Tag Archives: Redemption

The Firsts: Galatians 1 – The In-Between Years

Galatians 1: 15 But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being…21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: “The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” 24 And they praised God because of me. [NIV]

My first thought was the wisdom of Paul essentially tying his relationship to God way back to the womb, the safe place where growth first begins.  We know a lot about Paul’s gift of evangelism.  We know Paul by his fruit that expanded God’s church enough to include the likes of us.  We also know Paul’s history of his dark in-between years and that’s what caught my attention.  Paul’s story is really a story of God’s provision to redeem the flaws of “in-between” years.

The church is our second womb. It’s a God created place full of flawed people with their own in-between years. People that need a safe place to grow. I’ve begun to understand why God would choose to fill his house with those flawed people and still give them Spiritual gifts.  We admire those gifts when we see them work. They’re not just gifts given because they build his church. They’re the same gifts God uses to rebuild the flawed people who find a home there.  

There’s a blessing in knowing I’m a part of the place of rebuilding where what I lack is not the downfall of the church I love.  God has made the church his provision for each of us where your Spiritual gift can become part of my growth as we learn how to expand his Kingdom together.  

Paul writes of that marvelous work of God and his own in-between years that were designed to destroy.  His words are reminders that God uses gifted, flawed people to reveal himself in each of us, in his church and the world. It wasn’t boasting that gave the Apostle Paul the courage to say “…they praised God because of me.”  It was knowing God had taken the dark flaws of his in-between years and made them the reality of his redemption when “preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.”  

A New System

Hebrews 9
11 But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not made with human hands, that is to say, is not a part of this creation. 12 He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!

Thoughts:
That one phrase “the good things that are now already here” reminded me of the “beginning” in Genesis when God repeatedly used that word “good” to describe his creation. Then he turned it over to mankind to manage and maintain.

The priestly system had seemed so reasonable and efficient but turned out to be not good enough. Our value to God is so much more than what “this creation” [us], can come up with to manage and maintain what God has created. There’s A New System that does not confuse ritual with redemption.

“But when Christ came as high priest of the good things that are now already here…” [us], he brought us relief from the confusion of whether our value to God is in ritual that makes us “outwardly clean” or redemption, through him, that can “cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death.” We no longer have to depend on the ability of creation to fix itself!