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Showing posts with the label Galatians

This Evil Age

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The death of Jesus inaugurated the messianic age with consequent changes in the status of God’s people . In his epistle to the Assembly in Galatia, Paul declares that his apostleship originated from the same God who raised Jesus from the dead, the Messiah of Israel who gave his life to “ deliver us from this evil age .” His declaration anticipates his proposition in the body of the Letter that the arrival of Jesus changed the status of the Law for the people of God, the “ children of Abraham .”

The Fullness of Time

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In his  Letter to the Galatians , Paul argues that adopting the rite of circumcision would constitute regression to something rudimentary, a reversion to an earlier stage in the redemptive history of God’s people. If Gentiles adopted a  Torah -compliant lifestyle, they would return to bondage and once more experience the social divisions inherent in the Law. They would forsake the great and many benefits they had acquired through the “ faith of Jesus .”

Beggarly Rudiments

In his  Letter to the Galatians , Paul chides believers for their desire “ to return to bondage under the weak and beggarly rudiments ” of the world, including calendrical observations and circumcision. Since they are no longer “minors” but full heirs who live in the  AGE OF FULFILLMENT  and have the Gift of the Spirit, resorting to outmoded rituals is tantamount to returning to a state of slavery.

A Different Gospel

Paul’s Letter to the Galatians begins with a stern warning. What some believers were contemplating amounted to replacing the true Gospel with a false one. To turn from the “ faith of Jesus Christ ” to circumcision and other “ works of the law ” as the basis for justification meant abandoning the Gospel preached by Paul and the other Apostles. And there is a lesson here for all followers of Jesus, a warning of the dangers posed by any deviation from the apostolic tradition.

Justified From Faith

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What identifies God’s people and determines membership in His covenant community is Jesus, especially the Messiah as revealed on the cross,  and nothing else!  This does  NOT  mean that the Law given at Sinai served no purpose, but it is not the basis for determining who is and who is not acquitted of sin by God. Right standing before Him is obtained “ through the faith OF Jesus Christ ,” and not “ from the works of the Law .”