Have you ever noticed how much is packed into the introductions to Paul’s letters? Before he ever gets into the “meat” of each letter he shares a greeting. So often I gloss over the greeting to get to that “meat,” and I’ve been trying to change that habit.
Take Galatians 1:3-5, for example.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forevermore. Amen. Gal 1:3-5 NASB
As I read these verses intentionally, thoughts began to pour through my heart and mind – almost too much to even wrap my mind around!
- This world is one of bondage, and every one of us is born into that bondage. It’s not just a generic bondage – it’s an evil one. The bondage results in the need to be rescued. But, in all truthfulness, we are so unaware of that need! Sometimes we might be aware of it, but don’t really want it because the freedom of God is something we don’t understand. As a result, we don’t take initiative. We instead cling to this world, evil bondage and all.
- But God doesn’t let our lack of initiative stop Him. He sees what we don’t and desires that we be rescued. Period. Even before we are His children and He is our Father, He is our God whether we acknowledge Him or not. And as such, it is His will that we become His children. So, He sent His Son that we might be rescued.
- And isn’t that a phenomenal thought! I’ve already blogged about this once, but it’s still overwhelming to me. God already had a perfect Son- the perfect Son. But He still wanted us – He wanted me, even with all my flaws and imperfections. Even though I had no interest in Him. While I was refusing to take any initiative, He sacrificed His perfect and beloved Son that I might be His child, too.
- But, it gets even better. Verse four talks about Jesus being sent as our rescue and it states that Jesus “gave Himself for our sins that He might rescue us.” He willingly endured a brief life fully purposed for the excruciating death which would end that life because He was perfectly in line with the will of the Father. It’s hard to say that we believe in the Trinity and believe that the Son and the Father are one while still acknowledging Jesus’ full humanity in following the will of the Father. But, just because we can’t explain it does not rob it of truth. And Jesus willingly suffered horrifically just because His Father willed that we be His children.
- Such thoughts make me feel petty sometimes. How can I stress about the inconveniences of life in light of these amazing truths?
- But, it doesn’t stop there. God wasn’t satisfied with simply rescuing me from this evil world. If He were, what we be the point of the rest of the New Testament? Even the rest of Galatians? The first line of these three verses shows there’s much more to it. “Grace to you and peace…” It doesn’t end with being rescued. It continues with the abundant offering of grace and peace on top of it all!
As I try to wrap my heart and mind around these verses and so much more found in Scripture, I realize the abundance that is mine because I am now a child of God. Just by taking His hand, it is all mine. Yet, I cling instead to such insignificant things that my hands are too full to grasp the abundance. By choice.
Oh Father! Thank You for Your patience with me! May I learn to let go of the insignificant things of this world – the very things You have rescued me from – and learn to instead hang on to Your hand and claim all You have to give me from Father to child!