This text is a part of the Why Research the E book? collection.
Maybe you’ve had a day like this. The alarm wakes you up, and shortly after, you groggily attain in your smartphone to examine in your schedule and see when you’ve got any emails. A flurry of exercise begins: showering and getting dressed, ensuring the children catch the bus, having a fast chunk to eat, after which, the workday. Some sixteen hours later as your head hits the pillow, you’re feeling a wave of disgrace because it happens to you that not as soon as in the whole day did you even take into consideration God, not to mention pray to him. For all intents and functions, you spent today as a sensible atheist.
In case you’ve seen The Wizard of Oz, you may keep in mind that one of many best threats Dorothy and her mates encounter as they search the Emerald Metropolis just isn’t some terrifying monster—it’s sleep. The magical poppy discipline alongside the best way makes them irresistibly drowsy and threatens to finish their journey. Equally in our day, we’re consistently going through the hazard of religious drowsiness. We reside in what has been known as a “secular age,” a time when ideas about what’s everlasting and transcendent are nearly fully faraway from our cultural understanding. The fixed stress is towards sensible atheism, towards falling asleep to the glory of our God.
Galatians is given to wake us up. As a result of each side of Galatians turns our consideration to God.
God’s Gospel . . .
The opening part of the letter revolves round one easy level: the Christian gospel is God’s gospel. This gospel just isn’t one thing that Paul got here up with by means of his personal artistic genius, and neither was this message one thing he acquired from different Christian leaders. The everlasting God made himself recognized to Paul. By way of the risen Christ, God is the one who informed Paul the gospel. It comes from him.
The implications of this for Paul had been clear. Since this gospel is from God, it’s a valuable reward, and it’s sacred. It provides us phrases of life and freedom, for to listen to the gospel is to listen to God himself. And the converse of that is additionally true: to disregard it or pervert it’s demise. When church leaders and lecturers alter the gospel message or increase it to make it extra related and palatable to their viewers, they’re pursuing their very own destruction. That was true in Paul’s day, and it’s true in our day as properly.
. . . Of God’s Salvation . . .
The center a part of Galatians focuses on the salvation that this gospel proclaims, and once more, the main focus is on God. These chapters declare truths that fueled the Reformers’ instructing. Paul vehemently rejects the assumption that obedience to the Regulation of Moses—or another type of human effort—in any manner contributes to creating us proper in God’s eyes. Christians are saved by listening to, with religion, the gospel of Christ. It’s a salvation that comes by means of the cross in achievement of God’s promise of grace and never out of obligation to what’s owed to us. It’s a salvation that’s skilled within the energy of the Spirit and never our personal energy. In each manner, our salvation is of God.
We frequently spend a lot of our vitality pursuing our personal salvation, although we possible don’t consider it on this manner. We work arduous to reveal to others (and maybe to God?) that we’re likeable, even admirable. We search, by means of incomes and thru cautious selections, to make sure that our lives are safe and comfy. We pursue happiness by the sweat of our forehead. And but the gospel teaches us that each one that we actually need and lengthy for comes from God, and it involves us as a present, to be acquired by religion. When understood rightly, our whole lives will be lived as a joyful response to all that has already been completed for us—by God.
. . . Into God-Given Freedom
Galatians does greater than describe how our salvation occurred. It additionally speaks of the end result of our salvation—the lifetime of freedom that salvation offers to believers. “For freedom Christ has set us free,” Paul reminds us. And this freedom can solely be understood in relationship to God.
In our day, freedom is about selections. Basically, “freedom” is the power to do no matter we would like, so long as we harm no person else. Tragically, this understanding of freedom is destroying us, for it deprives us of the very issues that make us most human and alive. Human wholeness solely is available in being trustworthy to our commitments and rules, in displaying sacrificial love towards others, and, above all, in worshiping the true God. And but every of those are seen as opposite to human freedom, for every of them locations constraints on us.
When understood rightly, our whole lives will be lived as a joyful response to all that has already been completed for us—by God.
Galatians provides us a special, and much better imaginative and prescient of freedom. Freedom is to be, in Christ, a on of the Most Excessive God. Quite than being a freedom from, it’s a freedom for. It’s the freedom to expertise the love of God that allows us to cry to him “Abba, Father,“ the liberty of confidence, figuring out that we’re an inheritor to all of God’s guarantees, the liberty within the energy of the Spirit to serve each other in love. This can be a freedom that connects us extra deeply to God in each manner, and on this, we discover life.
God’s gospel of God’s salvation into God-given freedom. That’s the heartbeat of Galatians.
Within the morning as I get up very slowly, my antidote to the drowsiness I really feel is my first, wonderful cup of espresso. Galatians is a religious cup of espresso, awakening us once more to the fact of God in our world and in our lives.