Submitted by Visitor (not verified) on Mon, 05/07/2010 – 08:25
Year C (2009-2010)
Bible Book: Galatians / Galasiers
Verse: 1 – 5
Players on a soccer field have one goal in mind – to score a goal.
Paul’s goal for the Christian congregation in Galatia is a new creation. This new creation is nothing less than the image of Christ in them. “My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you” (4:19, NKJV). “Christ formed in you” is more than each individual’s “pious life” – it is when the congregation lives in the freedom Christ gives and uses that freedom to serve one another.
Sometimes the best soccer player can disappoint the team and supporters.
Things do go wrong in Christian communities.
It is when a goal is scored against a team that you will see the real character of that team.
It is when things go wrong in a congregation that the image of Christ will be seen – or not.
Paul’s advice in verse 1 is to take action out of love for the person. The goal of dealing with the brother or sister who is “overcome by some sin” (v 1 NLT), is not punishment, but restoration and healing. For Paul, God’s focus is not rules but relationships. People matter most. Therefore our goal is not to defend laws, but to restore people.
God’s love reaches out to all people without discrimination and seeks to bring them to renewal. Therefore, believers have responsibility for one another. They are to share all burdens, even the burdens of guilt and shame when one of them goes astray (v 2, cf 5:14). We “fulfill the law of Christ” (v 2, NKJV) when we deal with one another in a loving and gentle manner, without judgment, without an air of condescension.
We will only be able to “bear one another’s burdens” (v 2, NKJV) in a loving and gentle manner when we recognise that we are all vulnerable to temptation and we all depend on the grace of God.
Yes, we are called to be an alternative community of God’s grace, mercy, healing, and restoration in an unforgiving world. This is possible only by the power of the Spirit, only by God remaking us a new creation in Christ.
To think about or discuss: What should our goal(s) be in this time of HIV and AIDS?
Author: N du Toit (Ds)