As I become more familiar with the text of Galatians, I’m finding that where things come from might be a theme or motif. Consider these:
- 1:1 — “sent not from men nor by men, by by Jesus Christ …
- 1:6-9 — origins of the gospel message
- 1:12 — ditto
- 1:15 — origins of God’s purpose in Saul/Paul
- 2:20-21 — the root of life, i.e., not law but identity in Christ
- 3:19-4:31 — the “seed” idea as seen in the Law’s relationship to the Christian Way, and as illustrated in Hagar and Sarah (note particularly the use of the Gk. sperma in 3:29 – often obscured in English translations)
This theme, if indeed it is one, appears to drop off in the “praxis” section of the letter, chapters 5 and 6.
Now speaking devotionally: whether I’ve identified anything of merit or not, it seems good to consider often where we come from.
We are not self-made in any deep sense. We are created beings, and wonderfully made. We owe our life, our breath, and everything else to the God Who made the world and everything in it. In a gloriously beneficent turn of redemptive history, this great God chose not to live in temples made with hands, but to draw near to humans — so that they might reach out for Him and find Him, and so that He would ultimately be able to make His home in our hearts. In a sense, this indwelling has the potential to create a “full circle”:
- God creates mankind
- Mankind leaves the Point of origin, in a sense forgetting where he came from
- God “travels,” bring the great Original into proximity with the subsequent, the created
- We, apprehending Him, sense that He is Source; we choose whether or not to allow Him in again
In the words of Joseph Addison (1712),
The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
. . .
In reason’s ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
“The hand that made us is divine.”