For Our Own Good- Galatians 3:24-25

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.


Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ
Before we can have the correct attitude towards the commandments, we have to be able to acknowledge that we have flaws and that our behavior needs to change. It is all-too-easy to fall into justifying ourselves, stating that our strengths are sufficient and that our failings are only minor. So long as this is our position, then the commandments will feel like a personal attack, asking for changes that we insist we have no need of. We will become defensive, or even hostile.
Good cannot teach us anything if we “already know everything.”
But if we can be humble and admit that there are changes that need to happen in our lives, then we are open to being taught by a schoolmaster. Now we are teachable.

The Captive Heart- Isaiah 53:6

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.


All we like sheep have gone astray
Arguably the wounds that cut us most deeply are the ones we inflict upon ourselves. We might respond to them with intense shame, believing ourselves to be irredeemably broken and fundamentally flawed, or else we might become defensive, responding with anger at any suggestion that we did something wrong.
In either case, we have an intense feeling that it is not okay that we are imperfect. Which, in a world without grace, I suppose would be true. In a world without grace, admitting that you had done something wrong, confessing your faults, and exposing your weakness could only result in condemnation without forgiveness. It would be a horrifying prospect. Thus it is little wonder that we feel like we have to put on a perfect face, even as we know that none of us are.

And the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all
But, thankfully, there is grace, there is forgiveness, and there is a way to be loved even after we have done something wrong. All the horror of unremitting condemnation was faced for us by another. It was laid on the back of our brother. It is a sobering fact, but also the only way that this story could have a happy ending.
Because of our mortal frailty we have all gone astray, but because of His divine consistence we may all regather. We can be flawed, but live with the peace as if we had been perfect. We can learn from our mistakes, yet live as with the wisdom of having always known right. We can surrender all the bad, and preserve all of the good.

Evolving Your Beliefs- Summary

At the outset I was concerned that this study might be taken the wrong way. I never meant to suggest that we need to “evolve our beliefs” in the sense of calling certain commandments outmoded. I never meant to suggest that we try to blur the lines or call truth relative. I absolutely maintain that there is still right and wrong, that there is still good and evil, and that God has a specific path that we need to follow.

And that’s what this study was really meant to be about: learning God’s way better, and how we block our progress when we assume that we already know it perfectly. Perhaps the most important prerequisite to being teachable, is admitting that there are things one still needs to learn.

In this study I’ve tried to show how the need for rebirth is universal, and how it is no heresy to change one’s mind on spiritual matters, when one is sincerely deepening their faith. Let’s review a few of the key points that came up along the way.

We Are All Still Learning

We examined the stories of Nicodemus and Jonah, two men that were presumably very spiritual and very sincere seekers of the truth. Yet both of them were yet lacking. If they hadn’t been, these scriptural passages wouldn’t even exist!
Jonah’s case is particularly interesting, because he has the audacity to argue with God about what is right! It seems ridiculously arrogant, to reprimand the author of rightness for not doing the right thing…yet I think more of us do this than we realize. I’ve woken up to the realization that I was so arrogant myself.
None of us thinks that we’re perfect, but we do tend to think that we know perfectly. We feel that we aren’t wrong in our convictions, only that we don’t follow through on them. While yes, we probably do know better than we behave, perhaps we should also consider that if we actually did know better, our behavior would follow suit.
John 3:3- Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God
Jonah 3:10, 4:1And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.

We Have Emotional Blockers to Our Growth

Which is worse, to admit that one was wrong, or to remain being wrong? Obviously the latter, yet I think all of us can readily recall moments where we refused to admit that we were in error, even though in our heart of hears we knew that we were.
And each of us probably knows what the root cause of our stubbornness is pride, pure and simple. The solution is also simple: to let go of that pride.
Or perhaps I should say, the solution is simple to write, not necessarily to do! Indeed, I wish to maintain utmost respect for just how difficult an undertaking it is to admit that one was wrong.
When we recognize this wall of pride in another person, or even in our own selves, we should be very sensitive about it. There could very well be a wound that is tucked behind that wall. The mind often has a very good reason for not wanting to admit its faults. Perhaps one was made to feel great shame as a child, and a part of them is afraid that confessing an error will subject them to that horrible pain once more.
Yes, one still needs to let go of their pride, one still needs to let go of misconceptions to embrace higher truth, but let us be gentle as we invite the refiner’s fire.
Isaiah 1:25- And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.

Releasing Misconceptions is Not Letting Go of God

Many of us might be afraid to sin against the God of our childhood. We might feel that if we say we believed something incorrectly, than we are saying that all our beliefs were incorrect.
I think of the man who was blind from birth, whom Jesus sent to wash in the pool of Siloam and then received his sight. His entire perspective was literally changed in an instant! However when the Pharisees heard of it, and how the man maintained that it was Christ who had healed him, they cast him out of the synagogue. He was no longer welcome in the worship of his youth. Isn’t that what we’re afraid of as well?
It is a very understandable hesitation, but the answer to it is found in the rest of that blind man’s story.
John 9:35-38- Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.

Evolving Your Beliefs- John 8:39-40, 52-53

They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.
Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?


They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father.
Art thou greater than our father Abraham?

A major point of contention between Jesus and the disbelievers was that they perceived his teachings as an attack on their patriarchs. Here they are making an appeal to authority, claiming that their doctrine is derived directly from Abraham. Jesus frankly refutes that claim.
Their position, though, is one that I believe many of us can directly relate to. We often bristle when someone suggests that some of our conceptions of God and morality are amiss, even when the person making that suggestion is God, Himself! One reason is because that accusation feels like a slight against the place where we received our teaching: our childhood home. “Art thou greater than our father?!”
Sometimes God is going to say things that we don’t like. And it might be “your parents were wrong, so stop holding onto their old beliefs.” Even if He’s only saying they were wrong in part, that still stings us.
Or, it might be the exact opposite. He might be saying to you “your parents were right all along, so stop trying to be smarter than them.” Even if He’s only saying that they were right in part, it still stings us.
In the end, people tend to feel very passionately about their family of origin. They either love them or they hate them, they are proud of them or they are proud of having grown past them. In either case they struggle to accept that some parts of that home could be good, and other parts not so much. Sooner or later, though, God is going to come disrupt our personal pride, and coax us toward a higher truth.