Along side my regular Bible reading I am hoping to also do more in-depth studies of several books of the Bible. Writing about it will help me meditate on the passages and get my thoughts down. I will admit to this being a selfish tool of accountability that, as an added benefit of being a public forum, might also bless someone else.
I decided start in Galatians and move on to Hebrews (probably). I did a little with Hebrews last year but definitely not enough.
It seemed appropriate to starts in Galatians too because it is, arguably, Paul’s earliest letter that we have. What did he teach those early church plants?
I have already read through Galatians in the ESV, ASV, KJV, and the HCSB; maybe I’ll try to brush up on my Greek too…maybe. The hope in reading it through so many times to start off with, is to have the entirety of the context in the back of my mind as I now digg deeper into specific, smaller portions of Paul’s letter.
Also, I am trying to work on memorizing the letter (check out the all called “Verses”. Very useful memorizing tool). But I may modify this plan to end up being that I just memorize the highlights-we shall see.
Today I was looking at the first 5 verses and stopped to the think about vs 4 in particular:
“Paul, an apostle-not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead-and all the brothers who are with me,
To the churches at Galatia:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Galatians 1:1-5
What does it mean “the present evil age” ? Once I accepted Christ as my savior I was not instantly raptured into His presences. I also am greatly affected by the evil in the world around me-to which I, as a sinner, sometimes contribute.
My mind was taken to the gospels and how the Jews thought that Jesus was going to deliver them in a very literal way on earth by overthrowing Rome and establishing a physical Kingdom on earth. Yet this is not what He did, and they missed what He was doing. The Jews had no concept of a dying Messiah, and Jesus definitely was not what they pictured their conquering Messiah to be like. However, Jesus did exactly what He promised He would do in the Scriptures. He overthrew the kingdom of Satan and established-and is establishing, His Kingdom.
Did sorrow cease? Not yet. Did evil desist? Not yet. Not Yet. But God did deliver us from the present evil age.
If you are a child of God, you are His. Nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:35). We may still be affected by sin but we are not defeated by it, nor a part of that community. If someone has accepted Christ as their Savior, they are part of God’s covenant people, ultimately delivered from this present evil age and currently having a citizenship not of the evil age around them.
Let this also be a lesson in hermeneutics-not everything is literal. Christ did not establish a literal kingdom in Jerusalem at His first advent, and this was one reason the Jews rejected Him. The Bible often talks in spiritual terms and it takes being saturated with the Scriptures to learn and discern when.
If you don’t believe me, check out Galatians 4:21-31. Paul specifically tells us how Old Testament Scriptures where allegorical in the case of Hagar and Sarah (this does not mean the account was not also true). If Paul had not pointed this out, would any of us have seen it? Maybe, but not without having read our Bibles-a lot.
If you are God’s child you are delivered. Live in that truth as you deal with this present evil age.