January 26, 2012
Back to Basics
Rescued from the Present Evil Age
Galatians 1:3-5, Page 1819
In the United States this year, we are having a presidential election. We see and hear many advertisements on television about the basic needs of the country, and what each politician will do to set things right. Polls in the United States indicate that the citizens believe the country is on the wrong track, with people losing their homes to foreclosure, and many people looking for work unable to find it. Among the politicians, however, I have not heard anyone say that the Lord Jesus Christ alone provides the only hope for the United States, the only hope for its people, and the only hope for you. Nothing could be more basic than the need for each person, just like you and me, to keep in mind that only Jesus can solve our problems and make things right. Politicians can never solve our biggest problems in life, and only God can help a nation to prosper. But, as you look at your own country, realize that God taught us that we live in a very evil age, and we needed to be rescued from it. Today we shall move back to basics and study the environment we live in today.
Galatians 1:3, Page 1819
Grace to You. The term “grace” (“χάρις“) has a very particular range of meanings in the New Testament. It always relates to God’s activity in our lives, and speaks of the unmerited favor of God. In other words, God gives us gifts which we do not deserve, and those gifts bring supernatural blessings into our lives. Here, in Galatians 1:3, page 1819, Paul greets the Galatians with his typical greeting he uses often in his other letters. So, Paul greets the Galatians with a declaration of blessings from God upon them. They do not deserve the blessings, and cannot earn the blessings. God bestows His blessings upon believers because He loves us, and not because we deserve His blessings. You may recall Ephesians 2:8-9, page 1828, where God teaches us that He saves us from our sins by grace through faith, and not from works, so that no one may boast. That doctrine means that we believe our way into heaven, and we do not work our way in to heaven. We believe in our hearts that Jesus died on the cross for us, and paid the death penalty for my sins. Because of the grace from God, we have peace with God.
Peace from God Our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace comes before peace in Galatians 1:3, page 1819. The term “peace” (“εἰρήνη“) means that we are on perfect terms with God in our relationship with Him. All of God’s anger against my sin has been poured out upon the Lord Jesus when He died on the cross, and all the righteousness of Christ Jesus has been transferred to me by faith alone. Remember that grace comes before peace. By God’s grace, I believe that Jesus died for me while I was a sinner. Because of my faith, I believe that Jesus took all the condemnation for my sins, which I deserved, and gave His life for mine on the cross. Because there is now no condemnation for me, because of my faith in the death of Jesus Christ, I have peace with God. God and I live in total harmony and I have confidence that God loves me and accepts me. In this verse, Paul ties grace and peace to “our Father” and “the Lord Jesus Christ.” So let me review the basics of the Trinity of God for a moment. God eternally exists as three persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 1:3, page 1819, Paul reminds us that God the Father is not the same person as God the Son (Jesus Christ). Both the Father and Son are truly God, but they are not the same Person. The Father did not die on the cross, but Jesus died on the cross. The Father was not resurrected from the dead, but Jesus arose. We know, however, that Jesus was truly God, just like the Father and the Holy Spirit. We serve only one God, who eternally exists as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. For further study, you may want to review First Steps, Step Seven, Trinity.
Galatians 1:4-5, Page 1819
Gave Himself for Our Sins. At the heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we see that Jesus Christ gave Himself for our sins. Jesus died for my sins. Jesus never sinned, and so He never needed anyone to take care of His sins (Hebrews 4:15, page 1973). Notice the word “gave” (“δόντος“). Jesus made an absolute, complete gift. Jesus gave Himself as the perfect offering for my sin and your sin. He laid down His life willingly, and no one forced Him to die (John 10:17-18, page 1675-1676). When you think about gifts, the greatest gift ever given anywhere was the gift of Jesus Christ to die for the world, because the Father loved the world and gave His only Son (John 3:16, page 1658). Without the gift of Jesus dying for us, we would be forever guilty and condemned for our sins. By faith, we believe that Jesus paid the death penalty for my sins, and now I walk free from all condemnation for sin. But, not only did Jesus remove from me all condemnation for sin, He also rescued me.
Rescue Us from this Present Evil Age. In Galatians 1:4, page 1819, we read that Jesus gave His life so that He might rescue (“ἐξέληται“) us from this present evil age. You may recall that Herod arrested Peter and imprisoned him. God sent an angel to lead him out of the jail. Peter reflected upon his deliverance by God from the prison and used the same root word for rescue there (Acts 12:11, page 1723). We see that rescue means that God led Peter out of prison and confinement. Peter did not go to heaven immediately after the rescue, but went back to preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ on earth. Evil rulers like Herod may cause us tremendous problems, but one day Jesus will return and establish His kingdom upon earth. When Jesus is not ruling upon His earthly throne, then Satan will exercise dominion over this world. We live in an evil age today, because Satan exercises his great power over everyone on earth (Ephesians 2:2,apge 1828). Satan tempts believers, and creates clever schemes to deceive believers and lead them away from Christ (2 Corinthians 2:11, page 1806; Ephesians 6:11, page 1834). By the power of Christ, Satan does not touch believers (1 John 5:18-19, page 1909). In fact, when believers submit themselves to God and resist the devil, the devil flees from them (James 4;7, page 1891). Notice something very important here for living everyday. When Jesus told us here that He has rescued us from this present evil age, He did not mean that we no longer have to live on earth. He meant that spiritually, we no longer live under the power of satan. God has delivered us from the dungeon of the devil. By the power of God, God the Father has rescued (“ἐρρύσατο“) us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Colossians 1:13, page 1841). God rescued us according to His own will and helped us like a loving Father.
To Whom Be the Glory Forever. In Galatians 1:5, page 1819, God reminds us that He gives us grace and peace, and imbues our lives with His purpose for living. He does not remove us out of the world, but empowers us to live for Him in this world. Spiritually, we have been rescued from the power of the devil to rule our lives. Physically, we wake up and go to work each day, while living in a very evil age. As believers, we see the plan of God working in our lives to make our lives shine for Christ in this spiritually dark and evil world. This present age does not control us, but God by His will and power has already rescued us from it. We live here now to glorify God. God deserves all the glory, because He has given us all that we have, and empowers us to love Him and live for Him every day. He deserves all the glory, everyday, forever.
So we learn more about Grace, Peace and Rescue.
● God blesses us with grace and peace everyday, and always wants us to have more of His grace and peace in our daily lives.
● We live in an evil age, but God has rescued us from that evil by His loving power.
● God deserves all the glory, forever.
Application for Today
As I walk through life today, I will count upon God’s grace and peace in my life. I may even great some Christian friend today with those words “grace and peace.” I will keep in mind today that I have been rescued from this evil age, so I will expect people to live evil lives apart from Christ. For those of us in Christ, by faith alone, we will live and walk in the power of Jesus Christ. Will your life glorify God today?