Friday, February 12, 2010

Galatians 4 Sons vs Slaves

This chapter can be divided into 3 main parts.

Sons vs Slaves Gal 4:1-11
We got adopted as sons of God through Jesus Christ who was born under Law at the right time. In the past, we did not know God and were enslaved by false gods and adopted practices such as observing the seasons and times to do certain things. A typical Chinese in the past will consult the "Calendar" to see what could and could not be done on a particular day.

How can we be sure that we are true sons of God? If we can call God, our Father, we have His Spirit and we know we are saved for sure Gal 4:8.

We then don't go back to the past of slavery and should live in the freedom and rights of sons. We note however the exhortation given by Paul in 1Co 6:12  "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be enslaved by anything and 1Co 10:23  "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. We don't let our freedom be a stumbling block for the baby in faith yet we should not live our lives by the 'baby' standards. We should help the baby to grow-up as well.

Love Needs Truth Gal 4:12-20
Paul have to bear the risk of becoming the Galatians enemy by telling the truth because of his love for them. Love is not about covering up and letting the person we love continue their lives in illusions and suffering for it. However, telling the truth may incur wrath from the very friend you love. It needs to be done with much wisdom and caring love. What can we learn from Paul in this book of Galatians about correcting the error of the Galatians? We should bear this mind as we study this book and hopefully we can summarize the lessons at the conclusion of this study. So far we learned we need to love them first as Paul did, then show them the truth - define our identity, support it with evidences, get agreement which those in authority(get the consultants in the typical company) and use illustrations (as Son vs Slaves in the next paragraph; as Nathan did with David 2Sa 12:1-7.)

The Two Covenants illustrated in Hagar and Sarah Gal 4:21-30
The Covenant of Law of Performance is illustrated by Hagar the slave woman - we have to perform in order to be accepted. The Covenant of Grace of Promise of God is seen in Sarah. It is received by willing acceptance and not through performance. We are freed from performance to get accepted and we are energized to perform to show God's glory. We are freed from the bondage of sin-nature which performance by the law could not remove. The new nature of God empowers us to excel in life. From performance for acceptance to performance from acceptance. We are saved for good work and not work to be saved.

Questions for Reflection
  1. What is the difference between Heir and Slave?
  2. What is the difference between the two covenants?
  3. What are the responsibilities of being a true friend?
Next Galatians 5 Freedom & Fruit

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