The walls were under attack, siege ramps surged forward, military lines of defense had been infiltrated…and the inhabitants were clueless.
Such was the desperate case for Christians in the area of Galatia back in the first century. They had come to faith in Jesus and thought all was well. They couldn’t imagine that well-meaning believers in God were actually agents of the devil, promoters of God-given practices from the past which had become incompatible with New Covenant faith. It didn’t seem possible that Christians who had come to faith in Jesus could be so severely distracted as to render their relationship with God null-and-void.
You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace (Gal 5:4).
Into this battle for souls already dedicated to the Lord, a loud wake-up call shatters the lawn-chairs of religious complacency. To those Christian wolves who were reintroducing Jewish practices into the Church, the Apostle Paul pronounces a double curse to Hell (Gal 1:6-9).
This was not a training exercise; this was the real deal. Of course, the gates of Hell will never prevail, but that is not to imply that the Church won’t be heavily attacked or casualties amassed. Spiritual warfare is very real and the consequences for indifference can be eternal.
This was our late afternoon family read through Wineskins. At one point, a comparison is made in the letter between Hagar and Sarah in terms of the two dominant covenants in Scripture. I asked my son who Hagar was. I think I caught him mentally traveling through his active imagination; he paused briefly and then responded, “wasn’t he that wicked guy with Queen Esther?”
Hagar was the handmaiden of Sarah, wife of Abraham. With Abraham, she birthed Ishmael, but it was God’s will that Sarah later birth Isaac, the true son of promise. Although very real people of history, figuratively Hagar is said here to represent the Old Covenant. Scripture says about this that we also are to get rid of the slave woman and her son. Those who remain attached to the Old Covenant “will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.”
The trumpet blast echos through the religious halls of biblically-valid theology, Christians must resist the tendency to slip back into old covenantal patterns that no longer honor God. This certainly also applies to mixing into our practical beliefs irreverent aspects of our modern culture, but it is obsolete systems of biblical obedience that even to this day remain most deceptive to Christians.
God instead calls us to faith in Jesus by living in the new way of Holy Spirit dependence.
What are several examples you have discovered that demonstrate legal restraint through faithful submission to the Holy Spirit?
This question attempts to stimulate thought about how it is that we are set free from law while at the same time remaining under law. [hint: “law” references two distinctions].