We are creatures of habit. They teach us that in education to a considerable degree for a variety of reasons. First, we know that something someone learns becomes imbedded quickly and is difficult to "unlearn and reteach" if it isn't correct. Secondly, even teachers develop habits of methods that they believe are the best to teach students, and it is difficult to overcome those habits even if they are proven to not be as productive as newer methods.
Studies have been conducted in which the observers have placed glass in an aquarium. Once the fish learn the glass is there, they circle within the available area. Once the glass is removed, the fish never test the boundary and continue to circle in the same area even though the larger aquarium is now available to them. Yeah, but that is fish, you might say. Oh?
The Galatians had been given the gift of faith in Christ, yet Paul writes in frustration to them, imploring them about their return to the law as the means of grace with God. "It is freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again, I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law." (5:1-3) There is a role of law and gospel, and there is a balance. The law does not redeem, and the gospel does not free us to ignore the law. Christ's suffering, death, and resurrection bought our redemption, and our response to His sacrifice is to observe God's law as our offering to God. Our offering, then, is from the heart and not bound by code.
The glass has been removed for the Galatians and for us, yet we return to the yoke of the law then and now. Pray that the Spirit open our hearts to the grace God has given us, and that our observance of the law is as an offering to God for his grace. We are justified by faith, and faith alone!
Hope Men's Ministry