Pondering Paul’s Epistles – Galatians 4/5
I love the first part of 4:9, “But now that you know God – or rather are known by God…”
Knowing God is a great thing. Paul even talks about how much he wants to know God/Christ in Philippians 3. His prayer for the Ephesians in chapter 1 is that they might know Him better. I love the J.I.Packer quote from his book Knowing God that says, “knowing God is a relationship calculated to thrill a person’s heart.”
All believers would do well to make knowing God the utmost priority in their lives. One of the ways that this might happen is if believers begin to understand what it means to be “known by God.”
As Paul talks about what it means to be adopted by the Father he emphasizes this point. Russell Moore speaks to this in his blog in a way that says it so much better than i can:
Imagine for a moment that you’re adopting a child. As you meet with the social worker in the last stage of the process, you’re told that this twelve-year old has been in and out of psychotherapy since he was three. He persists in burning things, and attempting repeatedly to skin kittens alive. He “acts out sexually,” the social worker says, although she doesn’t really fill you in on what that means. She continues with a little family history. This boy’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather all had histories of violence, ranging from spousal abuse to serial murder. Each of them ended life the same way, dead by suicide–each found hanging from a rope of blankets in his respective prison cell.
Think for a minute. Would you want this child? If you did adopt him, wouldn’t you watch nervously as he played with your other children? Would you watch him nervously as he looks at the butcher knife on the kitchen table? Would you leave the room as he watched a movie on television with your daughter, with the lights out?
Well he’s you. And he’s me.
That’s what the gospel is telling us.
Think about it – even though we are known by the Father to be a wicked reprobate, He still chooses us. He still adopts us. He still wants us to be His child. Perhaps we don’t understand just how wicked we really were apart from Christ. Perhaps we need to understand that the gospel does not tell us that we were good people whom God can make better, but that we were wicked, that we were dead in our sin, that we needed to be made alive.
When we understand that we are known by God, it should make us want to know God.
Here are a few questions to help get you thinking as you ponder Galatians 5 this week:
v. 4 – What does Paul mean here when he says that “You have fallen away from grace.”
v. 5 – Do you know what is meant theologically by the phrase “already, not yet”? How does this verse relate?
v.11 – What does Paul mean by “the offense of the cross”?
v.13 – How might believers use their freedom in Christ to indulge the sinful nature?
v.22 – This verse talks about the fruit of the Spirit. Why is it not the “fruits” of the Spirit?