“Word for Today” – Galatians 3 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

April 17, 2009 at 4:45 am Leave a comment

aig-1One of the great concerns looming on the American political landscape these days are the endless bailout packages relentlessly being pushed through Washington DC.  A bailout for the subprime mortgage lenders.  A bailout for Wall Street.  A bailout for the automakers.  Many Americans, in the face of such astronomical government spending, are suffering from what has been popularly deemed as “bailout fatigue,” both because they are exhausted by the expenditures of countless dollars and because many are not so sure that even these huge injections of capital into ailing industries will actually accomplish its stated goal of stimulus.  Indeed, one of the most pointed questions concerning these bailout packages was posed last month by Representative Gresham Barrett from South Carolina to Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury, when he asked, “The $64 trillion question is, ‘What’s the backup plan?’ I mean, if everything fails, what do we do?”  Geithner’s response was clear and unequivocal: “Congressman, this plan will work.”  In other words, there’s no need for a plan b because Geithner’s plan a is so sure and sturdy.

When reading the Bible, many people assume that the Old Testament and the New Testament represent God’s plan a and plan b respectively.  In the Old Testament, we meet a man named Moses who “lays down the law,” so to speak, with the Ten Commandments and other such pedagogical guidance.  Tragically, however, the ancient Israelites break these laws and so require salvation from their transgressions.  Enter the New Testament and God’s plan b of Jesus who comes not with the law of God, but with the grace of God to forgive us our sins.  Such is the view of many Christians.

As popular as this view might be among many of the faithful, we learn in our reading for today from Galatians 3 that it’s incorrect.  The Old Testament was not God’s plan a the New Testament is not God’s plan b.  Instead, throughout the ages, there has been only one plan:  Jesus.  Indeed, Paul says that Abraham, who lived in the Old Testament and 430 years before Moses received the law from God, knew of only one divine plan.  And this divine plan was the plan of Jesus:  “The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.  The Scripture does not say ‘and to seeds,’ meaning many people, but ‘and to your seed,’ meaning one person, who is Christ” (verse 16).  Paul, quoting Genesis 12:7, insists that God planned to save the world through Jesus and his grace all along.  He never planned to save us through a laundry list of laws.

What, then, is the purpose of Moses and the law?  Paul says, “It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come…So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith” (verses 19, 24).  The purpose of the law was simply to point us to God’s singular plan of Christ and the salvation to be found in him and him alone.

Why is this important?  For two reasons.  First, it reminds us that our salvation is not of our own doing.  It is not due to our own morality, integrity, intelligence, or decency.  Our salvation is wholly the work of Christ.  Second, it reminds us that we need never fear whether or not God’s plan of salvation will work.  After all, it’s not as if God tried to save us through the law of Moses, but then that didn’t work and so now he’s trying to save us through the cross of Christ, and if that doesn’t work, maybe he’ll try something else.  No.  God’s plan has always and only been Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins and the salvation of our souls.  “But,” we may ask, “What’s the backup plan?  I mean, if Jesus fails, what do we do?”  To which our heavenly Father responds, “This plan will work.”  Indeed, this plan already has worked.  For Christ has already conquered sin, death, and Satan.  And he’s surer and sturdier than even a bailout package.

Entry filed under: Word for Today.

“Word for Today” – Galatians 2 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com “Word for Today” – Galatians 4 – www.concordialutheranchurch.com

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