If you’d like to join us in our journey reading all the way through the Bible this year, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll be glad to email back a copy of the reading plan we are using.
There have been those who at times carelessly pit a supposed – angry and vengeful God of the Old Testament, against the loving and forgiving God of the New Testament. Such ideas are the sad reality of not reading the Bible as a whole. And, of not paying attention to passages like the one before us in our reading for today from Galatians 1:1-5. Does the Bible really paint a picture of two opposing Gods? We’ll look at that today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m your host, Reid Ferguson.
2 Things cry our for our attention.
First: It is easy to miss both the unity of Scripture, and of God Himself if we aren’t careful readers. As Paul opens this letter, he greets his readers with grace and peace from God our Father as well as from the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no hint of division here. In fact, it is just the opposite. He notes that it is indeed Jesus Christ who gave Himself for our sins – but goes on to say that this was according to the will of our God and Father. The Godhead was, and always has been united in the plan of salvation.
Now it is true, we need deliverance from the wrath of God Himself. A wrath that is the unavoidable result of our sin and rebellion coming into conflict with His immutable holiness and justice. But it is the very same God who must judge sin in justice, who also formulates the means of our salvation – by sending His own Son to die in our place, that we might be reconciled to Him. It is a mystery, and a truly glorious one. But make no mistake, there is no disunity between the God of the Old Testament and that of the New. They are and always have been one and the same.
Second: Note that our salvation is directly aimed at delivering us from being the product of – or living under the influence of the wisdom, values and worldview of this evil age. We are saved so as to live distinctly – other than the way our contemporaries do. And, it is the will of God that we do so.
At the same time, we must beware the seduction of the cloister. Our separation from the world is not accomplished by a lack of physical proximity or personal interaction with people – it is in staying separate in our worldviews. It is internal. Yes, it will impact how we act externally, but it is a false and deceptive idea to imagine that somehow staying away from unbelievers is how this is accomplished. If physical separation were the key, The Son could never have been incarnate.
The art and skill of swimming cannot be learned by determining never to go in the water. It can only be accomplished by being IN the water. And like it or not, we are born into this world, not outside of it. Now Christians need to be sure we don’t drink in the world. That is drowning. But navigating its waters – is part of our call. May we learn to trust in Christ’s indwelling Spirit to keep us afloat, His Word to instruct us, and His accomplished work on Calvary rescue both ourselves and others in the process.
Consider that today Christian.
God bless. And God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.