Daily Reading: 6-17-16
Galatians 3:15-22 New Living Translation (NLT)
Some times it is difficult to persuade people to look beyond their own perspective on a topic and/or experience just in case there is more to be known beyond a slight turn of the will. This can be true in our natural understanding or knowledge of the material world and in our spiritual understanding or knowledge of faith. The point is not necessarily that what is presently known or understood is a bad thing or without purpose; in fact the present knowledge and understanding can be quite beneficial. The point is there may be something ahead that actually builds upon that present perspective; a point of revelation to be encountered if we are willing to be taught. Such is the case with the Apostle Paul and his argument with the Galatians that we will read today. What is the topic of this dialogue? The “What” is the Law of Moses or specifically the Torah.
History: The Jewish leaders managed to make hundreds of rules and rituals (Torah) out of God’s Ten Commandments—moral and ethical standard that is consistent with His Love. In fact, those rules and rituals (Torah) governed almost every aspect of Jewish life. It was slavery and self-defeating, because no human could fulfill the Torah Law human’s actually created. lol… In the Gospels, Jesus confronted this reality all the time, because He revealed to the religious leaders of his time that they had actually broken God’s commands, found “loopholes” and convinced themselves they were obeying the Law while at the same time living self-centered, unrighteous, and greedy lives before the Father (Matthew 23:23-28). Humanity apart from authentic Love is a manipulating mess that denies the authority of God. Jesus, the Promise, came as the “descendant” of Abraham to bring forgiveness for humanity’s sinful or selfishly created “loopholes,” as well as the ability to live by the Spirit into newness of life. Jesus connects us with a new beginning in the Love of God. Let’s see how Paul explains freedom from the Law…
Galatians 3:15-22 The Law and God’s Promise
15 Dear brothers and sisters, here’s an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or amend an irrevocable agreement, so it is in this case. 16 God gave the promises to Abraham and his child. And notice that the Scripture doesn’t say “to his children,” as if it meant many descendants. Rather, it says “to his child”—and that, of course, means Christ. 17 This is what I am trying to say: The agreement God made with Abraham could not be canceled 430 years later when God gave the law to Moses. God would be breaking his promise. 18 For if the inheritance could be received by keeping the law, then it would not be the result of accepting God’s promise. But God graciously gave it to Abraham as a promise.
19 Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the child who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people. 20 Now a mediator is helpful if more than one party must reach an agreement. But God, who is one, did not use a mediator when he gave his promise to Abraham.
21 Is there a conflict, then, between God’s law and God’s promises? Absolutely not! If the law could give us new life, we could be made right with God by obeying it. 22 But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ.
Jesus (Love incarnate and One with the Father) clearly taught that the moral and ethical standards in Scripture would endure until the end of time—this was the true intent of the Law God gave Moses. Those moral and ethical standards revealed (like a mirror) humanity’s propensity toward sin and need for salvation; every human being can find himself or herself on the wrong side of God’s standard of Love. How do we know Jesus stood for this moral and ethical law? He modeled holy Love—when Jesus encountered people He taught them ethical and moral principles (e.g. Zacchaeus—stop stealing and embrace honesty as God intended, Paul—stop killing people and start saving them as God intended, Woman caught in adultery—stop making your sexual desires your god and start being faithful as God intended). Jesus always forgives; yet, He desires that we would stop destroying ourselves. Sin against God’s moral and ethical standard damages human beings and it breaks His heart. That is why God sent His Son, the Savior, as well as the Holy Spirit—that we would turn like so many in Scripture and embrace the Love of God intended for us to live out from the beginning.
Prayer: Father, You are always trying to get new revelations of Your love to me and how it should be applied to my personal life. Help me to continue to recognize my need and your power to lift me from selfish loophole living. In Jesus’ name. Amen.