Thursday, July 16, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 1, verse 4 & 5

Galatians 1:4 who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, (5) to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Two verses covered today.

Galatians 1:4: Here we have ostensibly more of the standard “Pauline” greeting format. Again, we need to look beyond just a "greeting" -- there's more than meets the eye! In verse 1, Paul had emphasized Jesus rising from the dead. Here he focuses on the redemptive power of the sacrificial death of Christ. Again, this is really pretty basic, yet it emphasizes how central Jesus was in Paul’s life, and how central a living relationship with Christ is to each of us. But if we combine verses 4 and 5, and focus on the verbs here, the “action words," we see an interesting pattern – “gave” “rescue” “according to the will” – Here is the key to true freedom, as demonstrated in the life of Jesus.

First, Jesus “gave.” He did this in order to accomplish what he was called to do; Jesus willingly and selflessly gave His life, holding back nothing. There wasn’t a trace of selfishness in Him. He gave His very life, making the sacrifice total – 100%. I see a parallel to my own life, or at least a parallel in what I lack; a need to give, and to give my all, to give selflessly. I usually “give” or sacrifice myself in order to get something in return. I give so I can get. Or, I sometimes don’t give that 100%. I hold back some for myself.

“to rescue us” This is the fruit of total sacrifice in God – redemption and restoration. Jesus gave, though his motivation was not for His own glory (though he deserved it, as we see in verse 5) but He gave for US!!! Our freedom comes solely from His sacrifice. There is a connection to our lives as well – if we give as we are called to give, in Christ, the fruit should be and will be freedom in others, just as much if not more than in myself.

“according to the will of our God and Father” Here is the key – the lynchpin. “WILL!!!” Jesus was totally submitted to His Father. He was obedient. He was responsive. Again, its all part of a RELATIONSHIP. Jesus knew what the Father wanted, because He was in a living relationship with the Father. As such, he accomplished His goal, and rescued us!

So the essence of all of this is RELATIONSHIP. (By the time we get to the end of Galatians 6, I'll repeat this like a broken record). From intimacy and familiarity grows knowledge – we can know and understand what God’s “will” really is! Because of the trust factor built into that relationship, we can obey, and make the necessary sacrifice. We find the grace we need to “give,” with the result being that others have the freedom to cultivate their own relationship with God, and with other people. Jesus works in us to continue to accomplish the purpose of verse 4, until the time of His return.

Verse 5: The result of all of this for Jesus is that He deserves all the credit – all the glory! The result for us as we are used by God to give of ourselves and see the rescue of others is also to give God – Jesus – the glory, because we know we can’t accomplish this in and of ourselves. It is the Holy Spirit in us. And as we continue to grow, continue to obey and give, more glory goes to God. Even though we are participants, it is Jesus and His redemptive work that is the source. We are simply deepening the RELATIONSHIP!

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