I participate in a Bible reading program with two other folks at my church in which we read one to two chapters a day, and exchange emails that reflect our comments on the reading. We will complete reading and commenting on the New Testament by the end of 2021.
I base the below three takeaways on my comments generated through this very beneficial reading program. Of course, additional takeaways exist.
A Believer’s Three Post-Conversion Realities: (a) redemption from the law, (b) adoption as a child so as to be an heir, and (c) indwelling by the Holy Spirit.
By what he wrote in Galatians 4:1–7 (NASB95), Paul described three post-conversion realities that emerge from the dramatic change that takes place from being a child (like a slave) to an adopted son and an heir.
1 Now I say, as long as the heir is a child, he does not differ at all from a slave although he is owner of everything, 2 but he is under guardians and managers until the date set by the father. 3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.
First, Jesus Christ redeemed me from being under the law. The NASB95 translate sthe Greek verb exagorazō as “he might redeem,” and it means, “to cause the release or freedom of someone by a means which proves costly to the individual causing the release—‘to redeem, to set free.’” See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 487). New York: United Bible Societies. “Little Kittel” (see Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume (p. 19). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans) reads:
1. Not used in the LXX, this term refers in the NT to Christ’s redeeming work, the stress now being on purchase to freedom from the law (Gal. 4:1ff.). God, of course, pays the price himself in Christ, meeting the law’s claim and thus giving true freedom through justification by faith (Gal. 3:24–25).
How great is that? I didn’t have to earn my salvation, and I don’t have to work to keep my salvation.
Second, I have received the “adoption as” a son of God. The NASB95 translates the Greek noun huiothesia as “adoption as sons.” Obviously, this term includes females so, possibly, a better term is “child.” According to Louw et al., it means, “to formally and legally declare that someone who is not one’s own child is henceforth to be treated and cared for as one’s own child, including complete rights of inheritance.” See Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, pp. 463–464). New York: United Bible Societies. Just think! I have the right to inherit which is why I am “an heir through God.”
Third, because of my status as a child of God, “God has sent forth” the Holy Spirit into my heart. The NASB95 translates the Greek verb exapostellō as “has sent forth.” The Logos 9 sense is to send away for a designated goal or purpose. The verb is in the aorist tense and indicative mood, which typically signals a past time one-time event (see Heiser, M. S., & Setterholm, V. M. (2013; 2013). Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database Terminology. Lexham Press):
The aorist verb tense is used by the writer to present the action of a verb as a “snapshot” event. The verb’s action is portrayed simply and in summary fashion without respect to any process. In the indicative mood, the aorist usually denotes past time …
It always causes to be in awe when I ponder the truth that God the Holy Spirit indwells me.
People in Biblical Error Rebel at Biblical Truth
Second, Paul articulated the unfortunate reality that people in biblical error (e.g., the Judaizers) rebel at biblical truth (e.g., salvation is by grace through faith) when he wrote Galatians 4:16 (NASB95):
16 So have I become your enemy by telling you the truth?
The NASB95 translates the Greek noun echthros as “enemy.” According to Little Kittel, it, “is used in the NT for personal enemies (Gal. 4:16).” See Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. (1985). Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Abridged in One Volume (p. 286). Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans. The NASB95 translates the Greek verb alētheuō as “by telling … the truth.” It has the Logos 9 sense of to speak or make known statements that consistent with fact or reality. Many of us can recall instances in which proclamation of biblical truth make enemies in the church. One commentator (Anders, M. (1999). Galatians-Colossians (Vol. 8, p. 52). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers) wrote:
Apparently, everything had changed. The Judaizers had convinced the Galatians that Paul was not a legitimate apostle and that his gospel, by excluding the law, was deficient. Rather than embrace him, they had shunned and treated him like an enemy because he preached to them the truth of grace.
The proclamation of truth entails risk, but that’s okay!
The Salvation by Grace through Faith Cannot Coexist with Works-Based Salvation
Third, according to Galatians 4:28–31 (NASB95), there is an infinite contrast between salvation by grace through faith (i.e., the children of the free woman) and works-based salvation (i.e., the children of the slave woman):
28 And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise. 29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30 But what does the Scripture say? “Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.” 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.
By this text, Paul referred to the Old Testament passage of Genesis 21:10 (NASB95), which reads:
10 Therefore she said to Abraham, “Drive out this maid and her son, for the son of this maid shall not be an heir with my son Isaac.”
The infinite contrast resides in an eternal difference. The children of the bondwoman are not children of God and co-heirs with Jesus Christ while the children of the free woman are children of God and co-heir with Jesus Christ.
If You are Not Sure You Are Saved
Wouldn’t it be great if you could hook yourself up to a “salvation meter” that would show you for certain your eternal destiny? During my about 39 years of practicing patent law, I never ran across such a meter. And while no such “for certain” meter exists, I believe my new book The Salvation Meter: Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth is an effective vehicle for people to conduct a personal examination of their standing with God.
Against an explanation of the relevant biblical foundation using analytical skills I developed through my law practice, as well as through formal biblical training seminars, The Salvation Meter presents over thirty “tests of salvation” comprising detailed written interrogatories coupled with a unique Personal Salvation Assessment (PSA) to help a person self-diagnose their overall spiritual condition. Although the PSA is not a “for certain” diagnosis, it provides a person with a sense of where they are headed for eternity so they can take appropriate action.
By using The Salvation Meter, self-deceived unbelievers can come to appreciate their lost condition. They can then accept God’s gift of salvation and rejoice in the abundant life filled with new meaning and purpose now and for eternity.
By using The Salvation Meter, Christians who lack assurance of their salvation can gain full assurance. Then they can throw away their “spiritual wobble board” and live the victorious life of a confident believer reaping the wonderful blessings of knowing they are God’s children.
You can find out more about The Salvation Meter, as well as see the great cover design by my Pastor, Josh Mangrum of Fairview Community Church (Fairview, Tennessee), by going to any one of the bookseller websites listed at the end of this email.
Christian Publisher Xulon Press: Author Steve Belsheim – Christian Publisher Xulon Press
The website for The Salvation Meter Book
Please note that I have launched a website The Salvation Meter – Biblical Self-Diagnostic Tests to Examine Your Salvation and Spiritual Growth by which I will continuously update the substantive content of The Salvation Meter with more extensive exegetical material, updated discussion, teaching aids, and the like.
If You Know You are Not a Christian
If you are reading this post and are not a Christian, unless God intervenes, your eternal destination is hell. But, your destiny can change.
Today can be the day of your salvation. Please see my blog (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/04/20/for-god-so-loves-you-2/) for a description of how you can be saved and a more concise description at my (https://stevebelsheim.com/2020/10/20/there-is-hope-even-when-there-seems-to-be-no-hope-2/ ).
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