15th June 2013

Magna Carta (Part 2) 

“But the scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.”
Galatians 3:22 (NIV)

The year 2015 will mark the 800th anniversary of when King John put his seal to the text of Magna Carta at a meeting with his barons at Runnymede in 1215. Commemorations of important events leading up to Runnymede will also be held in the next two years. The British lawyer and Judge, Lord Denning described Magna Carta as, “the greatest constitutional document of all times – the foundation of the freedom of the individual against the arbitrary authority of the despot.” Magna Carta was so fundamental to the US constitution of 1787 that the American Bar Association erected a monument at Runnymede to acknowledge the debt American law had to this document. 

In his commentary on Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, published in the NIV Bible Commentary (1994), J.M. Boyce wrote, “This letter has been called the Magna Carta of Christian liberty, for it maintains that only through the grace of God received through faith in Jesus Christ can a person escape the curse of sin and of the law and live a new life, not in bondage or license, but in genuine freedom of mind and spirit through the power of God.” 

In the scripture quoted above Paul declares that the whole of humanity is a prisoner to sin and the only way they can escape this imprisonment and be given “what was promised” by God is by faith in (Greek “of”) Jesus Christ. Paul begins his letter by stating that God called the Galatians “by the grace of Christ.” (Galatians 1:6). He then goes on to declare that in Christ we have freedom but this should not be taken for granted or be misunderstood, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1).   

The gospel of grace with its pronouncement of liberty, into which the Galatians and all believers are called, is not a liberty that leads to license, as some who try to mix grace and law claim. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love.” (Galatians 5:13)  Paul announces in his letter to the Galatians that we have been set free, but that freedom is to be used to live a life of love and service not license. 

Father, we thank you that you have called us by grace into freedom, and not to the bondage of license.  Help us to bear the fruit of your spirit and live a life worthy of our calling.

Study by Eddie Marsh


 eddiemarshAbout the Author:
Eddie Marsh attends the Sheffield congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Sheffield
Please phone or email for Meeting Place

Meeting time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Email: sheffield@gracecom.org.uk

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