13 Aug 1998

Galatians 4: Two Sons

Submitted by theshovel
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You know what else amazes me? People read this letter and think that I was questioning the DESTINATION of the Christian, when, in fact, I was describing THE LIFE we have been called into! From our earliest experiences to the present day, this life is totally unlike any principle of living we have ever known. It is this difference we seem to forget as we go through our everyday routines. Somehow, the miraculous nature of our new life in Christ gets pushed right out of our actual considerations. No wonder so many of us live in such confusion.

You know, it wasn't a bad thing for Israel to live under the law… it was in accordance with God's plan of keeping them in custody. You know how some people have hired a nanny to keep after the children until they are grown? Well, the Law was the nanny for the children of Israel … and their childhood lasted from Moses until Christ! That's a long childhood. Their whole existence was lived in view of, “This is what I am supposed to do and/or not to do”. They were given corresponding punishments and rewards that hung over their heads. If it sounds similar to the way in which you were raised, it should. All of us were born into this prison … and the law intensified it for us! And this is what Christ came to redeem us from.

The Galatians had no reason to be intimidated by those who were hanging on the old system. The time had come and it had passed them by … they were still being led by the hand as little children! And they were trying to make the true sons of God feel as if they didn't really belong. But how does one who doesn't belong call out to the true God and call him, Daddy? Don't you realize that if the Spirit of Christ has been sent into the outsiders that also means freedom for the insiders? Those who were insiders have nothing over those who were outsiders.

Here is what we really miss: the life principles of those without God are the same as the life principles of those who are under the laws of God!! What else did you think it meant to “turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things”? Paul told them that by turning to the law they were actually returning to the same operating principles they had been called out of. And if this is what Christ is all about, who needs Christ?

The Galatians were showing all kinds of signs that they had regressed to their former bondage. They were falling into the religious habits the Jews had observed under the nanny. Just a quick look around most religious groups today reveals a similar condition! You believers today hold to forms that have no life, but only give the appearance that you have your stuff together. Whatever happened to freedom?

In case you don't know, I hadn't planned on going to visit the Galatians in the first place. It was accidental … if you can call it that. I got thrown off from my original plans. I was in bad shape from an illness and I didn't look so good. Which means their first impression of me gave them reason to look down on me as being the representative of God, but they didn't. After all, what kind of a God sends sick people? But they heard God's voice through me. The joy they received was not because I impressed them … they accepted me as Christ. This had been a miraculous thing. What had happened? Were did their joy go? How had I become their enemy? Because I was telling them the truth?

Those impostors who were wooing the Galatians were being dishonest. They pretended to care. They said they were concerned about improving relationships with Christ, but they only wanted to increase their own little kingdom. Their formula was simple: entice them … shut them out … make them beg to get in! I have no problem with the sincere love that seeks another's good, but that is often not the case. Open your eyes, there are impostors desiring to get you in their group. Just notice how they are doing what they are doing … it should be quite obvious!

Okay, maybe you're considering some formula to make you more spiritual. That's what the Galatians were doing. They figured if circumcision was the thing they were missing then why not do it? They were desiring a system of performance to live by, but they had no idea what that system really was. Do you? Do you know the significance in the fact that Abraham had TWO sons? Listen, there is a difference between a son of Abraham by the natural means and a son by the miraculous!

God had made a promise which left no option but to believe Him. But time passed and it didn't seem to be working, so Abraham and Sarah (aka Abram and Sarai) decided to take matters into their own hands. It was actually Sarai's idea. She begged Abram to go have sexual intercourse with her slave-girl; it doesn't appear that he put up a fight. Didn't you know it was the custom for a free woman to have children through her slave? In their minds they were doing the right thing! Call it what you will … “acting in faith”, “putting feet to prayer” “making practical application” … but they had attempted to do God's work their way! And their solution caused a major conflict. Ishmael was conceived and the free woman was despised by the slave. Years later (leave it to God's timing, huh?), God did give Sarah a child (Issac) and it was a miracle child for she was an old, old woman. The results? The child of bondage harassed the child of faith.

