Daily Readings and Thought for April 3rd. “IN THE ANGUISH OF CHILDBIRTH”


 Reading more of Paul’s letter to the Galatians we find him asking, “Who has bewitched you?” [3 v.1]. Many of them had been persuaded to adopt the observances of the Mosaic Law.  Yesterday we saw Paul’s strong emphasis that there is only one Gospel. Today’s chapters emphasize the seriousness of this. The Law had proved to be a failure because so many were seeing that they had to observe days and other rituals, such as tithing, to be saved.

Is this problem relevant today?  We have Easter, a celebration of which the Bible has nothing to say, most observe it in a very worldly way. Paul’s says, “You observe days and months and seasons and years!  I am afraid I may have laboured over you in vain’ [4 v.10,11]  “The Law”, Paul proceeds to say, “was our guardian until Christ came … but now faith has come we are no longer under a guardian … as many of you as were baptised into Christ, have put on Christ.” [3 v.24,27]  The Law had been fulfilled; all the sacrifices have come to their completion and fulfilment by the sacrifice of Christ. 

There is only one way believers should remember the death of Christ, that is, by partaking of bread and wine.  The Church calls this the eucharist and many make a dramatic ceremony out of it with a “Father” figure officiating. This all detracts from the simplicity of it in the First Century. Paul makes an earnest appeal to those taking part to search their hearts and minds to achieve true humility and appreciation of what it means (read 1 Corinthians 11 v.17 onwards).

What mattered above all was that they sensed the spirit of Christ in their hearts!  Note his impassioned plea – “my little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ be formed in you” [4 v.19]   They had been born anew into Christ at their baptism, but many had been “bewitched” by the teaching of another gospel. If Christ was really formed in them they could see God from their hearts as Moses did, “O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh” or, as we will read this week in Proverbs, “”The spirit (mind) of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his inner most parts” [20 v.27]

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