Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born according to the flesh, but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a divine promise.
It all started with baseball in the neighborhood. It then became more important with kickball in first grade. It then got more serious with Greek dodge in fourth grade. It then reached the highest of heights with basketball starting in the 10th grade.
Of course, I’m talking about picking sides. It’s both the science and art form of choose teams. Figuring out who is going to play on which side. It’s the demanding and detailed decision-making process of who you’re going to play with.
There was no going online to review their stats. No sitting down with a committee to get their input. No looking at your cell phone to look at video of their past performance.
It started quickly and easily because you immediately picked the best player. It was easy to figure out who you picked first. They were the biggest. The strongest. Had the most talent. Worked the hardest.
But then it got more difficult to choose. There wasn’t a great deal of difference between most people, so it was mostly experience and that feeling in your gut. And then there was that painful choice of who was going to be the last person picked.
There was one reason, and only one reason to pick someone. It wasn’t whether they were cool or not. It wasn’t if dressed in the right cloths. If they were your friend or some long, lost relative.
No, you picked people for one and only one reason.
Now, it may have been many years since you had to choose up sides for a game. But we still make choices each and every day. And the goal is the same – to win.
And that’s the same question that Paul is asking the Galatians. They have a choice in front of them. Which team are they going to pick. Which side are they going to play for. To live for.
The choice is really very simple. The two sides are not at all similar. There’s not even close. They are as different as night is from day.
Choose Law – To be under the law is a choice where you think being a good little boy or girl is somehow going to be enough. That you can do enough good stuff to make up for all the bad stuff that you’ve done, said, thought. The law isn’t interested in loving us, but only punishing us.
Choose Grace – To be under grace is the choice based not only on how bad we are, but on how good God is. Grace is where God steps in and pays for all the stuff we’ve done, said, and thought. He takes the weight of our burden on himself and lifts us up to be his daughters and sons.
In a word, God says that law is slavery. Period. It’s a word we don’t like to use or think about. But law is exactly that: it’s a hard and harsh taskmaster that enjoys beating the living daylights out of us. It only hurts. It only punishes. It never loves.
But grace is where God reaches down to you and me. But grace doesn’t stop with reaching. Grace continues by gently taking our outstretched hand and lifting us up into his loving arms. He holds us close, bending his arms around us. Loving us. Protecting us. Giving himself to us.
Another way of thinking about grace is where God is picking sides and he picks you. But his picking isn’t because you’re better than someone else. He’s not picking you because you can help him win either.
He’s picking you to be on his team, on his side, in his family because he cares for you. He picks you because he loves you. He made you for himself. No one else. You were made to be his child today and forever.
The funny thing about picking sides is that when picked, everyone goes onto that side. They always accept being picked. I’ve never seen where someone was picked, and they just stood there. Or they walked away, refusing to be picked.
When someone is picked, they immediately walk over to join the one who chose them and their team. They want to be with the one who picked them and their teammates. No one just stays there and says, “That’s ok, I’ll just stand here all alone.”
God is picking side and he’s calling you to join him. And yet, there are some who’ll turn down his calling.
Will you respond to his calling your name as he’s picking sides?