Don't you see it? The productivity of the flesh always questions the productivity of the Spirit. Here is the lesson we have learned in the world: If you want to get things done you gotta do it yourself! The lesson of God is this: Let God do what God promises to do! In the meantime, know this: the children of bondage will despise you and call you illegitimate, which is what they did to the Galatians. They questioned their identity. They called their life-source (the Spirit) a dry well. Then they tried to convince them that it was up to them to produce some fruit! “Get excited when you discover you can't produce! Shout with joy when it appears that nothing is happening! For there is more productivity in those who can't produce than in those who seem to be fertile!” Don't you get it? Don't you know who you are? Are you going to sit there and let the impostors define reality for you? How long will you let them question the source of your new life? How long will you let the dead tell you how to live? How long will it take you to realize that there is a foundational difference between those born of the Spirit and those born of the flesh? How much slavery will you endure because the religious world convinces you that you are still the same? Stop operating as if you have the same Momma! Stop living as if you need laws and rules to control you. Refuse to listen to those who are not of faith, do not let them sink their claws into you! For you have been born of the Spirit!

New Testament: 


While I agree that the Law (in the Galatian context, the cerimonial/ritualistic aspects) is our "tutor" to lead us to Christ (3:24), wouldn't you agree that the whole point of being "born of the Spirit" is so that we can walk according to the MORAL (e.g., Exodus 20) Law? "And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules." - Ezekiel 36:27 Although we are regenerated and justified (Ezek. 36:25-26) apart from the Law (but through God-granted repentance and faith), we are sanctified as we depend upon the Holy Spirit to enable us to walk in obedience and holiness. What say you?
theshovel's picture

...wouldn't you agree that the whole point of being "born of the Spirit" is so that we can walk according to the MORAL (e.g., Exodus 20) Law? While I realize that many would and do agree with that, I do not. In my earlier years, I may have even argued the point you made regarding the different aspects of the Law (Civil, Ceremonial, and Moral), but Christ has destroyed that argument. Why? Because what he brought about has so far surpassed anything those under the Law could even imagine that the closest they could understand was that God would cause them to keep his judgments. The truth that can only be understood in Christ is that the very love of God himself has been put within us. And where the love of God is, there is no violation. Those who are in Christ keep the very essence of the Law that was never kept by those it was given to. The whole point of being born of the spirit is that we are made to share in the riches of Christ!

The whole point of being born of the spirit is that we are made to share in the riches of Christ! It took me a re-read of what you replied to Bill H. to see that line, and that line is AMAZING!!!!!!!

Hi Bill H., After struggling with trying to be moral for most of my life, I've come to find morality is based upon various degrees of mankind's PERCEPTIONS of morality. I've found that I personally cannot achieve "living a moral, Christian life" and therefore my only hope is to rest upon the fact that God has ALREADY made me moral in HIS eyes, as the Spirit testifies. I don't have any confidence in my own abilities to achieve a holy life, for that is entrusting my flesh -- my own abilities to do so as opposed to JESUS who did it FOR me. I'm not boasting, as a matter of fact, I'm doing quite the opposite, cuz I have tried and tried to no avail at living a holy life that I've fallen flat on my face time and again. If God required us to live by a code that could be understood by human rationale, what point would there have been in Christ's finished work on the Cross? Really, think about it.... Jesus would just be another law-giver... what kinda "good news" is that? But the Spirit in us testifies to the truth that we have been made MORAL already...and he causes us to walk accordingly in this awareness, even when all human rationale DEMANDS that we at least have to "do something."

What shall we say then??   Good post my brother Justin.     Adam

LOL @ "What shall we say then?"!  I'm so incredibly thankful to God that I don't have to PERFORM FOR HIM anymore.

"Because what he brought about has so far surpassed anything those under the Law could even imagine that the closest they could understand was that God would cause them to keep his judgments."-JM   ​I love this my good brother! Yes this also testifies to me of exactly what the legal mind had on it's lips[and mind] in the face of this grace unseen by the world. When are we going to really trust that the natural mind can not and will not ever understand the things from God?!! Cor 2:12 "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God.."-emphasis mine.   Human, earth bound logic is so tied into the very fabric of the mind without God.   Adam

Human, earth bound logic is so tied into the very fabric of the mind without God. I've found that earthbound logic is not very logical at all. For, at least to me, how could one put their faith in something that's so unstable and ever-changing? I have absolutely no faith whatsoever in any supposed foundation of "truth" within the world because its subject to scrutiny, criticism, and constant change and revision. The only thing I can depend on is that which speaks from within, that which shows itself to me time and time and time again: The one truth that God is inside me, is ONE with me, and that I no longer have to perform any of the mental rituals of the world system.

