The Heart of Paul
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 9 Sunday
The lesson points us to Galatians 4:12-20. Would someone read these verses?
I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. 13 As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. 14 Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself. 15 What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. 16 Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? 17 Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us, so that you may be zealous for them. 18 It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you. 19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 how I wish I could be with you now and change my tone, because I am perplexed about you!
Can you see Paul’s main focus in verse 19? “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you”. Paul’s main focus is “Hey, I’ve shared with you God’s true character and the truth about how He runs His government, and with that knowledge you should now be well on the way to having Christ’s character formed in you.”
Remember Mrs White said in Christ object lessons page 68/ 69;
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Galatians 5:22, 23. This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life. “When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own. It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, (2 Peter 3:12, margin).
The lesson rightly points out in the last paragraph, “To be a follower of Christ is more than just the profession of faith; it involves a radical transformation into the likeness of Christ.”
Is this radical transformation a legal event, or a healing action?
This is genuine salvation, being reborn, regenerated, etc. all the descriptions of Scripture are the same.
There are some in opposition to this, to sum up their position they claim that while our healing view is taught in Scripture, it is only one metaphor amongst many, such as legal, ransom, lost and found and others. And that their view is much richer and deeper because they include all the metaphors while we emphasize only one.
Do you see what they have just done? Metaphor is only metaphor as long as it is directly tied to some reality. If there is no reality to which it is tied it is no longer metaphor but fantasy.
The reality of Scripture is healing, renewal, regeneration into Christlikeness. The metaphors of Scripture all point to this reality. When they say the healing view is metaphor they have removed the reality and thus they are no longer teaching truth but fantasy.
This is the exact same problem Paul was dealing with in Galatia. Paul has real concerns that his work to bring them the healing remedy of Jesus, which when partaken results in this genuine transformation of the inner person, is being interfered with and perhaps will be obstructed. What is it that Paul fears will prevent the Galatians from experiencing this regeneration into Christlikeness?
Paul’s very next words tells us what the false teachers were doing to obstruct the healing truth: “Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says?” (Galatians 4:21).
A legal theology was being introduced and Paul was concerned that such a theology would prevent them from experiencing Christ within. And Paul was right, this is exactly what has happened to Christianity. The human law concept infected the church and salvation has been corrupted into a legal process rather than a healing one.
Sadly, we are still fighting this same battle today!
What is Paul’s concern? What did Paul want to see happen as a result of his labor for them? “Christ is formed in you!”
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