I was thinking today about what I might write in my blog. My thoughts went to the book of Galatians, perhaps because I am teaching on the book of Acts in my Sunday school class at this time. Presently, we are in Acts 13-14 where Paul was on his first missionary journey, when he and Barnabas raised up gentile churches in Galatia. It wasn’t very long afterward that men sought to undo Paul’s work there which prompted his writing the epistle to the Galatians.
Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:1-5 KJVR)
I have been dwelling upon verse-4 “Who (Jesus) gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world (age), according to the will of God and our Father.”
When we give ourselves to anyone, we have given all we are and all we have. We can do no more than to give ourselves. Jesus **gave** himself. Think about it for a moment, and let it sink into your heart. He gave himself—could he give more than that? What does that mean? Christians believe Jesus is God in human flesh, and Jesus gave all that he was—a gift. We didn’t have to earn what he did. In fact, the next phrase is “for our sins!” Sin is defined in several ways. Sin means ‘not having a share in’ something. If you don’t win the race, you don’t have a share in the prize, do you? It’s okay—Jesus is the Prize given to each of us. Sin means ‘to miss the mark’, but it’s okay, because Jesus has hit the mark for us. Sin means to err or be mistaken, but it’s okay, because Jesus is our Truth. Sin means ‘to wander from the path’ but it’s okay, because Jesus is our Way. Sin means to violate God’s law, but it’s okay, because Jesus is our Righteousness and God accepts us in his Son, Jesus.
Jesus ‘gave’ himself for our sins. Everyone knows a gift cannot be earned. If I tried to pay someone for a ‘gift’ and he or she accepted payment, it would no longer be a gift. Would it? But, Jesus **gave** himself… according to the will of God, our Father. This was a joint effort. John 3:16 (probably the most quoted verse in the Bible) says God (our Father) so loved the world (that’s us) that he **gave** his only begotten Son. Jesus is our Father’s gift to us, and Jesus gave himself—all according to the will of God. This was determined long ago at the time of Adam’s rebellion. God never had in mind that we should live our lives without him. Living without God is our idea, born in the heart of Adam who rebelled against God.
Jesus is called Emmanuel or ‘God with us.’ How can he be ‘with’ us? Well, looking back at verse-4 above, Jesus gave himself for our sins that he might ‘deliver us’ from this present world or age. This, too, is the will of God our Father—that we should be delivered from (out of) this present world or age. This is done when we—by faith—(i.e. by trusting) confess Jesus (not man or human nature etc.) is our Lord. That is, confessing that out with our lips—making it known: “Jesus is MY Lord!” and, believing that God raised him from the dead. If you confess this, and believe it in your heart, God tells us that you have become a ‘new creature.’ That is, you no longer have only Adam’s life in you, but Jesus’ life, as well. That is eternal life. Adam’s life will die, and Adam’s body will fade away, but you are promised a new body (2Corinthians 5:1-4) that is fitting your new life.
If you have done this, you will have trouble ahead of you, because Adam’s nature is still within you, and it will war against your new spiritual nature (Galatians 5:16-18). Expect it. But, this is okay. It is all part of the commitment you have made. Just keep working out your salvation, because it is God within you who is at work, helping you both to ‘do’ and to ‘desire’ his holy will (Philippians 2:11-13). Mistakes will be made, but always remember that you are accepted, because Jesus is God’s gift to you, and he is your Righteousness. Praise God!