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Weekly Word

Tuesday
Oct112011

Protecting the Pure Gospel, Part 7

As Paul has finished with the powerful metaphor of the false teachers seducing the Galatians away from Christ, now he moves to another powerful analogy found in the Old Testament, that of Ishmael and Isaac.  This metaphor has particular power precisely because the people of Israel considered this story to be proof that God had chosen them over Ishmael.  They were God's people through biological ancestry.  However, Paul is going to turn this on its head as he turns it into an allegory-allegory is the actual Greek word translated in verse 24 as, "figuratively," "symbolically," and "illustration."

This highlights the reality that the life of the patriarchs and the events of them were often illustrations or allegories of things that God was going to do in the future.  The events were real but God allowed them and even orchestrated parts of them because they had deeper significance that pointed to things God would do in the future.  An example of this is when Abraham is told to sacrifice Isaac.  It is clear God never intended for Abraham to sacrifice his child.  But the whole event is an allegory depicting the heart of God that would one day sacrifice his willing child as the lamb of sacrifice for the sins of the world and in fact in the very place tht Abraham did it.  You could say that through Abraham, God put the spirit world on notice of what he intended to do in that place.  So that late when it happened they would look back and realize the significance of that earlier event.  It is a powerful picture of God's sovereignty and love.

So as we approach this allegory, Paul's main point is that Isaac and Ishmael are a picture of  those under grace and those under the Law.

Ishmael the picture of those born under the Law

Paul points out their desire to be under the law and warns them that they first should listen to what the law says.  Now here Paul is using the term Law to refer to the whole Pentateuch, or first 5 books of the Bible.  They were often collectively referred to as the law even though Genesis doesn't record the law.  It is the genesis or beginnings of God's calling a people to himself in order to receive the law.  So why would they desire to be under the law?  Perhaps fear is a motivating factor, fear that they are not pleasing God unless they perform the law too.  Also, the law gives a certainty of expectation.  I am supposed to do this.  Its commands are by in large external.  And it gives a sense of accomplishment to those who are better at it than others, by comparison.  Obviously these are not good reasons, but then their desire to be under the law is itself not good.

Paul points out different elements of Ishmael's story in the natural so that he might show the spiritual significance.  God had promised Abraham and Sarah a miracle child.  A miracle child because in the natural it was simply impossible for them to have children.  They were too old.  Tired of waiting and in order to do what God promised, Sarah hatches the scheme to give her servant Hagar to Abraham as a proxy, in order to have a child on her behalf.  Thus Abraham would have a son.  Paul's first point is that Ishmael was born by the will and intention of man.  Also, he was born of a woman who was by nature a slave.  Now it is here that Paul begins to turn to the allegory.  Hagar is a picture of what happened at Sinai and what Jerusalem then represented in his day.  At Sinai a nation was "born" to God who would be his "first-born."  However, just as Ishmael was born to a slave woman, so Israel was born under a covenant that was by nature slavery.  Though God loved them and they had a place in his house, they were still slave children.  They represent the works and will of man to do in the flesh that which would please God.  Jerusalem with its temple represented the "fruit" and current representative of that which was birthed at Sinai.

Notice in verse 25 that Paul says the "Jerusalem that now is."  Paul hints at a distinction between the Jerusalem of his day and some other Jerusalem.  It would be easy to think that he is looking ahead to the restoration of Israel in the last days, precisely what we are seeing today.  But when you look at Paul's argument you see that he is going from the natural literal story to a symbolic spiritual meaning.  Thus as Hagar is contrasted with Sarah, so Sinai is to be contrasted to Calvary or Golgatha.  Also the natural Jerusalem is to be contrasted with what John saw in the book of Revelation, the New Jerusalem that will come down out of heaven.  This is the city that is not built by men on this earth.  All the cities and nations of this world are rejected by God, even America.  He will bring a miracle city down to earth just as he birthed miracle children at the cross.  But I get ahead of myself.

