Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Galatians 4:28-31

Summary retelling of Galatians 4:28-31

Paul reinforces to the Galatians that they are like Isaac – children of a promise rather than children of a manmade plan.  However, Paul also reminds the Galatians that the people who are interested in manmade plans always persecute those who are made from a spiritual promise.  However, the people of the promise are not to accept this.  Instead we are to cast aside the manmade plans because they will not work out like God’s plans made according to His promises.  Therefore, we are to be people who depend on God’s promise rather than the understandings of mankind. 

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
This passage can be a little confusing at first because Paul is speaking allegorically here.  However, his point boils down to one simple word: faith.  Do we have more faith that God can do what He says or do we instead place our faith in our human ability to accomplish something else?  Sarah and Abraham struggled to see how God would give them a child at such an old age, but He did fulfill His promise on His own timing.

What areas of your life do you find it easy to trust God?  What areas do you find it easy to trust yourself and not trust God?

Second Thought:
Paul makes an interesting point about persecution in that the people who have a human understanding always persecute people who have a spiritual understanding.  This should make sense.  Since it is hard to live by faith, not everyone will choose to do it.  Those who do not choose to live by faith will want to prevent everyone else from living according to faith because then they don’t have to feel guilty about not having the desire to do it.  Persecution is often all about stopping the people around a person from being different.  The people who choose not to live by faith will want to stop those who do so that they don’t have to be concerned that they are doing something wrong.

Do you see this dynamic at work in humanity?  Where do you see this dynamic other than with respect to faith?  Knowing that people persecute others to “keep the bar set low,” how does this make you want to respond?

Third Thought:
Paul encourages the people to cast off human understandings.  We have to be careful to make an important distinction here.  While Paul tells us to cast off human understandings, he doesn’t necessarily tell us to cast aside those who do them.  After all, if we get rid of everyone who doesn’t have the perspective of faith, then how will we ever tell anyone about Jesus!  We need to find a way to live according to God’s promise of salvation but still be able to interact with people who do not live this way so that they can see how to live according to faith.

Do you think it would be easier to shun everyone in your life who doesn’t live according to a faithful perspective?  What is appealing about only interacting with people who are living according to faith?  How can we make sure that we do still interact with people who need to hear about Jesus Christ without adopting their ways?

Passage for Tomorrow: Galatians 5:1-6
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