Summary: We are to faithfully obey Jesus instead of the law. And we achieve what God intended in the law. That is that people would love God and love others.
We have been talking about the purpose of Paul’s letter to the Galatia Christians. According to Paul, Christians are justified (made right with God), not by what they have down, but what God has done through Jesus. We cannot enter into heaven (therefore right relationship with God) by any legalistic work. We are saved by the obedience that comes from faith in God’s work.
We have also talking about engaging non-believers. If we are going to make a mark on our world as Christians, then we need to know our stuff. We had better prepare ourselves.
Graeme talked in his message about the traps of cults. Cults can lure unsuspecting people in. Cults suck you in, by making you feel like their beliefs and objectives are similar. Once they have your attention and obedience, they pull a switch-a-roo and tell you what they are really about. However, by then you are one of them.
This week we talk about something dear to my heart, adoption and in particular spiritual adoption.
READ: Galatians 3:23-4:7
1. No Need for Baby Sitters (Gal 3:23-25)
Once in a while Bonnie and I like to go on a date. It is not belong before we look at each and other, and one of us says, “Who can we get to baby sit?” When you are parent, baby sitters are great. Someone once said, “A baby-sitter is a teenager who comes in to act like an adult while the adults go out and act like teenagers.”
The reason parents call on a baby sitter, is because children (young children cannot look after themselves. It is the only means by which we can go out, without having to take the kids with us. In some ways, I look forward to the moment when they are older, and hopefully they can be trusted to stay home by themselves. This is the thrust of what Paul talks about in this passage. He says, “… we were held in custody (v. 23) … locked up … the law was put in charge of us … we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
In Paul’s day, it was common to have slaves (live-in help). The expression “was put in charge” translates a Greek word that refers to a personal slave-attendant (child-minder) like a baby sitter, who accompanied the family’s boy to keep him out of trouble. This child-minder exercised a certain amount of discipline of the child. When the child became a certain age, the child-minder was no-longer needed. The child was then considered to be an adult..
This is how Paul viewed the law. He terms the law (law of God – given to Moses and the Jewish people), a guardian, or child-minder. The law was a way of drawing the people’s attention to sin, and disobedience.
*** demonstrate love for God. ***
Keeping God’s law -- It was a way of bringing about discipline. And so Paul says, with Christ on the scene, this guardianship, in the law is no longer required. The age of obedience to the law came to an end with Jesus. No we faithfully obey Jesus instead of the law. And we achieve what God intended in the law. That is that people would love God and love others.
2. A New Heritage (Gal 3:26-29)
Paul then says in v. 26, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. To understand the phrase, “children of God we need to turn to Deuteronomy 14:1-2.
1 You are the children of the LORD your God. Do not cut yourselves or shave the front of your heads for the dead, 2 for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.
This phrase was used in the Jewish tradition as a means of recognizing that Israel was God’s chosen people. And with this designation, Abraham is considered the father of the Jewish people. In using this term, Paul is expanding the family to include gentile (or non-Jewish Christian converts.). By this, anyone who claims to be a Christian, claims Abraham as an ancestor. This was a privilege once reserved for the Jewish people alone. Paul now insists this privilege is for all people who claim faith in Jesus.
Paul continues saying, “… for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ (v. 27). That is a certainly a strange one.
Baptism … *** Joining the community ***
Clothed yourselves *** Baptized naked … put on clothes as a symbol of your new life ***
another conclusion – Paul may also be referring to the believer’s personal union with Christ … in that we share in his divine sonship and therefore take on his character – live as he lived. Paul hints to this as he lists some of the changes experiences within the Galatians community … vv. 28-29