Friday, February 3, 2017

An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday February 5, 2017

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(GOD’s children are heirs through faith, not through pedigree)
(Galatians 3:24-4:7)

   Throughout the Apostle Paul’s ministry he often returned, again and again, to the same point; The solutions to the enigmas of human life has always been, in having and maintaining an experiential relationship of friendship with GOD, and, in having continued faith in GOD.
    GOD’s covenant with Abraham was made possible because of his faith in GOD and not because of his obedience to the law. This is true simply because the Law of Moses, at that time, did not yet exist. And even after Israel was introduced to the Law by GOD’s servant, Moses, it served only as a guardian and teacher, guiding us until JESUS CHRIST came. And now that HE has come, our salvation lies solely on our faith in HIM.
    Now, as believers, we no longer need the Law as our guardian, because now, the HOLY SPIRIT guides those who believe in CHRIST JESUS (Vs. 24-25). We are children of GOD, only through our faith in CHRIST. Symbolically, when we become one with CHRIST in baptism, we are made like HIM, and are expected to emulate HIM through our behavior and actions, at all times. And so, whether we are Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, or, male or female becomes totally irrelevant.
    When we belong to CHRIST, we become the true children of Abraham, and we also become the heirs to all of the promises that GOD gave to him (Vs. 26-29). In Galatians chapter 4, verses 1-7, Paul continues to expound on the point that we are children of GOD only through our faith in CHRIST.
    In first century Israel, the process of growing up was far more definite than it has ever been in American life in this, or any other century. Back then, on the twelfth birthday of a Jewish male, his father would take him into the synagogue, and on that day, the boy would become a “Son of the Law”, after certain religious oaths and rituals were performed. He would then, quite literally, become responsible for his own actions before GOD. There was then established, a clear boundary line between the boy that was, and the man that now is. Literally overnight, the boy became a man.
    When the male was under the age of twelve, he was a mere child in the eyes of the Jewish Law, and therefore, under the rule, or dominion, of the laws of his parents. But when he became of age, he was freed from under their rule, and became fully responsible for making his own decisions, and, could also claim his inheritance from them.
    That’s how it was with us before CHRIST came. We were under the spiritual rule of this world, literally slaves to sin. But when GOD sent CHRIST to be born of woman into a world of sin, and subject HIMSELF to the Law as a 100% human being, HE also represented for us, the one and only chance we had to be freed from under the dominion of sin, death, and the Law.
    As a 100% human being, JESUS perfectly obeyed the laws of GOD, simply because HE shared GOD’s “nature”, just as all human beings do, even before the HOLY SPIRIT ever descended upon HIM at the River Jordan, following HIS baptism by HIS cousin, John the Baptist. At that point, HE had already lived a perfect life for 30 years, and HE obeyed HIS FATHER GOD completely, simply because it was HIS natural desire to do so. In other words, JESUS proved, quite literally with HIS own life, that we, as human beings, don’t obey GOD simply because we don’t desire to do so, and not, because we can’t help it!
    JESUS, through HIS vicarious sacrifice, made it possible for all mankind (Jews and Gentiles), to be adopted into the family of GOD (if they choose to), as HIS very OWN children. And thus, believers can voluntarily choose to become heirs to everything that CHRIST HIMSELF has, just as well as they can choose not to accept HIS inheritance, and to instead, opt to continue to meander along the road to destruction.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander

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