Friday, July 12, 2019

Be Free by Warren Wiersbe (Commentary on Galatians)

Since we don't have to "do" anything to earn salvation, how do we avoid erring on the side of complacency or mediocrity in our Christian walk? What exactly are we free to do and how can we be sure our freedom doesn't lead to licentiousness? Warren Wiersbe sets out to answer these questions in Be Free, his user-friendly commentary on the book of Galatians.

I've read a dozen of Wiersbe's commentaries on the Bible and while they were all excellent, this one stands out above the others. This may be because I spent many years of my Christian life trusting in outward actions to measure my spiritual maturity. I was a legalist with a capital "L."

Wiersbe writes, What is it about legalism that can so fascinate the Christian the he will turn from Grace to the law? For one thing, legalism appeals to the flesh. The flesh loves to boast about its religious achievements. The person who depends on religiosity can measure himself and compare himself with others.

I loved it when he cited F.D.R.'s four freedoms (of speech, of religion, from want and from fear) and added a fifth freedom: freedom from sin and self. Only those who deliberately misread Bible verses about grace will use them to validate sinful choices. Liberty does not mean license, says Wiersbe. Rather it means the freedom in Christ to enjoy Him and to become what He has determined for us to become. It is not only freedom to do, but also freedom not to do. We are no longer in bondage to sin. But can Christians take this whole freedom thing too far?? Not according to Wiersbe: No man could become a rebel who depends on God's grace, yields to God's Spirit, lives for others, and seeks to glorify God.
As I read through the book of Galatians, using the comments in Be Free, I said many a "hallelujah" for the Lord's kindness in bringing me from a works-based faith to a faith that is dependent on His mercy. I still slip up sometimes, but the Lord gently calls me back to Himself.

In closing: The unsaved person wears a yoke of sin; the religious legalist wears a yoke of bondage; but the Christian who depends on the grace of God wears the liberating yoke of Christ. (Matthew 11:30)



Ruth said...

Another great title I want to look into. How long did it take you to study through this book? Is it like a study guide?

I also come from a legalistic religion, and I was trying to please God; but I was freed from that when I left. Nonetheless, I think it would be helpful to understand the importance of obedience vs. following the LAW. I think the heart has a lot to do with why we choose to do what we do. We need to be able to examine our hearts and understand our purpose. It makes me think of Scripture that says we must be right in our conscience.

hopeinbrazil said...

Ruth, this book has sections that are to be done once a week with a group. I just read the Bible chapter and then read 4 to 6 pages from the study guide. The next day I read the same Bible chapter again and then the next few pages. That way I get to read the same Bible passage multiple times before I go on to the next Wiersbe chapter. He has study questions that I rarely use. His commentary is enough to get me thinking more deeply about the passages. Hope that helps.

booklearner said...

Love. Warren Wiersbe reminds me of my dad when I was a kid. We'd go to church and his men's Sunday school did regular Wiersbe commentaries. It wasn't until much later that I learned how great a theologian Wiersbe was. I've been collecting his stuff now.