Monday, April 16, 2012

You Are Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams

You are not an ordinary person and you have to stop seeing yourself as ordinary. If you think of yourself as ordinary then you are going to do ordinary things, speak ordinary words and have ordinary expectations. As a follower of Jesus Christ, a child of the promise, born of the Spirit, you have been called out from the ordinary and you are intended for great things in the Kingdom of God.

Apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians, explaining to them why we are so special. He used Hagar and Sarah to make his point:

For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. (Galatians 4:22-23)

We also come from that promise. Earlier in the letter Paul had argued that the promise predated the law and was fulfilled in Jesus Christ. We too are born of this promise. Paul continues:

These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. (vv. 24-26)

This is a wonderful illustration that assumes we know the story of Abraham, Sarah and Hagar. If you don't know it then you should read it. Basically Hagar was Sarah's servant whom she gave to her husband to have a child because she could not have one of her own. This son was then born in slavery. Sarah eventually had a son; the son promised by God. The son born of slavery represents the law, the work of our flesh, our attempt to do things ourselves. The son born of the promise represents salvation by faith, birthed by the Spirit, our reliance on the works and promises of God.

Paul also points out something very interesting because the son born into slavery persecuted the son of the promise:

Now you, brothers, like Isaac, are children of promise. At that time the son born in the ordinary way persecuted the son born by the power of the Spirit. It is the same now. But what does the Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, for the slave woman’s son will never share in the inheritance with the free woman’s son.” Therefore, brothers, we are not children of the slave woman, but of the free woman. (vv. 28-31)

So this is the problem we often face; we have an identity crisis. We are born of the Spirit, children of the promise but we act and think as if we are children of slavery. We are born by the grace of God and according to that grace we are free, no longer in slavery to the law, covered by the blood of Jesus. We are not covered by our human effort but by the loving act of Jesus. What we do in the way of acts of kindness is not a requirement of some law but instead is a fruit of the spirit of love that we have been given.

Stop feeling guilty, you have been freely forgiven. Stop trying to earn your way into God's good graces, he has already brought you there by his grace. You are rich beyond your wildest dreams because you have every blessing ever promised by God. His storehouse is full and it is all for you. So start living like the rich kid that you are. Daddy has given us a job because he wants us to participate in his mission. It is not a job that earns us anything because we already have everything. It is a job that we want to have because the love of Christ compels us to participate in the family business: the salvation of the world.

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