I mean that the heir, as long as he is a child, is no different from a slave, though he is the owner of everything, but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by his father. – Galatians 4:1-2
Monday, March 2, 2015
Our Father's World
With regard to these verses commentaries focus on the distinction between Israel – the called of God, under the law and the called and chosen under the New Covenant in Christ. I was immediately reminded of one of my top five most-quoted passages, Ephesians 4:11-16, and in particular verse 13 which asserts that God gives us leaders and teachers … until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. We can understand the historic perspective, but we should also see the personal application. Individually, we start out in Christ needing a lot of help, a lot of support, teaching, and discipline. We are, in effect, “under the law” for a time until our ability to communicate with God develops and matures. Even after we have grown in the faith, there are often times when we need others to come alongside to encourage or correct us. Sometimes I need a rebuke or reproof as 2 Timothy 3:16 says.
We see something else inherent in this passage, though. We have been adopted by the Father who “is the owner of everything”, and, that, as Paul points out, makes us the “owners” of everything as well. Man was created and commissioned to rule in this world. Adam lost his position through sin, and so we all have suffered in our fallen state. We have been rained on where we should have reigned. In Christ, our enslavement and servitude to the elements and powers of this world come to an end.
I don’t know about me. I believe there are saints who have overcome and matured in this life to the point that they rule and reign in this life. I may have to wait until the next one – which is all right. I don’t mind being in school all my life. It seems to me that too much authority and power is kind of dangerous both for myself and for those around me. Nevertheless, I think we need to realize we are part of the hierarchy, part of the ruling family, whether we are responsible for running much of the show or not.
We all have spheres of authority, influence, and control. Like the servants who were entrusted the talents, it may be small or large. We are obligated to care for that with which the Lord has entrusted us to His glory and in His honor. My wife always considered the condition of her house, her car, her lawn, whatever, as a reflection on Christ. She kept things neat and orderly, clean and in good repair because a) she’s German; and b) it’s all the Lord’s stuff. I believe that she was right in that we owe it to God to do the best we can where we have been placed.
I also think it is a mistake to be silent and passive concerning the issues of the day. This is especially true when it comes to children and education, but we ought also to stand up to oppression in every area where we can make our voices heard. This is our Father’s world. It’s never going to be utopia, Disneyland, or heaven, but it’s His, and we should live, work, and speak with that in our minds.