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Thursday, November 7, 2019

2019.11.07 Hopewell @Home ▫ Galatians 3:26-29

Questions from the Scripture text: What are all believers, according to Galatians 3:26? What effect has inward/spiritual baptism had upon them (Galatians 3:27)? What else have they done with Christ? What other realities are not preventing them from being equally adopted (Galatians 3:28)? What does union with Christ make them to be, according to Galatians 3:29? And, as Abraham’s spiritual offspring, what are they (verse 29)?
In Acts 19, when Paul meets believers who do not know about the Holy Spirit, he immediately asks them about their baptisms. How could they not know the name into which they were baptized—“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”? How could they not know Him whom Jesus pours out, just as He has commanded that we do the same with the water?

In this portion of Galatians, the apostle refers them back to their baptisms as he connects the receiving of the Spirit (Galatians 3:2Galatians 3:5) with becoming children and heirs not only of Abraham (Galatians 3:7Galatians 3:29) but of God Himself (Galatians 3:9Galatians 3:26). Baptism, just like circumcision, takes a people (of all ages) who are children of earthly fathers and sets them apart as children of the Heavenly Father.

Ultimately, however, it is what Christ pours out that accomplishes this. The water that is poured on earth, baptizing someone into the church, shows forth that spiritual reality to which Galatians 3:27 refers: “baptized into Christ.”

Our water baptisms call upon us to hope only in belonging to our Lord Jesus Christ, so that it is always to Him that we look. So also, they remind us that when we believe in Jesus, it is always Him that God sees when He looks at us. As many of you as were baptized into Christ “have put on Christ” (i.e., “have been clothed with Christ.”) This is how Galatians 3:27-28 explain the sonship of Galatians 3:26.

You may be a Jew, but with regard to your status before God, what He responds to is that you have been clothed with Christ. You may be a Greek, but with regard to your status before God, what He responds to is that you have been clothed with Christ. You may be a slave, but with regard to your status before God, what He responds to is that you have been clothed with Christ. You may be free, but with regard to your status before God, what He responds to is that you have been clothed with Christ. You may be male, but with regard to your status before God, what He responds to is that you have been clothed with Christ. You may be female, but with regard to your status before God, what He responds to is that you have been clothed with Christ.

And it is that same Spirit, so clearly displayed in the pouring of baptism, who trains our hearts to say what that water baptism trains our tongues to say, “Abba, Father!” The name into which we are baptized is not merely God, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And when we experience the spiritual reality of the outward sign, the Spirit of adoption makes us cry out “Abba, Father,” bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God—and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ! (Romans 8:15-17).

This, ultimately, is what is at stake if we are tempted to think that we come to be children of God by how well we bear the family resemblance—it is an attack on Sonship being through faith in Jesus, by the work of the Spirit to clothe us in Him, so that we are not accepted as children for our worthiness but rather made worthy by being adopted as children. Not only is true salvation at stake, but even true knowledge of the Triune God who displays both this salvation and Himself in our baptisms!
What works are you tempted to think make you a worthy child of God? What (who!) really makes you a child of God? Where does worthiness come from? 
Suggested songs: ARP32AB “What Blessedness” or TPH435 “Not What My Hands Have Done”

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