Wednesday, June 15, 2016

God's Promises: Galatians 3:15-22 NLT

Paul is preaching even more freedom in Jesus Christ today as we take a look at Galatians 3:15-22 today. Let's take a look at a few verses:

"Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say 'to his children,' as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says 'to his child'—and that, of course, means Christ. This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise." (Galatians 3:15-18)

In these verses, Paul is analyzing words. I love words. They are one of my favorite things, so the fact that Paul is taking the time to do this is pretty cool to me. Basically in these verses, he is talking about some misunderstood wording in the old testament. Apparently, much of the Jewish world believed that God made his promise of blessing to Abraham and all of his children (some texts read "seed" here) when in reality it only says "Abraham and his child." Paul is pointing to that child and saying it is actually God's one and only son, Jesus. That means it is not the people of Israel. He is saying, "hey, you don't have to be a member of the Jewish community for God to love you. He loves you anyway, just where you are."

This is good news for all of us. No matter who we are- white, black, brown, red, yellow, (aw, it's Jesus Loves Me!) gay, straight, happy, sad, fun, boring, perfectionist, tattoo-covered, pizza loving, pizza hating (because, for real, the important things here ;) ), mom, dad, single, married, kid, adult, bike rider, motorcycle lover or hater, Christian, Muslim, or Jew- God loves us. Not only that, he wants a relationship with us so much that he sent his SON to DIE for US.

I don't know anyone on Earth who would do that. In fact, Paul wrote these words in Romans 5:7- "Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good." So even hundreds of years ago, when everything was very different than it is now, it wasn't a common thing to be willing to die for someone else.

Let's get back into Galatians 3 with verse 19-20:

"Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham."

Remember that when Paul is speaking of "the law" that he is referring only to Mosaic Law. He is not talking about laws of the country like following the rules and regulations laid out by our government. This is not permission to disobey and break laws in your country of residence. So get that out of your head now. ;)

In reading about the Israelite people throughout the Old Testament, we get to see a ton of great, inspiring stories but we also see so many screw ups. David, the man after God's own heart, was an adulterer and had a man killed to cover up the fact that he got the guy's wife pregnant. Tamar seduced her father-in-law disguised as a prostitute in order to get pregnant by him after his first two sons died without giving her any children (there is SO MUCH MORE to that story but I don't want to make this post about that so look at Genesis 38 if you want the full story). Abraham lied- more than once. His wife, Sarah? She laughed at God's promise to give her a child in her old age (I might have too, honestly. Yikes).

They say that "hindsight is twenty-twenty." It's easy for us to look back at all that happened over the course of hundreds of years with the Israelite people and see that keeping the law, following the rules wasn't enough to bridge the gap between sinful people and a perfect God. That's why Paul says this at the end of this section of his letter to the Galatians:

"Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ." (Galatians 3:21-22)

So many people are under the impression that being a Christian means a boring, rule following life. It's not true. We are free because of our choice to love God, to accept the promise he's made through his son Jesus Christ! And I wouldn't want it any other way. Today, I am so thankful to God for all he has done for me. I know, thanks to the Israelite people's stories in the Old Testament, that I can't do anything on my own to be made right with God. I need Jesus and I can't imagine life without him.

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