Thursday, February 18, 2016

Word for the day by Christian Education Forum


Your Gifted Life, Your Divine Standing
Monish John
Chicago MTC, IL

14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

In the Epistle to Galatians, Apostle Paul is reminding us how paramount it is to rely on our faith in Jesus to be righteous, and inherit the salvation.
We may have seen children who in their sleep seem to be reaching out to find their parents to gain comfort and confidence. This instinct, illustrates the reliance on the guardian, to be secure. We can visualize faith as our reliance in God the Father, and as being guided by the Holy Spirit to be righteous in our public and private life.
This passage examines two ways to attain and sustain righteous life and to have the right standing before Lord. They are -
  1. Infallible faith in Jesus.
  2. Adherence to the law.
Let us understand, law is not a replacement for faith; instead law was the custodian for a timeline. If so, why was the law given?  Verse 19-20 explains it very well– “It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.” Who is being referred as the Seed here? Jesus Christ, the son of God. So, once the Seed has arrived and gifted His spirit, the law has lost its significance. The redemptive sacrifice of Lord Jesus has unshackled us from the chains of law. Does that mean, law does not need to be abided anymore? This question has to be answered by another question. If we are guided by the Holy Spirit in faith, how could we be breakers of law?  Galatians chapter 3 begins with a firm rebuke, “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh? (V3). Here flesh stands for our self-reliance. If a person attempts to gain righteous standing before God by abiding with the law (like the elite Church of Paul’s time), he or she has to be 100% in compliance to the law 100% of the time. One single failure, brings down the whole effort and removes the human from the right standing before God. Remember, covenant came first, then the law and finally Jesus Christ reinforced the divine covenant forever.
Have not we felt clueless and puzzled at times? Those are the stark reminders, “where man ends, God continues”. Like the little child gaining confidence and continuing peaceful sleep, our faith in the Lord is the energizing factor that gets us going in the path of righteousness to enables us to become descendants of Lord Jesus Christ. The Son was sent to this world because God the creator has genuine and compassionate interest on us. When we understand this divine interest, then verse 6 becomes quite simpler to live “So also Abraham “believed God”, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” (V6). Being the seeds of Abraham, we too can be justified by faith.
In the Midwest United States, there is a company called “Oberweis Dairy”.Their milk comes in glass bottles and they expect customers to return the empty glass bottles and get newly filled bottle; this implies continuous relationship and the company’s genuine interest in their bottles. When God the Father redeemed us through the blood of Jesus Christ from the chains of sin and the law, does not that builder of life and body have an absolute stake and interest? Of course, He does. This demands our faith in Him. “Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” (V11). In daily life and when at crossroads, faith in God will provide sensible thoughts, righteousness and respect for our life, life around us and for the creations of Lord.

PRAYER

Father God, help us to rely on You faithfully every moment, gain confidence and live our life in faith to be a blessing for ourselves and those around us. Amen.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
Does our faith and righteousness have the right standing before God?