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Wednesday: Hagar and Mt. Sinai (Gal. 4:21-31) — 5 Comments

  1. I sure need the feeling of the presence of Good in my life! My mind goes blind all the time to this! I need to learn how to accept the fact that God is always with us... He sent us Jesus that left us the Holy Spirit. God is wonderful! May all my attitudes today reflect this sense!

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  2. ''If the covenant relationship God offered to Israel on Mount Sinai is similar to the one given to Amraham, why does Paul identify Mount Sinai with the negative experience of Hagar?" Because Abraham turned to righteous by works at this moment in his life. We all can see the devestation of his sin. Paul was trying to persuade the Galatians of the fallacy of righteousness by works, he was not getting rid of the the ten commands. Like Abraham we obey because we are first gifted the promises and blessings, but if we do fall, He is there for us, if we ask forgiveness. 1John 1:9,10: 2:1-2 For a detailed discussion, may I refer you to Roberts discussion in Tuesday's lesson.

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  3. The argument about mt sinai covenant has been repeated for a while to symbolise Faith by works...my question comes, how otherwise could Israelites have responded to moses, that instead could have symbolized faith through grace?. And for the same case to us how should we respond to God's calling to avoid such mistakes example during baptismal vows?

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    • It is hard to answer “how otherwise could the Israelites have responded to Moses.”

      These were a people who didn’t know the Lord. They heard the thunderings and saw the lightning and were afraid. They were so afraid that they told Moses that they did not want to hear from God directly. That’s why God gave them the law in such an elementary form Gal 3:19, 20, as a tutor to bring them to a knowledge of God and to the deliverer – Jesus Christ. Deut 18:15,16.

      For us, who have learned and are learning from their examples, we have been given the Holy Spirit to teach us - John 14:26. It first begins by being born of water and the Holy Spirit, John 3:5, and then comes the walking in and with the Holy Spirit. Gal 5:16,25.

      To the question about how “to avoid such mistakes … during baptismal vows,” we have to remove or change the concept of baptismal vows. We are asking candidates to acknowledge about 13 items on a list and then they essentially have to repeat “I do” to each of them, signifying that by their works, not the power of the Holy Spirit” they will accomplish them. This mirrors the Israelites – “All that the Lord saith, we will do.” Exod 19:8.

      We are starting the candidates out on the wrong foot. That was Paul’s concern for the Galatians 3:2-5. That’s why he said – “are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?”

      Probably, a simple question to the candidates such as “Would you commit to depending on the Holy Spirit to lead you into all truth and to guide you in every aspect of your daily life? That’s all! No “works” required. No fluff! Jesus and Jesus alone!

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    • Hello Jane,

      Instead of “All that the Lord has said, we will do”, they (like Abraham) could have said, “All that the Lord has said, we will believe.” The ten commandments can be looked at as imperatives or indicatives. God told the Israelites that he brought them out Egypt, out of the house of slavery, by his mighty hand. What part did the Israelites have in this event? They believed God and painted the frame of their doors with the blood of Lamb.

      Similarly, they could have believed that just as God had promised and delivered them from the bondage of slavery to Egyptians, he would by his promise and mighty works, deliver them from the bondage of sin. His promise and power had delivered them from slavery to Egypt—the same would deliver them from the power of sin.

      The ten commandments are ten promises for those who trust that God will work in us to will and to do his good pleasure. By making the focus of my life keeping ten commandments, I have violated the first commandment, that is, “You will have no other gods before me.” Instead, I should love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind, making him the focus of my life, and he will add all these things to my life. Just as he did for the first man, God will make me into his image, not by my power, but by his wonderful works.

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