“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” – Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV)
This is a verse that demonstrates a need to close a gap in our means of interpretation. Adoption, in the time that Rome ruled the world and Paul wrote his letters to the churches in the first century was not like the adoptions we are familiar with today. It was not babies or young children but adult men that were adopted by families seeking to have an heir to carry on the family name and business. It was different in many ways to adoption familiar to us. “Adoption” is the act of bringing someone who is the offspring of another into one’s own family. Since unbelieving people are by nature not children of God, the only way they can become God’s children is by spiritual adoption. Indeed, we are made members of our Father God’s family”. With respect to this adoption, it surpasses anything that takes place on earth. It confers upon its recipients not only a new name, a new legal standing, and a new family-relationship, but also a new image, the image of Christ. We are adopted by God because He has chosen us to become one of His family. It is a permanent action and standing.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, awhile we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.” – Galatians 6:9-10 (NASB)
We stress frequently that we cannot earn salvation and eternal life by doing good works. It is the gift of faith that brings us the grace we need to believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. But good works are not to be forgotten. Doing good is a commandment in the Bible. We are promised that the good works we do in obedience to God will result in a harvest of righteousness. What we reap is lives that are saved from the wages of sin – death. (Romans 6:23) Humans can be a bit impatient however. When we do not see the positive results of our work for God, we are tempted to give up. We might even call it ‘burned out’ and we are also tempted to lose heart. Our calling as faith believers is to stay on task and trust that in due time, we will see results. Our good works are for all people, demonstrating the love and sacrifice Christ made for all the world. And even more, for all in the faith who are called children of God. When is the time to do good? It is “while we have opportunity” means NOW.
“For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another..” Galatians 5:14-15 (NASB)
The promise that we find in this verse is that “love” is of paramount importance in the life of a Christian. Jesus said it was proof of discipleship. Apostle Paul in this letter to the several churches in Galatia (we don’t know exactly how many), that had been under attack by false teachers, the Judaizers. These Judaizers were aggressive in their legalistic methods to keep Christians as a sect of Judaism. In the fruit of the Spirit we studied yesterday, Love was the first of the list. Paul urgently writes in this letter and makes clear that such love needed to be mutually expressed in the Galatian churches.. As a result of the inroads of the false teachers they were insisting Christians uphold observance of the Mosaic Law as they interpreted and corrupted it with thousands of added legalistic requirements. The church was divided and engaged in bitter strife. The followers of the legalists and those who remained steadfast were biting and devouring each other. This was far from the biblical ideal of believers dwelling together in a loving unity, and threatened the churches with destruction and the loss of their individual and corporate testimonies.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23 (ESV)
It is common that these verses are misread and mistaught on a pretty regular basis. The error comes in the word ‘fruit’ which is read as ‘fruits.’ These nine qualities of character are a bundled package. Together they are the fruit produced by the Holy Spirit in the life of an obedient follower of Jesus. As listed there, this fruit is the evident mark one may expect from a life in which the Spirit of God is living and reigning and Jesus is Lord. Jesus also implied that one’s character of life can be determined. In Matthew 7, the test for false prophets is, among other things, the kind of life they live. Consequently, even though Jesus did prohibit disapproving criticism of others by his followers (Matthew 7:1), He encouraged fruit inspection. The secret to exhibiting spiritual fruit in abundance is described in John 12:24. Using as an illustration a grain of wheat sown in the ground, Jesus encourages death to self and to the desires of the old nature and resurrection to the new life of “much fruit.” Our promise is this fruit produced in our lives if we live according to the Spirit of God.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9 (NASB)
At some point in your life, you’ve likely heard someone say “what goes around comes around.” In fact, you may have even said this phrase yourself. Usually, it’s to someone who has done wrong or treated you wrong. However, we ask: is this really true? Our verse of promise is preceded by a warning us to not be deceived by what happens with how we act. As we do the work given to us by God, we do well to keep these principles in mind. God has a principle of sowing and reaping. Certain actions produce certain results. The principle works for good and bad deeds. Paul talks about sowing to please our flesh (bad) and sowing to please the Spirit (good). They lead either to destruction (bad) or eternal life (good). These principles exist even if we don’t want to acknowledge them. Our promise in our verse for today, confirms that eventually, in due time we will reap results of our work. So let us not get weary or lose heart because we aren’t seeing the results. Our effort to sow good lasting things of value, will reap benefits…in due time…in His time, not our time.