Tag Archives: father

Galatians 4:1-7 – Children and Heirs.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God. (Galatians 4:4-7 NRSV)

In Paul’s letter to the Galatian church he is dealing with Judaizers who were saying to the Gentile Christians that faith in Jesus alone was not enough, but that they also needed to become Jews and live under the law of Moses.

The whole letter is a treatise from Paul calling Jew and Gentile alike back to living by faith, not by works. This is central to the gospel, and the crux is Jesus’ death on the cross. It is not the whole counsel of God on faith, works and their relationship to the rest of the gospel. We need to see things in context, only then will we be good workmen and women when it comes to our handling of the Word of God.

The law of Moses was given to the Jews, yet all it did was reveal the sinfulness of all people. Even throughout the OT time we see that people lived by faith just as Abraham had done. But the law was necessary, at least for a time.

Jesus was born a Jew, ‘of a woman’ as Jewish lineage even today is through the female side of the family. If your mother is a Jew, then you are a Jew. He redeemed everyone under the law (the Jews) first, and then everyone else (the Gentiles) through the blessing of Abraham. We are now all equal children of God!

We are now children of God and this means something, this is one thing that makes being a Christian unique that, ‘God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts’. We are now indwelt by the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and what the Holy Spirit says in our hearts to God is ‘Abba, Father!’ We never need to doubt our relationship with Father God because the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Spirit, living inside us confirming that relationship both to us and to Father God.

We are now heirs who are old enough to receive our inheritance through what God has done for us.

Father God, help us to grasp what it means to call you Father and to live as children and heirs in the freedom you have for us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Galatians 3:10-14 – Jesus Lived By Faith… So Can We.

Jesus is unique. He fulfilled the Mosaic Law completely. But did Jesus live by works or by faith. Jesus was fully God, but he laid aside all the rights and privileges that were included in that when he became a man. All he did when he was on earth was because he was a man who was untainted by sin and empowered by the Holy Spirit and in conversation with the Father.

As Jesus fulfilled the Law he would not be under the curse for not fulfilling it. Jesus was righteous and Paul quotes, ‘The one who is righteous will live by faith’ (Galatians 3:11 NRSV), so Jesus must have lived by faith. What hope does this have for us?

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us – for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’ – in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:13-14 NRSV)

This also means  as Jesus lived his life by faith and empowered with the Holy Spirit so can we.

Heavenly Father, help me realise that Jesus lived a life of faith as a man empowered by the Spirit, so I can live a life just like him. Help me to live such a life touching others, doing miracles and revealing you glory. In his name, Amen.

Psalm 74 – When God Gives No Answers

‘… there is no longer any prophet,
and there is no one among us who knows how long.’ (Psalm 74:9 NRSV)

You may wonder what a psalm is doing in a series from the book Ezekiel, well I read this yesterday as I am working through the Psalms but haven’t read one for a while, and this fitted so perfectly with what I shared yesterday from Ezekiel so I though I would share too.

In this psalm Asaph asks how long Judah, Jerusalem and the temple will be laid waste and over-run by its enemies.  He asks the questions, but there will be no answers.  Why? Because there are no prophets left.  Yesterday I looked at how God condemned the false prophets and prophetesses who were prophesying in Ezekiel’s day.  God was against them and they would experience his wrath (see Ezekiel 13).

This psalm seems to have been written by an eye-witness of the destruction of Jerusalem that Ezekiel (among others) prophesied.  God’s presence had left (see Ezekiel 10), so what had once been God’s land, city and temple were now over-run and destroyed’ and ‘desecrated’ by foreigners.

All the prophets who had been left in Jerusalem and had been prophesying lies were now gone.  God had fulfilled his word!  But this meant that Asaph did not know how long this would last for, he was a priest, not a prophet, and there were now no prophets left for him to go to in order to seek God’s word!

We can see the effect this has on him, he is perplexed and confused, he can only cling on to what God has done in the past and ask God to act again for his people and against the enemy.

I have had times in my Christian life when I have had no answers.  When I was became unwell just over 10 years ago, I was also confused and perplexed, I asked God questions, but got no answers.  Through everything I held onto one thing, no matter how bad things got the Father was with me, whereas the Father had to turn his face away from Jesus when he was on the cross as a consequence of my sin.  Jesus was forsaken by his Father, but I would never be, because of what Jesus had done for me.  That was my only hope at times, but like Asaph it sustained me.

