Saturday, September 12, 2009

Galatians Journal: Chapter 3, verse 26

Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,

Paul has run through all of his theological “proofs” for refuting the Judiazers, and here starts to wrap them up before proceeding on to his next point. He uses this opportunity to transition. He has used the analogy of being “children” already – “children of Abraham” to be specific. He is about to use the metaphor of a “son,” and spend much of chapter 4 telling us we are the children and heirs of God, and not slaves to sin. The opening of verse 26 almost feels abrupt after the near-poetic language of the previous section. Indeed, my NIV Bible Study Notes separates out verse 26 as the start of a new section, with a new heading (“Sons of God,” – go figure!).

But Paul’s continued use of metaphor and analogy fits quite nicely. He has given us a picture of a young, immature boy in the last few verses; a boy who needs a guardian/babysitter, to take care of and protect him on his way to school, help him with his homework, and be his guide in the basics of life. This boy spoken of in verses 21-25, of course, is every one of us. Paul now connects with who this child really is – the real identity. This child is a son, or child, of God the Father himself.

Wow! And there’s still a bonus! If you connect all of the arguments Paul makes here in Chapter 3, it becomes clear that this is a son by adoption. Before Jesus,, the only way to be a “son” in God’s kingdom was to be one in the flesh, to literally be a descendant of Abraham. Through Jesus, we are all adopted into the family. In addition, we are all accepted by God as a mature adult – because of faith in Jesus, because of a direct, intimate connection with God through Jesus, we are no longer dependent on the pedagogue/baby sitter that the law served in our lives. By faith, each of us is adopted – justified, with full status as a mature adult and heir in God’s family, with all the attendant rights, privileges, and freedoms. In our lives, there were things we could never do as a child – drive, vote, drink etc. – that is, until we reached a certain age. Faith in Jesus is like the ultimate graduation. Even more so, its being born into the family, but with God treating us as an adult -- with all the love and respect that go with that status -- from the very start.

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