Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Galatians 3:24-29

24 Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.
25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.
26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Jesus Christ.
29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to the promise.

In today’s passage, the Mosaic Law is described as a “tutor;” the Law teaches us (1) that we are in absolute need of a Savior, and (2) about God’s character.  But once we have faith (verse 2) – once we have the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us – we no longer need a tutor to teach these things to us, because God Himself reveals His truths to us!  Under the Law, we are like college students (Pharisees, in this analogy) plodding through a decade of intense study to get a doctorate degree, only to find out that they still need “connections” (Christ) to get to the top of their prospective career.  Through Christ, however, our Father owns the company – He personally teaches us everything there is to know and leaves it to us, His heirs, even though we’re maybe not as officially educated (in the Law) as the other candidates.  He grants us this blessing because of our relationship with Him, not because of any personal qualifications.

I’ve always loved the phrase “sons of God,” because of its special significance.  In the Old Testament, the only figures this phrase (“benih elohim”) was ever applied to were Adam and the angels – beings who had no earthly father, whose literal Father was God.  Likewise, Jesus is called the Son of God because His literal Father is God.  This term is clearly not used loosely, so when we see it applied to ourselves in the New Testament, we can arrive at the conclusion that our state of being “born again” (John 3:3, 3:7, 1 Peter 1:3, 1:23) and our “adoption as sons” (Romans 8:15, 8:23, 9:4, Galatians 4:5, Ephesians 1:5) is not merely symbolic, but actually…quite serious, quite real.  Think about it – the Creator of the Universe actually sees you as His son or daughter!

I really like the Message translation of Galatians 3:27, which says, “Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start.  It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe – Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise.”  Think for a moment about how much your clothes say about you – they reveal political leanings, what you find humorous, what kinds of products, celebrities, or media you like, your philosophy, etc.  Grunge.  Business.  Gothic.  Preppy.  Just as our clothes are an outward revelation of what is on the inside, our “Christ clothes” – how we act and interact – should be both equally apparent, and equally representative.  If we mask – or even don’t wear – our “Christ clothes,” then we are essentially walking around nude, bearing our shameful nudity to the world!  But, just as “love covers a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8) so does the love of Christ cover our spiritual nakedness.  When we put on His righteousness and our spiritual armor (Ephesians 6), we are wearing the finest garments in all of creation.

Verse 28 is one of the better known verses in the Bible, because it is so uplifting to hear that in a world of status, God doesn’t care how rich we are, how much power we have, how we look, or any of that!  We are all the same to Him – wonderfully beloved children.  Matthew 9:33-35 states, “They [Jesus and His disciples] came to Capernaum; and when He was in the house, He began to question them, ‘What were you discussing on the way?’  But they kept silent, for on the way they had discussed with one another which of them was the greatest.  Sitting down, He called the twelve and said to them, ‘If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and a servant of all.’”  In God’s book, it’s not the high and lofty of the world who He honors, but the lowly, those who willingly humble themselves for Him.  Our status in His eyes is not the popular girl, or the rich guy, or the charismatic person, but simply – a child of God.

Today’s discussion starters are:
1-      How does being a child of God change our relationship with our Maker?
2-      How can we better put on our “Christ clothes?”

Next post, we’ll look at spiritual maturity as we begin Galatians chapter four.


Clare Kolenda said...

Because I am a child of God, my relationship is so much more personal with Him than if I just were to say that He was my Maker. Because of this, I feel like I can tell Him everything. I can tell Him what I'm happy about, cry, vent, and lay all my cares on His capable shoulders. As my Father, I know He wants to hear what I have to say, and I know He happily takes my sorrow and replaces it with joy. It is such comfort to me to know this.
I think that by believing God is your Father, it gives you this freedom to experience His love in such a different way than if He was just this lofty God who never bothered with our troubles. And I am so grateful that I know Him in this way! :)

Sapphire said...

Thanks for sharing, Clare. I wholeheartedly agree - we are all so blessed that He views us as His daughters, of all things!