Monday, December 10, 2012

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Power of the Gospel
Galatians 4: 12-20
So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are His child God has made you also an heir.  (Gal 4:7)

 The most striking feature of this passage is its personal pathos. After a lengthy rational argumentation, Paul plays the card of an appeal to emotion. In addition to all the reasons he has given the Galatians for rejecting circumcision, Paul now makes a heartfelt appeal to personal loyalty. If they have any decency, Paul implies – if they are not fickle friends – they will stand with Paul in this controversy. He makes such an emotional appeal because he did believe that the Gospel created deep personal relationship between believers.

Gospel that restores freedom: Paul preached the gospel to the Galatians and they found a new freedom in the blood of Christ Jesus.  However, their purity of faith is soon tainted by the influence of Judaism. These verses show a serious break down in the relationship between Paul and the believers in Galatia. Break down is experienced only after a buildup. After the Galatian Church was established the believers were on fire for the gospel. They received the gospel and experienced the freedom it brought them. Freedom from cumbersome ritualistic practices and observances which sapped away their energy and worship became a mundane chore.

Gospel that restores broken relation: Paul being fully aware of the joy they Galatians experienced in their first love is now grieved to see them being influenced by Judaizers. Judaizers were flattering and convincing; they sought to subject the gentile Galatian Christians through the shackles of Judaism, which focused on religious rituals (Gal 4: 10, 11). These rituals diluted the purity of their faith. Paul severely reprimands the Galatians here and cautions them not to depart form the truth. Galatians take this correction personally and drift away from Paul. Paul is grieved by this and loves the Galatians enough and so tries to restore the severed relationship. In (v11) he affectionately calls them ‘brothers’ and in (v19) he goes further to call them "my children". In this reference Paul positions himself as a parent who is willing to endure much pain in order to see the child grow and reach full maturity. Paul beseeches to the Galatians to turn back to their first love that set them free.

Introspection:

·         Does structure consume me in such away that my Savior has no place in my life?

·         Do patterns of worship take precedence over the person I desire to worship?

·         Should my worship set me free or do I get shackled with to do’s and don’ts of worship styles?

Prayer: Father God may the fire of Christ’s love never die off from my heart and may I never be shackled with observances and rituals. Amen.