Galatians 3: 23-29
How was your week? I found myself running out of steam around Thursday and spent Friday and Saturday in Chrysalis and then in class. It has been a difficult week for me physically. I can feel myself beginning to wear down a bit. I know some of you have continued to deal with flooding and the rising waters, and have your own busy lives. I pray that you are staying faithful to the creator, the redeemer, and the helper. I pray that you are finding time to wrestle with Scripture, and to pray. I pray that you are finding yourself strengthened and moved to be more than you ever have been, and I pray that you are DOING something with your faith.
Remember, Do Not Be Afraid, There is Enough, You Are Enough!
For these next two Sundays in June we are going to be looking at what the church was after Pentecost, and what it was with the knowledge that God is three persons, Father - Son - Holy Spirit. We will find ourselves walking through Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
Let’s set the stage a bit. The Galatians were one of the early people that heard the message of Christ from Paul. He felt as though he was leaving them in good hands and yet begun to hear about their clinging to the law. There were Jews and Gentiles, both of which were understanding of what Christ had done for them, but most of the Gentiles were still being forced into circumcision, based on the law. This was not what saved Paul, it was merely the grace of Jesus, and so Paul is attempting to liberate them from the law and make sure they understand that they are saved by their faith.
Galatians 3: 5-7 - I ask you again, does God give you the Holy Spirit and work miracles among you because you obey the law? Of course not! It is because you believe the message you heard about Christ. In the same way, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” The real children of Abraham, then, are those who put their faith in God.
Paul ends this part with an acknowledgement that those who believe in faith, are the real children of Abraham.
Then if we look at today’s text, also in chapter 3 of Galatians he explains himself a bit more on the subject of believing in faith and just what that makes us.
V 23-25. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed. Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.
What Paul is telling them and us, is that before there was a Jesus, there was a law. It was put in place to keep connected with God, to be kept in a place of honor with God, all of which was simply a method of finding out who was willing to hold on till Jesus arrived. I’m paraphrasing here.
The law was designed to help people until Jesus arrived on the scene. It was the only way to be made right with God, and now Jesus arrival; his death, resurrection, and ascension have changed the covenant.
V 25-29. For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.
You have an inheritance, and are called the children of God.
When you make the decision, to believe in faith that Jesus is the one true way to heaven, that he died for you, that he forgives you of your sins, then you welcome this inheritance. You are now a family member in this family of God. It doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what you have or have not done. You are heirs. You are true children of Abraham.
NO this does not mean that everything is going to be great and your life is going to be perfect. What this means is that Jesus is preparing your future home for you.
Peter explains it this way. 1 Peter 1: 3-9. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
This is what your inheritance looks like. There will be no glorious riches here on earth. This world is full of trouble and evil. Your inheritance is a future that is without pain, and without death, and without tears. Your very soul is yearning for this final resting place and until then, the devil is looking to steal it, confuse you, manipulate things, and simply make life miserable.
You are children of God. This world is not your final home, nor should you be worried about the things within it. Maybe, just maybe God is attempting to get your attention this morning.
Is he trying to tell you that you are spending too much time working and not enough time with your family? Is he telling you that the drinks you are taking when no one is looking, getting the better of you? Is he telling you that you need to stop hiding your depression and go speak with a counselor? Is he telling you that you have been called to set apart ministry and you have simply been hiding from him?
YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD!!! He has big plans for you. There is no reason for you to live in the places that you are. You cannot hide from him. He knows everything about you and STILL sent his son to die for you. It is time for us to lay claim to our inheritance and stop living in fear!