Archive for June 12th, 2006

We’ve Graduated!

Monday, June 12th, 2006

Please read Galatians 4:1-7 (NRSV) (The Message) out loud if possible.

As you read, consider these questions: What might God be saying to me in this passage? What jumps out at me? At the end of the reading, try to summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Steve Adams):

Paul continues his logical appeal, illustrating that to be an heir according the promise (3:29), means that we are no longer under the law, but have graduated to a much higher level. As the King James Version states, “we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (3:25). For Christians to live solely under the law would be like Bill Gates spending next year in fourth grade doing multiplication tables! Sometimes it seems laws and rules are good for us, but God wants to give us much more!

The reading contains an analogy that is foreign to our modern ears, but which relates to a common custom of the time. The Scofield Reference Bible explains that among Greeks and Romans, “guardians,” also called pedagogues, were commonly in charge of educating and supervising young boys until they reached adulthood. (By the way, the Scofiield Bible is a quite interesting study Bible. I inherited mine, copyright 1917, from my grandparents.) Evidently these guardians were household employees in charge of taking care of the children, something like a nanny of today. When the heir was a minor, he was in many ways accountable to the guardian instead of his father. However, when adulthood ended the guardianship, the father-son relationship was more direct and intimate, since the “schoolmaster” was no longer in the picture. So, the guardian, or trustee, represents the law, which Paul is urging us to go far beyond. Even though the Scofield reference says the guardian custom involved boys, the principle equally applies to girls, for, as we read yesterday in 3:28, “there is neither male nor female,” but we are all one in Christ Jesus.

God has adopted us as his children, and therefore has placed the spirit of Christ is in our hearts, crying “Abba, Father.” Abba is the affectionate, intimate name for God. In some ways it’s similar to “Daddy” or “Momma.” It retains all the respect of the formal name, but adds the loving intimacy of a child who dearly loves his or her parents! Paul makes it obvious this kind of close relationship to God is superior to merely obeying rules and carrying out regulations.

So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. Yes, we have been made children, heirs of The Most High! Our inheritance is too vast, too wonderful for us to comprehend now. It may take eternity for us to grasp the full meaning of it.

Thought for the day: Since God has adopted us, and we have the Spirit in our hearts, we can be intimately close to our Creator!

Today, let’s join together in prayer for: the Office Volunteers Team, and the team leader, Shane Booker.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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