This past weekend we completed our series Modern Pagans: A Study in Galatians. After five months and numerous teachings, conversations and discussions we made it through what is, I believe, a very important book for Wheatland.
In our last night I did a quick summary of our study by highlighting one passage per chapter. I include these verses, with very brief summaries, to keep our minds focused on the main points of the Apostle Paul’s message.
The Gospel is really important to Paul. So much so, that Paul consigns himself, and anyone else, to Hell if they corrupt the simple message of the story of Jesus, crucified and risen, the Lord of Creation.
While this passage deserves an entire sermon I need to make three quick points about it. 1) Life in Christ is a cruciform, cross shaped, life. Self-denial, sacrifice and the imitation of Christ are central for the Christian person. 2) Christ in us, the mysterious yet wonderful reality, is a normal experience for the Christian. Cultivating this awareness is of utmost importance. 3) Our lives in the “flesh”, our human experiences, are not only endured by really lived through faith in Christ.
Equality is good. Christians should promote it. The tearing down of barriers between different people groups is good. Christians should participate in it. Oneness is the work of God. Christians should live into this deeply important truth.
Are you tired of this verse yet? I hope this oft repeated verse will become a central part of Wheatland’s vocabulary. “Until Christ is formed in you…” suggests that the process of discipleship, sanctification, spiritual formation all point toward our continued conversion.
“–the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Following in the steps of Jesus, Paul makes the point that the law really is summed up in acts of love for God and toward our neighbor. If this was good enough for the Galatians it is good enough for us.
Standing at the center of our faith, at the center of our lives is the cross. A cruciform life comes when we encounter the Gospel of Jesus.
Yes, I didn’t mention Abraham, the fruit of the Spirit, and many other important things we covered. But how much can you do in such a short span of time? This has been a fun series to teach and I have grown a lot in this process. Thanks for your contributions to our the talks and sermons.