Galatians Study Ends Today – Ephesians Study Begins Tomorrow

The boundary markers of circumcision, Sabbath-keeping, food laws, and the general application of Jewish law are prominent in Galatians.

From the beginning, the emphasis in Galatians is that Jesus “gave himself for our sins to set us free from the present evil age” (Galatians 1.4).

Our relationship with Jesus, not the observance of boundary markers, is what matters most in determining human righteousness, that is what constitutes a right relationship with God.

Paul ends his letter on a similar note.

Galatians 6.14-16May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.

For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything, but a new creation is everything!

As for those who will follow this rule — peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Echoes of Galatians 2.19-20

Verse 14 repeats the emphasis of Galatians 2.19-20. The reason why I have written extensively about these verses is that they are so crucial to the life of a follower of Jesus.

By the grace of God, we have died (crucified) to the world’s system.

Even though we have died, we are alive as a new creation (verse 15) by virtue of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

As we live by faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit – that is, those who “follow this rule” (verse 16) – we experience the life God has intended for us.

“Peace” involves a new relationship with God. It also describes the well-being and wholeness that God desires his children to have.

All that has been accomplished through God’s grace, Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, and the gift of the Holy Spirit is the gift of the Trinity for humans that results in a life of peace, well-being, and wholeness.

Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10.10b). Galatians spell out in detail what is involved in our apprehending that gift.

Making it Practical

Like multitudes of people around the world, I was appalled by yesterday’s intentional bombing of a shopping mall in Ukraine by Russia.

I was also brokenhearted by the deaths of 50 immigrants who died a horrible death in the back of a tractor-trailer rig in Texas.

How can we bring these horrific events to God in prayer? The general theme of Galatians teaches us how to pray.

(1) At the beginning of our prayer, we confess to God that we have been “crucified with Christ.”

(2) We are alive with Christ through his resurrection and the work of the Spirit.

(3) we ask the Holy Spirit to pray through us on behalf of the world’s suffering people.

Romans 8 tells us this about how the Spirit prays through us.

Romans 8.26-27Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words.

And God, who searches hearts, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We trust the Spirit to pray for others through us. He may even “groan” through us.

I have had a few occasions when the Spirit took me to a place of weeping and groaning about situations in the world. As I prayed for Ukraine and immigrants last night, I was near the point of groaning.

We don’t know the impact of these prayers, but we trust that God is working through us.

I hope you will experiment with this kind of prayer. I believe God wants to work through you to his glory and the world’s good.

YouTube Video

Rudy Ross and I have produced a video on this passage. It can be seen on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.

Please email your prayer request to bsprad49@gmail.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.

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