loved this adam!  i soooo love and am enjoying this entire thread!  i can not even express in words how awesome and encouraging and supported in that miraculous Life of Christ that Lives within us i feel this morning and today! :)  thank you so very much each and all of you who have been posting and sharing your hearts here on this thread in particular!!  :) justin it is such a joy to have you with us again!  :)  just can't get enough of that miraculous sharing of Life you give!  :) char and julie - enjoying you immensely as well ... and i am soooo happy that the two of you actually got to get together in physical location and just 'be' together and enjoy what came to mind and heart.  :)  awesome!  i don't remember where exactly i read about that, but ... it came to mind again today.  :) james the shovel meister - love you dearly and appreciate so very much the Love of Christ you share with us here and that you always share with me in our life together!  :) i will leave someone out, and that is not my intention at all.  i am just really encouraged right now and sharing only a small fraction of expression concerning it.  :)  you each and all encourage me and add to the enrichment of this miraculous Life we share in together!  :)

love it.

Hi Guys, (J,A,&J)!  I love what you all have been posting.  Justin, as I have said before, Father has given you wonderful eyes to see and express the truth, thanks.  As I have been reading your comments, I wanted to share with you that this afternoon He showed me once again how I am still so tied to rules and law keeping.  I thought I understood the freedom of this new creation that He has made me, but because of some things I am going through, he has shown me that living a life that is free of the old rules and law is still so foreign to me.  I know that as His child, he will never leave me there and am excited to see just what He will show me next, and what it means to live life in His freedom.  

Hey Char! :) I think this new Life is foreign to us all. I don't think I personally will ever break free (in the flesh) from rules and laws, as I catch myself entangled in them as well. After all, we're sooooooooooooo used to that life of bondage. But there's this growing awareness in me from God inside, that LET'S ME KNOW I'M BEING CAUGHT UP IN IT- just as He just reminded you today! Now, I've always wondered what Christ meant about fruit and how Father God has planted a seed in us that will ultimately grow tons of fruit for us all. It always begged the question from me atleast, "how much fruit is he going to let me grow until I die?" Right now, when I read your comment, something hit me: It's not about how much fruit God will allow us to grow, it's about the sheer PROCESS itself: GOD DOING IT FOR OUR GOOD. I don't believe my ultimate goal in life is to one day break free completely from the things that bind me. What I do believe and entrust God in is that he will continue to shake my belief-systems, various paradigms, memeplexes, etc., so that I MUST only only ONLY depend on Him alone! There's a song by this heavy metal band Disturbed called "Prayer" and the whole song is about the singer praying to God asking him to "take everything away," all the dreams he has, all the success he's made; so that he could depend on God alone. It's a really beautiful song. But this song, or prayer, is very similar to our DEEPEST INNER CALLING FROM THE SPIRIT, so that we depend on God not us! So what I'm ultimately trying to say Char, is not to worry about being entangled, God will get you out as He did with you today! You're going to bear SOOOOO MMMUCCCHHH fruit from the Spirit of God within you. God will NOT leave you there ------ Besides, He can't. He's in You!!!! ------ What he will do is continually show you, or rather WAKE YOU UP to the fact that the world around you is falling apart. You will experience in Christ the dissolution of elements. You have no life goal that hasn't been achieved by Him already. Rest in the fact that God in YOU will show you continually who you AREN'T until what you AREN'T falls flat on its face from burnout and you find "there's no more Charlotte...there's only CHRIST in ME. " To sum it up, God is doing powerful things in you --- I can see him doing it with your recent post -- it's amazing and awesome! But don't think for one second that there will come a time in which you will be completely free from law and rules, because you're completely free NOW; ALREADY. God's just helping you open your eyes more and more to make you able to see this alien, new world in Him. :)

What a heart of encouragement Justin! Char thanks for being so transparent as HIs Life in you does it's thing! Dominic Adam