Heavenly Father, help me to be honest with you in prayer, like Asaph was.  If all I have is questions then let me bring them to you.  In dark times help me to cling onto, and praise you for, what you have done, and still be able to ask you to do it again in an uncertain future.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Ezekiel 1:26-28 – A Vision Of The Glory Of God

‘And above the dome over their heads there was something like a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of the throne was something that seemed like a human form.  Upwards from what appeared like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and downwards from what looked like the loins I saw something that looked like fire, and there was splendour all round.  Like the bow in the cloud on a rainy day, such was the appearance of the splendour all round.  This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.  When I saw it, I fell on my face, and I heard the voice of someone speaking.’  (Ezekiel 1:26-28. NRSV)

Ezekiel was very much a seer, God spoke to him visually and he also experienced the hand of the Lord on him, the heavens opened and visions of God.  If you have ever experienced the glory of God or a vision of it then you would say, ‘WOW!!! What more can I say?  Nothing!!!’, as you can connect with what Ezekiel is saying.

If, however, you have never experienced God in this way then it can be a bit difficult to get your head around it.  I’ll look at three things to help you get your head round it a bit, at what is in this chapter in Ezekiel, from elsewhere in the Bible and from my own experience to help you connect with what he says more.

What is a vision?

What Ezekiel saw was a vision of heavenly beings (the living creatures with their wheels that he described in Ezekiel 1:5-22) and of God himself on his heavenly throne.  But what is a vision?  Is it just like a dream or a day-dream or is it different.

With a vision you are definitely awake, it is not an idle day-dream where your mind just wanders, it is God touching you and all your senses physically.  Dreams and pictures can be gentle, but there is nothing gentle about having a vision, it is God touching our physical reality with heaven’s reality (which if anything is actually more real than this physical reality).  You are there physically, and all your physical senses are working and you also can physically interact in the vision, as Ezekiel did when he ate the scroll in Ezekiel 3:2.

[Now one word of warning, some people say there are different levels of visions and differentiate between visions in and out of the body as if it is important – it is not.  I say this with confidence as this was Paul’s view, ‘I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven – whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows.’ (2 Corinthians 12:2 NRSV).  If Paul didn’t consider it important as God is the only one who really knows the answer anyway, then neither do I!]

Indescribable glory!

If you have had a vision yourself, or you talk or read about one that is in the Bible then you get ‘like’ coming up a lot.  In the NRSV we read ‘like’ 23 times, and that is just in Ezekiel 1!  There is always a difficulty describing a vision because there is difficulty in expressing heavenly things in our earthly language, we don’t have a frame of reference of heavenly things, only of earthly things so there is always this difficulty in describing a what has been seen and experienced in a vision.

Another aspect of God’s indescribable glory is the fact that God’s glory has physical weight.  This is one reason why when people encounter it they are very soon flat on their faces, on the floor and unable to get up like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28)  was until the Spirit lifted him up (Ezekiel 2:2).

When the prophet Isaiah was called we read, ‘In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lofty; and the hem of his robe filled the temple.’ (Isaiah 6:1 NRSV).  Royal regalia is heavy, it is not just for show that Queen Elizabeth II had Maids of Honour carrying her train when she was crowned, that is the picture here and gives a good description of the glory of God.

God’s glory has a physical weight and presence.  If you have a vision of God then you will experience it, and you may experience it at other times as well, both in corporate gatherings and alone.  Even in corporate gathering not everyone will experience the same thing.  There are occasions when God’s glory falls in a mighty way, such as times when he is moving in revival power, when this happens then everyone will be flat on the floor and will know it is God who is present in a mighty way.

If God does have his hand upon you and you experience the weight of his glory then you won’t be able to move until he either removes it or until he enables you to stand in his presence by the Spirit raising you up, we see examples of both in Scripture.

The Fear of the Lord.

A vision is never like a nightmare!  When you have a vision you experience the fear of the Lord in a very real way, this is completely different from the frightened fear that you have when you have a nightmare.

What do I mean? For one thing, ‘perfect love casts out fear’ (1 John 4:18 NRSV), for another, under the New Covenant God is our Father.  If I watch my young 3¾ year old son interact with my husband, his father, we see what this means, he is bold with his dad and loves him beyond measure, he does not fear him, but he does know that his dad is the ultimate authority, and that what his dad says goes!  This is how it should be with God, and is why the fear of God is so different from a frightened fear.  You could say that it is perfectly rational fear, it is the awe we were created to experience, not an irrational fear that fears punishment that is a result of the fall of humankind.

Have you ever seen a vision or experienced God’s glory like Ezekiel?  Do you know what it really is to know the fear of the Lord?  If you haven’t, has this post helped you understand better what Ezekiel is talking about?  I would love to hear your views.