My Rules Not Yours

Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

Mark 10:1–9; Luke 1:69–75; Galatians 3:1–5

The rule of having to wear masks when going out into public (with some exceptions in the US and elsewhere) is grating. Really. Who wants to wear a mask all day? No one wants to.

Many are concerned that we are being conditioned to wear masks and have our s curtailed. That concern is reasonable, up to a point. What’s particularly inteing is the social experiment regarding rules.

The political “right” is generally a law and order type of people. Yet, that group is resisting the mask rule. The political “left” is (theoretically) more of a “no rules” yet practices many rigid rules.

This is not to pick on either, but to show that even in our “crystal clear” political bents, we are often not clear ourselves. Yet, one of the core pieces of Christian theology, especially Protestant theology, is from the Law.

Of course, someone will often that the Law is different than rules. Yes, the Law is a series of religious rules that defined appropriate behavior and a penalty for when that behavior was violated.

The “trick” became that the people treated the Law as if it were the that mattered, rather than their to God. That is also a simplification of it. Another way to say may be, they focused on the rules so much that they neglected the .

gets the rules of divorce question. Is that really the question, though? Is the question more along the lines of, “what can I do that I think makes me happy while still getting to Heaven?” The question of divorce is a question of on one hand and what can be gotten away with. The way Pharisees brought this to was about the law. It wasn’t about a man looking for a younger wife or a prettier one, or even one the nagged him less. It was about ug the Law to break .

When anyone becomes more concerned about the rules (whether to follow them or disobey them) than the s that the rules are about, we lose of people. Zechariah’s praise (from Luke 1) is all about the . Zechariah would have been one of those concerned about the rules (he was a priest). The with God and God with God’s people mattered more.

The other side of the rules, and a significant focus of the Protestant reformation, was the thought that one could earn their way into Heaven by following rules, rituals, or purchag one’s way in. The last of these 3 is not ’s concern in his letter to the Galatians. What concerned him was that the Galatians seemed to have tossed out grace and and embraced rules.

This is not to say rules are not important. They provide guidance and boundaries, which we seem to need to thrive. Yet, if we adhere to the rules (or oppose the rules) without understanding the why and the who that the rules are about we skip the people that we are called to .


1) Thinking of s regarding authority, how do rules and s work with and against each other?

2) What rules that bother you? Why? What s might those rules impact?


, you came to earth to show us the Way of Life. Help us to find both the and constraints of following you. Amen.

Pastor Ian

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.