Justin, you don't know it (so that's why am going to tell you..smile), but your loving, heartfelt encouraging words that Father gave you to write to Charlotte were also his encouraging words for me. You see, the law had also crept in to the way I was reasoning through a current situation. It persisted, until I began feeling dismayed at the lack of love in it. I'm seeing that no matter how it's couched, one cannot truly love when they live by law, for living by law is not living by Christ, and only Christ can truly love.......it's as simple as that isn't it? You know, when I got started with the shovel and shack, one of the first things I realized was that I didn't truly know what Grace was. (And you'd think that after 13 yrs of studying about it I would, . .that's another smile). What I do know is that it is totally absurd and makes no sense to the natural logic of the fleshly mind. And how grateful I am that Jim keeps bringing up that point because I see now how easy it is to think spiritual things out of the fleshly mind. And now I'm thinking, I really don't know all that much about love either. No wonder His answer was to put Himself in us and live "Himself" out through us. Julie

Definitely Julie, we can't do ANYTHING (right) without Him.

Hey Jim. There's a teaching from medieval times, when a great deal of Jews believed in a realm of the afterlife called the Pangs of the Grave, or "Hibbut haQever." Essentially, what it is is after one dies, their souls stay around their bodies for 7 days watching their former selves decay away so that they'll ultimately be forced to detach from that reality and move on into another world. It's pretty grotesque on the surface, but it's EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE DOING HERE ON EARTH AS THOSE IN CHRIST, watching the dissolution of elements; our being aware of the decay of our former bodies and the 'life' which we used to live. (As a sidethought, I think it's just straight out weird how folklore and mythology of Mystical Judaism always seems to prophesy correctly about things but ALWAYS leaves Christ out of the equation.) I was reminiscing as to what you meant recently by saying that the world is a "training camp" and thought of that, but I was also wondering if you'd like to go further into detail about this.

It is wonderful to hear and know that Christ Jesus has our highest good in mind when He removes that which is old and stony. We are all partakers of this! Love, adam

Justin it is cool to see you seeing Christ in all things. I have often heard that I take this Christian stuff WAY too seriously! lol   What else is there to do if He is the very salvation of my soul?!   Adam

Amen, I'm seeing Him EVERYWHERE. I remember Char had some concerns about one of my posts, my paraphrase/translation of Colossians. But embedded in what looked as though it STUNK of carnal knowledge and complicated human logic, were real gems concerning our lives in Christ. I re-read what I wrote last night and God showed me SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH that I honestly was seriously like, "HOW DID I WRITE THIS?" I'm seeing the Gospel everywhere in all things, in all of my past interests, and every day things as well. This is the LIFE I yearned for when I was an IC-Christian, constantly begging God to "show me things" all the while sticking to a religious system that provided no real Answer to my deepest of questions.

Justin this has moved me to tears for you since He has given me to understand that which is so deep and wide and long is the love of Christ. He TRULY is our Life. Thanks to God for what He does in you! He meets all your needs and more abundantly than we can even ask. Adam

Amen to that! It's weird when you say you were moved to tears, because on the surface when I read that I was kinda like "Why? My life sucks!" LOL - Although things in the outside world are deteriorating and rapidly at that, I'm amazed at how less and less I care about the matter of my 'life' falling apart. All I want is Him.

I'll amen to that!!!! I mean, is there anything that can even begin to compare to Christ!!!!! Julie

Justin, I just love to hear you say that, it certainly is what Life is and how could we want anything else.  Everything else is death.  Thanks so much for the encouragement, Father has been so good to me in not allowing me to live where I used to anymore.  When I see the comparison of the old and new in my life it is amazing.  That old rule and law keeping is such a heavy weight and only brings judgment and condemnation, where the new life that we live in now is free, not burdensome and brings healing and love to oneself and to those we touch.   I really liked what you said about God shaking our false belief systems so that's we come to understand once again that we depend on Him for everything.  You know, this new life He has given us is so completely opposite from everything we have ever been taught or programmed to believe.  Only He can open our eyes to see how radical this life really is, it is lovely and amazing and so full of peace and rest.  Finally, I don't have to do anything!!!! :) :) :).  Thanks be to God!!   Hugs, Char  

wonderful wonderful FULL of amazing encouragement!  all of this!  there just aren't the words to express, but i know we each know it together without words expressed in the miraculous life of the Spirit of GOD HE has so freely and generously given!  :)

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