Sounds good. But this life is often only a caricature of the true Spirit led life, where no man need teach us and the anointing teaches us all things. Our swing from law to grace is now too severe. What might have been legalism in others turns to license in us.
Be careful that in reacting against your past, you don’t gravitate toward a future outside the true camp of God. Stay humble, stay broken, make sure you are truly being led by God’s Spirit, not only in what you have liberty to do, but in what you allow yourself to think and feel.
If we have been born again, we are called to a liberty to love one another. Those in whom the Spirit of the Son dwells do not operate in strife or bitterness. They are without malice and do not rail against any, especially parents and godly men and women who, however flawed, have sought their welfare. They don’t pass on defiling roots of bitterness and a worldly philosophy of freedom to their children. If you have indeed been so enlightened to a better way, where is the meekness, the aptness to teach your elders who missed this better way? “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
We all eventually get our chance to sit in the driver’s seat. In wanting to do things right, in wanting to show others how it ought to be done, how often do people eventually discover that they were not as wise as they thought they were. How often do children need to have children before they wake up? We live in a day where lawlessness abounds. Be careful that in reacting against your past, you don’t gravitate toward a future outside the true camp of God. Stay humble, stay broken, make sure you are truly being led by God’s Spirit, not only in what you have liberty to do, but in what you allow yourself to think and feel. Maintain a heart of love and honor toward all men. Speak evil of no one. Be kindly affectioned one toward another. Be an example more in spirit than in smartness. If you do otherwise, one day your own unregenerated children, however differently you chose to raise them, will see plenty in your guardianship (or lack thereof) to find fault with.