Hi everyone, Rob here.
I’m reading Galatians in preparation for a sermon series and am struggling to get past the introduction. Here’s part of it:
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Galatians 1:3-5).
Paul here isn’t talking about a future rescue. He is telling us that because of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins we have experienced a rescue right now. How does that work? At the end of the book in chapter 6 he explains:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
Instead of removing us from the world, Jesus through his cross has allowed the world to be crucified to us and us to the world. This means that it has no power over us. We are free from its demands. By ‘the world’ Paul doesn’t mean creation. God called his creation good and he never changed his mind. ‘World’ means all that is of the world that does not belong to God. It is sin and all its consequences. It is all the lies and accusations spread by the evil one. It is powers and principalities and systems of evil that oppress and dehumanise. It is greed, violence, lust and all those vices that stand in direct and indirect opposition to all that God declared to be ‘good.’ To be crucified to all that stuff and have it crucified to me is indeed a rescue.
In the next verse Paul says that “what counts is the new creation.” We may be dead to the world but we’re alive in God’s new order. We’re not the walking dead but the truly alive ones who are alive to ultimate reality; the kingdom that was and is and is yet to come. But let’s face it, the world has its effect on us, does it not? The inane politics, the glossy advertisements, the noise, the artificial sweeteners, the casual injustices, the gossip, the loneliness, the superficiality and…you name it. It wears us down, chews us out and drives us crazy. We would live by faith if we could ever find the time to remember that is what we were meant to have!
But when we do remember…we remember that Christ has overcome the world; that nothing can separate us from Christ Jesus; that we are lavished with love and covered by grace; that we are forgiven and free; that the Father and the Son have made their home in us; that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world; that our eternity is secure and our hearts have been made new – brand new. We have been equipped by God to be dead to this world yet alive to God and his kingdom. Let’s remember that. Remember that when you take the bread and wine; when you pause to pray; when you’re stuck in traffic; when you laugh with friends; when a sunset takes your breath away. You are rescued, right now, this moment, from a world that you are not made for. Come alive because His death has set you free.
Grace and peace everyone.