Editor’s Note: The AMI Devotional QT from June 6-12 are written by Phillip Chen, college pastor intern at Church of Southland. Philip, a graduate of University of California, San Diego, is currently studying at Talbot School of Theology. He is married to Esther.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Galatians 3:23 – 4:7 (ESV)
Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. 3 In the same way we also, when we were children, were enslaved to the elementary principles of the world. 4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.
The Gentiles were able to become a part of Israel if they were circumcised and kept the law, identifying themselves with the nation of Israel (Ex. 12:48). The Judaizers that were trying to get the Gentile converts to be circumcised were trying to be faithful to that command. But Paul is proposing that they have entered into a new season, where the way to come to God was through Jesus. Whether you were a Jew, under the guardianship of the Law, or a Gentile, an outsider adopted into the family, the promise was now fulfilled in Jesus. There is no differentiation between the adopted son and natural born son – both were heirs to the inheritance through faith in Jesus.
If we stop to think about it, there is a very natural progression in human history, particularly with God’s plan in mind. Paul equates this to a child growing up. When a son has not yet reached the age of maturity, though the inheritance is set out for him, he does not have full rights to it. He is still under guardians that discipline and control him. This is the role of the Law before Jesus came into this world. This was the season that God’s people were transitioning out of into a new season, marked by freedom and authority. But the Judaizers were still stuck in this “old season” and could not see where God was going with His redemptive plan.
Just as a child ages and transitions through seasons, so does human history. It is easy for us to forget that there is a plan set in motion from the beginning. Isn’t it amazing to know that things don’t just happen randomly, but there is a God-ordained progression that we are following? I realize that so often, I make decisions in life based on my calculations and plans, and then I ask God to bless my decisions. If I don’t think about it, I might wander through this life aimlessly, just following whatever trend I am met with, or stuck in a particular pattern of thinking. But I realize how important it is to actually know what season we are in, so that we are able to join in on what God is doing. This is a divine season that you and I are in. Let’s seek God together and ask Him to show us what He is doing in our generation, in this season, so that we might fulfill the plans God has set out for us.
Prayer: Father God, we don’t want to miss out on what You are doing in this season. Help us be attentive to your Holy Spirit so that we might fulfill the gospel mandate for this generation.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 68
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV): “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Question to Consider
- In light of the morning devotion, does this “season of grace” we are in mean that there is no more need for the law?
- What can this passage tell us about the Law?
- The Law is not discarded in this season of grace. It’s important to realize that the Law is still very important, as it is the guiding principles that we are to live by. When a child is young, he is told not to touch the hot stove and is restricted/restrained from doing so. When the child has reached maturity, he is no longer told not to touch the hot stove, but he understands the governing principle. So also, we are to understand the Spirit of the Law in this season, as God’s instruction to us on how to live.
- The Law is still important. Even though it doesn’t have the power to save us, it is still given for our benefit and we are to pay careful attention to it. It is working with grace for the benefit of the believers.
Are you actively trying to understand what God is doing in your life, your church, and your community? We can easily spend our entire lifetime without having a clue as to what God is doing in our world or even in the communities. Just as the Judaizers were oblivious to what God was doing, we can also be unaware of what God is doing. Let us approach God with humility and ask for understanding so that we will not miss out on what God is doing.