Friday, 4 April 2014

"WHEN YOU DID NOT KNOW GOD" - Bible Reading Thoughts for April 3rd

Galatians 3:1
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye SHOULD not obey the truth"

The Greek for "should" is translated most times in our Bibles as "persuade", so Galatians could read "who hath bewitched you, that ye are PERSUADED not to obey the truth".

If we follow some occ of the Gk translated "persuade", we find contrasts:

Matthew 27:20 - the trial of Christ:
"But the chief priests and elders PERSUADED the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus".
(Here the multitude are persuaded to destroy Jesus).

Acts 28:23 - Paul's teaching:
"there came many to his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the Kingdom of God, PERSUADING them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening".
(Here Paul persuades from the scriptures, all day, and in other places it shows he did this continuously).

We are being persuaded throughout our daily lives, the question is, are we:
1. Allowing the multitudes to persuade us, which leads to the destruction of Christ in our lives?
Or are we:
2. Allowing the daily and sustained intake and exposition of the scriptures to persuade us to hold fast and make the right choices on our journey to the Kingdom?

"WHEN YOU DID NOT KNOW GOD"                                                                                                         

    In his letter to the Galatians Paul reminds those who have responded to his teaching and become believers of what they had been previously when they did not know the true God.  Many have trouble in letting their previous beliefs and associated practices fade from their minds.
     How different it is today for those who have been brought up to believe in the true God and his message.   It is different because the sharp edge of the spiritual excitement of conversion from false belief and its’ lifestyle, has not been experienced – except for a few.. Those few had a great sense of appreciation?
     Consider what Paul wrote, “when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.” [4 v.8]  How many around us today are in slavery – to the ways of the modern world and its ‘gods’.!  How much attraction does it still hold for you?  It presses in on us in so many ways.
      Amongst the Galatians there were some who had a diminishing sense of appreciation of what they had come to know, forgetting how it had originally been so meaningful compared to their previous idol worship.
      The Jews who were converted to Christ had a different, but still difficult problem.  Christ came, writes Paul, “to redeem those who were under the Law, so that they might receive adoption as sons.” [v.5]  This adoption applied to both those from a Gentile and a Jewish background – and Paul makes the point, “.. because you are (now) sons God has sent the spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba, Father’” [v.6]
    What is this Spirit?  It is a spiritual perception of the presence of the one and only God who is now “Our Father”! Recall what Paul told the Athenians about the true God, “he is actually not far from each one of us, for ‘in Him we live and move and have our being’” [Acts 17 v.27,28]  
     Paul  challenges the Galatian converts, “now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God how can you turn back again to …” [v.9] what you were before?  
     Knowing God is having a real living relationship with him day by day.    Paul is distressed at what was happening to many of the converts he had made in Galatia, he writes, “my little children for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ be formed in you”[v.19]
    In 2014 we must continually take stock and ask ourselves – to what extent has Christ been formed in me?  Is my sense of conversion fading?  Paul told the Galatians, “I am perplexed about you” [v.20] – would he write the same about you?
   As we plan to be away – Kay will be sending out the Bible thoughts for us for the next week, ‘if the Lord will’