Monday, October 16, 2017

Galatians 6:14-16

At the end of his short letter to the churches of Galatia, Paul writes:
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.
Galatians 6:14-16 NLT
For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
Galatians 6:14-16 MSG

In these concluding sentences Paul declares that in Christ, because of Christ, through Christ, something brand new has and is happening. We have been transformed... we are the new people of God. Paul is saying (at least in part) that because of the cross (which is shorthand for the cross-resurrection-ascension) both Jews and Gentiles are the people of God - there is no more distinction based on ethnicity, class, sexuality, because the basis of inclusion in the people of God is not what we have done or hope to do, but what the triune God has done and is doing.

All those Old Testament laws were temporary not meant to be permanent
We were like children; we were slaves to the basic spiritual principles of this world.But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. And because we are his children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, prompting us to call out, “Abba, Father.” Now you are no longer a slave but God’s own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir.
Galatians 4:3-7 NLT

We are welcomed as God's own children, not as slaves or citizens. And so Paul says 
now that you know God (or should I say, now that God knows you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual principles of this world? You are trying to earn favor with God by observing certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. Perhaps all my hard work with you was for nothing. Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles—free from those laws.
Galatians 4:9-12 NLT

If you are in Christ and Christ is in you, if you are child of God, loved by Father-Son-Spirit, then live that way. Live in the freedom and joy and release of that love, not trying to earn or conjure up some sort of religious experience. The old way is dead and crucified. You are a new person in Christ. And if we are new people in Christ, then,
  • we are free to worship (beyond our personal preferences); 
  • we are free to serve (beyond our comfort zones); 
  • we are free to bless other (beyond our selfish tendencies);
  • we are free to be who God sets us free to be.
The goal or purpose of being the people of God, is not simply for our own sake, but for others who are not in Christ. The promise that God made to Abraham in Genesis 12...
I will make you into a great nation.
I will bless you and make you famous,
and you will be a blessing to others.
I will bless those who bless you
and curse those who treat you with contempt.
All the families on earth will be blessed through you.
Genesis 12:2-3 NLT

was that all peoples would be blessed... and this would happen through God's people being a blessing to other peoples, ultimately being fulfilled in the radical forgiveness extended through God's love in Christ.

No comments: