Tag Archives: Jews

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.

The Lord’s Prayer #2 – A Personal and Corporate Prayer.

Before I look at The Lord’s Prayer itself I will look at what Jesus said around it when he taught it on the Sermon on the Mount.  In Matthew’s gospel, in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches not just The Lord’s Prayer, but surrounds it with teaching about personal and corporate prayer.

This has only just struck me as I am writing this post, and I shall explain what I mean.

The Jews understood that prayer could be personal, you could pray to God on your own, not just in the company of others.  We see this in both the Old and New Testaments, where prayer takes place both on a personal setting, and in a corporate setting.  So Jesus teaching on personal prayer is aimed specifically as the Jewish people as they understood this concept.  We see this in Matthew 6:5-6.

The Gentiles by contrast, especially the Romans who were then occupying Israel, had no concept of personal prayer, prayer to them was always and only a public affair.  So it would be strange to teach about personal prayer by referring to people who had no concept of personal prayer.  Therefore we can safely say that Matthew 6:7-8 is about corporate prayer.

Now you may be saying, ‘Can you back this up from the text itself, not just from the context?’.  Yes, I can.  In Matthew 6:6 Jesus is talking about ‘you’ singular, in the rest of Jesus’ teaching about prayer that is given here is ‘you’ is always in the plural.

The Lord’s Prayer, or more precisely what we can learn about how to pray from it, should be central to both our personal and corporate prayer.  It is both a prayer that we can say as it is, and a prayer outline that we can use in prayer.  It is also more than that, but you will have to wait for the next post to find out what.

What does the Lord’s Prayer mean to you in your personal and corporate prayer?  Have you thought of it only as a personal prayer neglecting its corporate nature? I would love to hear your insights.