ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 178


had signs of God’s new world existing in their community, so why should
they now think they needed to follow Jewish observances?
Paul provides an in-depth discussion of Israel’s history, including
the crucial sequence of Abraham, the giving of the Law under Moses,
and then the coming of Jesus. Although Abraham lived before the
Jewish law was established, he received God’s promises of land and a
worldwide family, and he believed those promises by faith: “Abraham
­believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.”
Paul argues that the later coming of the Jewish law can’t undo the
covenant made with Abraham. The Law was given to God’s people only
for a period of time, as a “guardian” until the Messiah came. Now that
Jesus has come, everyone who has faith in him becomes a true child
of Abraham and an heir of the promises made to him. The dividing
lines between Jew and Gentile are dissolved, and now one family of
­Abraham exists through faith in Jesus.
Because of their equal status in God’s family, starting to follow the
requirements of the Jewish law would be a giant step backward for the
Galatians. God’s story has already moved on! All people are now welcome to receive Jesus and join the family—without having to become
Jewish or follow Jewish law.
Now just one question remains: If the Gentiles don’t follow the Jewish law, what will keep them from living immoral lives? Paul emphasizes
that God’s Holy Spirit living in them empowers them to follow the good
ways of God’s Kingdom. As Paul says in closing, “It doesn’t matter
whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether
we have been transformed into a new creation. May God’s peace and
mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people
of God.”

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