Todays readings… 1 Chronicles 17, Ezekiel 29, Galations 3&4
“UNTIL CHRIST IS FORMED IN YOU”
How meaningful and spiritually challenging are the words of Paul we read today in the 3rd and 4th chapters of his letter to the Galatians. At least some of the converts to the gospel of Christ there were being persuaded by Jews to observe and keep the Law of Moses: but Paul says that “the Law was our guardian until Christ came” [3 v.24]. It was for the Jews – and for them, in particular, it pointed forward to the ultimate sacrifice for sins – one that would bring to an end the sacrifice of animals. Paul says, they “are no longer under a guardian.” [3 v.25] Instead, “in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” [v.26]
It is essential that faith is genuine. An essential foundation toward developing genuine faith today is our reading and meditation on the word of God, doing it in such a way that it comes ‘alive’ in our minds. Baptism is (was) the foundation for this, the major crossroads in the ‘highway’ of our lives; sadly so many now fail to see this.
We specially note the next point Paul makes! “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” [v.27] We must realize that the physical act of baptism has to be so heart felt that it prompts a new way of thinking – and this is reflected in our lives – day after day – this is because we have “receive(d) adoption as sons (or daughters)” [4 v.5] and we have become “an heir through God” [v.7]
God’s “Spirit”, Paul told the Romans, “bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs …” [8 v.16]. Paul told the Galatians that “formerly (they) did not know God …. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God …” [4 v.9], he asks, “how can” they “turn back” to what they were before” [v.9] How tragic to “turn back” – but some do – the ways of the world appeals too much to them – the reality of Christ no longer seems real to them.
He asks the Galatians, “What … has become of your blessedness?” [v.15] We can sense the imploring tone in his ‘voice’ as we read “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” [v.19] Let us make doubly sure that “Christ is formed in” us – and we are “known by God” for then “is Christ in you, the hope of glory” [Col. 1 v.27} and what a glorious hope that is!