All People made One as the Outcome of God’s Story
God has given us scriptures that are remarkable and challenging to understand. He engages our minds to understand and discern. We receive the whole OT. The Gospels tell Jesus’ story in four different ways. The letters are real letters written on a particular day to a distinct situation, set of problems. No systematic theological treatises or law books. There is built-in flexibility, diversity, and interpretation.
In Gal 3 Paul looks broadly over the whole story in the context of deep disputes about the OT law and the Gentiles. God’s ancient promises come to fruition in Jesus’ faithfulness as Messiah and our faith/trust in him. He is one person who is both Israel and every human, but also God so that every person can become part of him.
All the deep, ancient barriers are broken down. Humans are given a new reality by God, united not by virtue but by what God has done in Jesus. Jesus actively breaks down religious, ethnic, class, socioeconomic, gender, relational barriers, back to creation. All of these barriers were set both in custom and in Roman law, city laws, and Mosaic law.
Everyday Bodies – “Flesh” and “Spirit”
Jesus taught his disciples about the Spirit/Paraklete/Helper sent from God – both himself and the Father. Paul teaches about the Spirit in many ways, helping people who had no frame of reference to participate in the Spirit’s work in their lives. Often religious people have set Spiritual life over against bodily, this-world life, as disembodied, heavenly life. God created our bodies. He loves the physical. Spiritual life now and ultimately is life in body: now bodies and resurrection bodies. When Paul speaks of flesh, he means our ways of making our present selves the center of everything, our little gods, defining our idols of wealth, power, success, beauty, etc., defined by our limited passions and desires. Spiritual life is everyday bodily life with God at center: a whole person of body, mind, spirit, everything, as a whole creature of God. It’s life in relationship with others. It’s life that undermines idols: no limited thing or status or person or circumstance determines the worth of my life. It’s life that sees God and God’s self-giving love at the center of all. Images for Thinking about Spiritual Life
Acts 9:1-10, Galatians 3:26-28
Kyle Swann, our MDiV student intern from Princeton Seminary, brings us a message on the transformative power of the cross in the life of Paul.