Monday 08 September 2014

Bible Book:

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.” (vv. 4-7)

Galatians 4:4-7 Monday 8 September 2014


Imagine what it would be like to receive a letter telling youthat your deeply-held religious beliefs are not just ill-informed,but fundamentally wrong, and that your cherished relationship withGod is nothing of the sort. "Your understanding of the 'gospel' isfatally flawed; your revered church leaders are, at best,hypocrites; your religious rules, regulations and rituals arerubbish; you're bewitched, cursed, fools and enslaved to evilspirits; why don't you just go and mutilate yourselves?" Paul wasvery angry!

Paul's letter to the churches in Galatia (modern eastern Turkey)was written to a mixed community of Jewish and Gentile (non-Jewish)Christians. The Jewish Christians, it seems, kept themselves apartfrom the Gentile Christians and regarded themselves as superior,wanting to impose their kind of Jewish Christianity on the rest.Being Jewish already, and living by Jewish law (Torah), theybelieved gave them a head start as Christians. They couldn't havebeen more wrong!

In today's passage, Paul is addressing these Jewish Christians,those 'under the law'. And he is telling them that God sent theirJewish messiah, Jesus, in order to give them a new status andidentity as God's adopted children, transformed by the Spirit andheirs of God's kingdom - an identity and status that, crucially,they shared equally with Gentile Christians. To emphasise hispoint, he tells them that their pride in their imagined religioussuperiority is a kind of slavery, from which Jesus has freed them.For Paul, all that mattered was that Jesus was the supremeauthority on earth, greater even than the Roman emperor, and thatJesus had been raised from the dead, making possible a new way ofbeing human. Religious regulations, rules and rituals no longermattered. And so all God's adopted and transformed children areequal before God.

To Ponder

  • "... because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of hisSon into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" If Paul was right,what might this mean in terms of actual experience?
  • If Paul was also right that religious regulations, rules andrituals no longer matter, what might he make of Christianitytoday?
  • The Torah-keeping Galatian Jewish Christians would have thoughtof themselves as sincere 'Bible-believers'. Yet Paul regarded theircommitment to Scripture as a kind of slavery. Should Christiansbelieve in a book, or a person? What might Paul say to'Bible-believing Christians' today?
Previous Page Sunday 07 September 2014
Next Page Tuesday 09 September 2014