Justification – Seen Or Unseen? – Galatians 4:21-5:1 – 26 October 2014
We Christians can easily turn from faith in Christ to faith in something we can see to make us feel we are OK—like the early Christians who were tempted to trust in Jerusalem. Paul says this takes us straight back into the slavery we escaped when we first trusted in Christ. He proves his point by taking us back to our family history (the Old Testament).
The way Abraham’s two sons were born describes how we can try to bring about what God has promised, or how we can wait on him to do what he has promised. Then, the way Israel received the law—as something they could do—shows how we can end up as slaves instead of sons. But then, God’s promise to his Old Testament people announces that he will be their husband and give them entire security. So, Paul says, we need an unseen ‘Jerusalem’—not an earthly institution but a promise directly from God.
Those who trust themselves to be righteous know much is at stake so they create security systems and then persecute those who don’t conform. Those who trust in God also need to know that much is at stake, and throw out any thought of relying on something merely human to justify them. Christ has done everything to establish us happily before God. Nothing must get in the way of that!