Before Faith Came and After Faith Came

 

Come Sunday most churches will hear the epistle lesson from Galatians 3:23-29.  Those seven verses are packed with plenty to consider.

Before faith came we were held captive under the law.  The law tells us to do this and that and not to do that and this.  The law was like a guardian who was in charge of the children in a family to get them to school on time, pay attention and do their lessons.  When Christ came we were freed from such a restricted and confined life.

Furthermore, in baptize, we were given Christ to wear.  Perhaps this image goes back to early baptisms when the person stripped off their old clothing and went into the water naked.  Upon emerging they put on a white robe and joined the congregation to celebrate Holy Communion immediately afterward.  Since we put on Christ the racial, social, and gender separations were eliminated.  Though these might continue in society in general, in Christ we are all one.  We also became the children of Abraham through whom the promise of blessing to all nations was first given.

As if that were not enough, the Missouri Synod added 4:1-7 which contains St. Paul’s version of the Christmas story.  At the appointed time God sent forth his Son born of Mary, born under the Law, in order to buy us back from our slavery to the Law and adopt us as children of God.

What is more, God sent the Holy Spirit crying out in our behalf, “Father, Father.” As adopted children of God we are heirs to the same inheritance which Christ gained through his resurrection and ascension.

Well that’s just too much to cram into one sermon, at least for this preacher, unless the people in the pew wouldn’t mind extending the use of their sitting flesh.  So I hope God and the people find sufficient good news in the 1,300 words I will preach Sunday; rather than the 2,600 words it would take to cover everything.

 

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