Galatians 3:25-29 KJV
25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
In my last post we talked about who the schoolmaster was. The schoolmaster is one who teaches the young boys until they come of age. Once they come of age they become productive members of society – hopefully. And the same thing is true in our faith. Our faith makes us children of God because of our belief in Christ Jesus.
It is so important that we understand the Old Testament. I know many Christians who just spend their time in the New Testament. They enjoy reading the stories of Jesus, the writings of Paul and the amazing books of Acts and Revelations. But without a good knowledge of the Old Testament it is next to impossible to really understand the depth of what Christ did on the cross. Hebrews gives us a hint when it talks about Christ becoming our high priest and our sacrifice. But if you do not understand the role of the high priest or the sacrifices, Hebrews carries little meaning for you.
I have heard it said once that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed. Studying the books of the law (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) give us insight into how much God loves us. These books spell out the beginnings of the nation of Israel and how God was with them from the beginning. The New Testament teaches us that we are spiritual Israel – that we are the seed of Abraham. Coupling that fact with these five books will make us realize what kind of relationship God wants to have with us.
They show us that He wants to protect us and will guide and direct us through anything. They teach us that He blesses people that follow His law and the struggles we may face along the way. These books of the law are full of the mercy of God.
Without an understanding of mercy, it is hard for understand Christs grace. In Exodus 33:19, God says He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. He decides, not us. In the New Testament, the grace of God is available to all. We decide if we are going to accept it or not. Each of us has that decision to make, It is no longer just the natural seed of Abraham that receives mercy and grace. It is all people everywhere, the spiritual seed of faith. Christ’s grace covers us just like God’s mercy does to Israel in the Old Testament.
Those books are also used to show God’s judgement. The truth of God’s judgement is one that is largely not preached in our churches today. The pulpits are full of those who say it is all grace. Grace will free you (which it will) and keep you (which it will). But little is said about what happens if we neglect that grace. Little is said about the consequences of sin even after we have accepted that grace. We see in these books of the law what the result is if we disobey the laws of God (See Deut 28). God is a just judge. We also see what happens if we change the laws of God to fit our lifestyle. This is happening in the church regularly. They change the law instead of enacting the law. We are drawn to churches that will preach a message that soothes our ears (2 time 4:3). Preaching has lost the power of God (2 Tim 3:4-5).
Can you imagine if the Old Testament priests had decided they could do the law their way instead of the way God told him to? Nabad and Abihu offered “strange fire” before the Lord, and the fire jumped out and burned them to death. Aaron fashioned a golden calf when Moses was up on the mountain for many days. When Moses returned, God said He wanted to destroy the whole nation except Moses. But Moses interceded and God sent a plague instead, killing thousands. When Korah rebelled, an earthquake opened up the ground and swallowed him and all who followed him. God is a God of judgement. We cannot change His law to suit our desires.
Then there are the history books, which span from Joshua through Job. These history books tell us the rich history Israel. They show us that God will always pull us out of difficult situations. He loved his people then and He loves his people now. There are so many wonderful stories in these books of God’s mercy that we really need to take time to read them. No matter what kind of situation Israel got itself into, God would get them out. Even when they went into captivity, God turned the hearts of the kings in those days so that the Israelites could come back to Jerusalem. Some amazing stories that we all need to read over and over again. As spiritual Israel, we can apply the truths of these stories to our own lives.
The Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes are full of wisdom. It’s hard to read the Psalms and stay defeated. They will pick you up higher than you can possibly imagine. Proverbs provide us wisdom for family life, business, marriage and so many other things. We really miss out if we don’t take them in. The prophetic books show us how to stand up for Jesus and stand up for God. They teach us to not be afraid of what the world might think. They teach us to wait on God and do what He says. There are some amazing stories in these books as well as – visions and prophecies that apply to our lives today.
All of these things are a schoolmaster to us so that we can have deeper faith in God. They show us the way to Jesus throughout the Old Testament. Some people call it a scarlet thread that runs through the whole Bible. I’m not going to take time to share what that Scarlet thread. Jesus was there from the beginning and His love for us is very evident throughout scripture.
Paul then mentions there’s no Greek, Bond, free, male, female in God’s sight. There is also no Catholic, Methodist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, Evangelical or Baptist. We are all one in Christ Jesus. I have talked about this previously. We always have to remember that the church is made up of those who confess Jesus Christ is Lord. They can be any denomination. They can be Muslim or Hindi or Buddhist, although they have to change from their religious practices to Christian ways. They can be drunks, prostitutes, steeped in sexual sin, bankers, lawyers, janitors or garbage men. There is nobody that is exempt from God’s Kingdom.
Now I want to hit on a different subject. When I read about God our Father, I cannot help but think about the lack of fathers in the household. Children do not have a father’s council, his wisdom, his teaching or his love within the home. They set out looking for it. They will look for it in the alley where the gangs are. They will look for it from their friends who could possibly steer them in the wrong direction. They will look for it in video games. They will look for it wherever they can find it because children need love. And they need a man’s love. I’m not talking about anything sexual here. I’m talking about agape love – the kind of love that loves without expecting anything in return.
I’m convinced that this is the number one problem in our country. The lack of fathers in the household has affected a whole generation. They feel like they are not wanted. They become unaccountable to anybody but themselves. The Census Bureau reports that 23% of children are living with a single mother. That’s an astonishing number to me. It has more than doubled in the last 20 years. And I am sure that we will see more problems on the horizon. Almost 60% or prisoners in our hails came from fatherless homes according to a Justice Department Report . What exactly has happened to men that they can’t make a marriage work?
We need to work hard to strengthen our families because I believe the family is essential to our future. I come from one of those broken homes. My mom did an amazing job raising the three of us in the late 5o’s and early 60’s. My dad left when I was five and I had a lot of bitterness and resentment towards him for decades. I was raised in church but went the opposite direction during my late teens and early twenties. During this time, I was completely unaccountable and my life showed it. I came close to a serious heroin addiction and was a drunkard for years. These were bad decisions that I made. Don’t get me wrong – my Mom was amazing. I certainly don’t know if my life would have been much different if my Dad had stayed around.
Growing up without a Dad was hard for me, and I was thrilled to have my heavenly Father there for me. I came to know the Lord at 24, but still had that resentment for my Dad. My wife’s father also filled that role for a time. He was a wonderful man, and I needed a father figure even when older. I finally made amends with my dad and we had some great times together his last 10 years. I tried to visit him every year and we spent some quality time together I learn to love him very much.
Okay enough with that Segway. We’re down to the last verse. The Old Testament is given to us to show us that our heavenly Father loves us with a love that we can’t possibly imagine. When Jesus comes along and starts calling God “Father”, it makes things incredibly different then the way the Old Testament people perceived of God. The promise becomes clearer. Faith in Jesus Christ makes us the children of God. And as children of God we become heirs to His promise. Not just the promise to Abraham, but all the promises. God’s will is His word. When Jesus died, God died – Jesus was God – He and His Father are one (John 10:30). When a person dies, His will goes into force! We are the heirs, so His will is pronounced on us. We are the benefactors of all the mercy discussed in the Old Testament.
An old song says:
I’m so glad I’m a part of the family of God
I’ve been washed in the fountain cleansed by his blood
Joint heirs with Jesus as we travel this sod
‘m so glad I’m a part of the family of God.
We are heirs to the promise that was given to Abraham that our seed will be blessed. Heirs to the promise of salvation, healing, prosperity, deliverance, Heirs to every promise in the book, as another old chorus says:
Every promise in the book is mine
Every chapter, every verse, every line
All the blessings of His love divine
Every promise in the book is mine
We can take that blessing to the bank!