Thursday (Wesley Day)

“And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (v. 6)

Galatians 4:1-7 Thursday 24 May 2018

Psalm: Psalm 130


Background

This passage needs to be read in context. Much of Paul’s letter to the Galatians is concerned with the situation of Gentile Christians – those who have come to faith in Jesus from a non-Jewish background and how they relate to Jewish Christians who still hold to the laws of the Old Testament.

The struggle was between those who were concerned that Gentile Christians needed to keep the essentials of the Jewish law – circumcision was a point of particular contention – before they could be regarded as proper Christians and those who emphasised the prime importance of following Jesus – keeping the spirit of his life and work.

In this passage that contrast is illustrated by the difference between those whose life is just to obey their guardians on the one hand (verses 2-3) and those who have been set free to have an intimate relationship with God through Christ (verses 4-5). The Spirit of God’s son has opened up new possibilities, new promises and allows us and all disciples to call God by the intimate name “Abba” – ‘Daddy.’ Paul argues that the Spirit will more than fulfil any legitimate demands contained in the law. He is saying that the Spirit generates God’s life in and through the believer and it will be visible in their life.

Today we commemorate the ‘heart-warming’ experience of John Wesley in 1738. The Wesley children had been brought up as devout Christians but into a Christianity which was hard work - a lot of dos and don’ts. This was not wrong but it proved sterile for both John and Charles, leading to years of soul-searching for both of them. However we might choose to explain what happened to John Wesley on the 24 May 1738 – it is clear that the witness of the Spirit brought a new understanding to Wesley. He then knew that he did trust in Christ alone for his salvation and an assurance was given to him that he had been saved.


To Ponder

  • Paul argues that the good news and real message of Scripture are that we can be freed from the oppressive forces which religion so often manifests. How far has this been your experience during your Christian life?
  • If John Wesley were to come back today what would he recognise in the Methodist movement to which he gave birth?
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