Jesus is always inviting us to himself. To come to him AND to come back to him.
Galatians 3 is Paul’s outline on how to read the whole bible, to see hope for bad people on every page. Gracious promise is on every page of the bible, to be received by faith. Not tedious, moralistic teaching with an evangelistic appeal at the end.
From Genesis 3, the bible promises the gracious blessing of God for everyone who breaks the law but believes God’s promises in Jesus.
Genesis: promise proceeds law in the whole framework of the bible. The primary tone of the bible is reassurance and rest, not anxiety and frustration. God loves to give his best to undeserving lawbreakers so that through Jesus, he looks glorious.
1. The flow of Paul’s thought.
2. Try to interpret one commandment through this lense.
3. How the Koran interprets the bible.
1. Galatians 3. Paul reads Genesis onwards and sees everyone stumbling along in life but some clinging to God and his promises, by faith with hope.
We could get into a time machine and interview every OT author and ask “are you teaching justification by faith?” and they would all say “yes, I like the way you put it, of course we are only righteous by faith.”
A heart which clings to God with trust is all God calls us to. “Come to me as you are and receive all the spiritual blessings in the heavenly realms through Christ.” We stumble along, falling forward, clinging to God in Christ and all his promises.
The law functions like an MRI scanner, which highlights our weaknesses and sin within. We are by nature lawbreakers. By choice and by nature. We can comply outwardly and we can fake compliance, so others think we’ll of us. The law helps us by defeating us. It shows us who we are so that, being broken in great pain and humility, I come to see Jesus and our need for him.
Jesus is the point. He came to take the curse of the law for us, death as punishment, do this…or else. We discover in scripture what Jesus suffered for us under the penalty of the law.
V 15-20. The law does not nullify the promises in the covenant to Abraham [Adam and Eve?] The promises stand. The law was added (v19)
Sidebar of the Mosaic law which does not interrupt the gracious promise of God which is received by faith, bad people become justified. All we need is Christ. The law does not add to our justification.
[Two trees: eternal life by faith in the promise completely separate from the tree by which the law is given with the penalty of death. Because of Jesus’ death under the penalty of the law our response is faith in the promise (tree of life) and gratitude for Jesus fulfilling the law and taking the penalty of the law (tree of knowledge and good and evil) both trees represent true faith.]
Marilyn Robinson “The death of Adam” [research this book].
Divine involvement, commitment, attention, care.
When we are heard by others do they hear the narrative of the law with the gospel as the remedy and afterthought. Or do they hear the narrative of redemption, grace, promise and faith in the God who comes to bless and the law as blessing but not for justification.
How would say “do not steal”? Only the God who seeks nothing for himself, who can be trusted, is honest, generous and needs nothing. For us, we are confronted by the law as it reveald we are grasping, selfish and needy.
Jesus loves thieves and tax collectors.
We become like him, because he has come to us.
The promise had come to us, writing his law on our hearts, do the deepest level of intuition, not choice. Surging with generosity according to the 8th commandment, giving it all away with abundant generosity.
A moralistic reading of the bible makes us feel good about ourselves, if we are proud. This moralism fails to see Jesus.
Bible alongside the Koran so that we see the bible more clearly.
I hope you have read the Koran, so that we can help our Muslim friends see that we understand what they believe. We must be complete fair. We can read the bible as if it were like the Koran. This is only a brief treatment of a vast subject.
The bible is structured as a grand narrative with a beginning, middle and end.
The Koran is not ordered as a narrative but as individual books on themes with instructions for obedience and threats for disobedience.
The bible develops themes of biblical theology which grow nd develop as the narrative is fulfilled. e.g. marriage.
Bible – free grace vs Koran merited grace. There is a difference “he will give his grace to everyone who has merit.”
Bible – original sin by nature, we are evil. Koran “man was created weak.” Weakness is less serious than inability. We can’t tip the scales of judgement by being stronger and trying harder.
The gracious promises of the bible are clear and distinct. His promise as gracious. His favour cannot be earned or bought.