EFFECTS OF THE CROSS 7 of 7
Gal 1:3,4 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father
We considered yesterday the apostle Paul saying that before we came to Christ we had been stuck in a spiritually dead life, a life that was self-centred, godless and unrighteous, and there was nothing we could do to get ourselves out of it. We thought about iron filings and a magnet and saw how it was impossible without an opposing, opposite, stronger force for those iron filings to be set free from the attraction of the magnet. The picture that we have in today’s verses comes with the same idea but, perhaps, expands on it.
Paul, here, says we were trapped in “the present evil age” and we needed rescuing from it. Again the implication is that we were incapable of getting out of it on our own. But what was he saying when he said we were trapped in the present evil age? He was actually saying that we were trapped as part of this age that is godless and unrighteous. Paul is referring to the fallen world when he speaks about this “age”. Since the Fall (see Gen 3) every human being has been born with this tendency to be self-centred and godless, and so subsequently live unrighteous lives; it’s in our genes!
So there we were, one hundred per cent part of the fallen world, unable to escape the tendency to sin – and guilty! Deep down we knew we were guilty. We may have tried to deal with our guilt in a variety of ways. Perhaps we justified why it was all right to do what we did, perhaps we said, well everyone does it (as if that makes it all right!), or perhaps we did what many people do and denied there is any right or wrong and say anything goes (but we didn’t actually believe that either!). So there we were struggling with our guilt, caught up in this self-centred, godless lifestyle that we couldn’t break free from. Helpless and hopeless!
And then Jesus stepped in and dealt with our guilt by paying the punishment for all our wrongs by his death on the Cross. If you accept this, said God, I will not hold your sin against you. Jesus will have taken it. It seemed too good to be true, but we accepted it for we were desperate. But that wasn’t enough! It was wonderful that we were told we were forgiven and cleansed but we were still the old, powerless people we’d been before. So, at the moment of true repentance, God put His own power, part of Himself, His own Holy Spirit, into you and suddenly you felt different, suddenly you were different! There was a channel within you flowing with goodness from heaven. You were still in this world but now different. You had a different motivation and a new power that enabled you to live out that new motivation. You had been rescued from the old evil world that you were part of. The past has been dealt with. The present is empowered. The future is in God’s hands. How wonderful!
(This will be the last of this brief series for the time being. We may continue it in the future)