The Prophecy of Isaiah 54

Paul quotes a passage from Isaiah that brings up another metaphor that is common in the Bible and that is the metaphor of the barren wife and the fruitful wife.  Of course this is a natural connection because Sarah was such a stigmatized wife, she was barren.  However, Hagar easily conceived.  God had revealed an amazing and powerful truth to Isaiah.  That which is fruitful in the natural is in the end barren in the spirit.  But that which is barren in the natural has potential to be fruitful spiritually.  We see this with the story of Hannah and her miracle child Samuel.  Also in the struggle between Jacob's wives, Rachel and Leah.  Rachel literally killed herself trying to give Jacob children in the natural and still failed to compare to Leah in the flesh.  However Jacob's heart was still towards her and in the end, her son was the salvation of Israel in Egypt who kept Israel from being destroyed.  In fact, all the nation of Israel from then on considered the fruit of Joseph's faith in God and his heart for God.  The reason Paul brings this up is because the Law is fruitful in the natural.  It's punishment and reward system is effective in increasing the amount of "righteous" acts.  Israel looked down on the other nations who did not have the law and their societies were filled with all manner of evil things.  The Gentiles were of the barren birth of God's grace.  God had "overlooked" the rampant sin of the nations.  Yes he intervened from time to time, but generally as they interacted with Israel.  At the Cross the barren wife named Faith was made to be fruitful in the spirit.  But the "fruitful" wife of the Law was revealed to be spiritually barren.

This is what Isaiah celebrates.  He rejoices with the broken hearted barren wife who suddenly finds she has a child and names him laughter, Isaac, a miracle child!

Isaac the picture of those born by faith, through Grace, from above

Paul now turns to Isaac to press home the point with the Galatians.  Isaac was not born at or by man's determination.  He was born by the will of God at God's point in time.  He is a picture of what John speaks of in John 1:12-13.  Christians are saved through their faith in Jesus but that "work" of being saved is done completely by God.  We would have nothing to believe in if God had not sent Jesus, the ultimate miracle child.  Our belief in Jesus would do us no good if he had not taken our place on the cross and suffered in our stead.  And our belief in Jesus would have no hope of a future if it were not for his resurrection and current intercession on our behalf.  The Church was raised up not by the will of men who created a new cult.  It was raised up by God in a miraculous way, like Isaac was.

Isaac is born to the free woman and so is by nature free himself.  Thus those who come to God by His grace have no connection to the law and its slavery.

The hostility between the Law Born and the Grace Born

Here is Paul's final point.  His point is not that no one was ever really saved in the time of the Law.  Ishmael was in Abraham's house along for 13 years before Isaac was born.  Then they both dwelled in the house together for a short time.  But at some point Ishmael began to persecute and be hostile towards Isaac.

Most likely this was planted in him by his mother Hagar.  There was friction between her and Sarah.  Even though she was technically still a slave, she was proud of her ability to give Abraham a child and despised Sarah.  She forgot her place and thought more highly of herself than she should have.  This apparently infected her child and he began to persecute Isaac.  This picture was to show the Galatians that those under the law would persecute those under Grace.  In fact we still see that today even in the church.  There has been an incredible tendency of the "Church" throughout history to be drawn back to keeping the law instead of walking by faith through Grace, following our Lord.

Let me challenge you with this today.  The problem occurs when those who believe in Jesus continue on to do sinful things.  The tendency is to retreat into the law and basically tell people that they can't be saved if they don't do certain things from the law.  If gives a certain sense of comfort when we can point to things we do by our own will and power.  However, we are in danger of losing sight of the grace of God, which Paul will demonstrate in the next chapter.  No matter how "good" a life you live in Christ it will never merit salvation.  Be careful that the subtle pride that rises in your heart because of good performance doesn't lead to you being cast out of the house.  To those who have had trouble performing.  Be careful that you don't let the persecution of those who point out your faults and put you down harden your heart to God.  He cares about you and if you truly put your faith in him he will not only save you from your sins, but will teach you through life to let go of them.

How do we follow Christ?  Dieing to our flesh.  "Pick up your cross and follow me!"

Galatians 4C

Wednesday
Oct052011

Protecting the Pure Gospel, Part 6

Today we are going to be looking at Galatians 4:8-20.  Paul has just finished elaborating on the analogy that Israel under the law was like the child heir of an estate who is under the tutelage of tutors.  It is at this point that Paul begins to drive home his fears for the Galatians and the dangerous situation that has developed around them.

The Previous Bondage

Paul begins in vs. 3 to widen the scope of his argument because even Gentile believers were being tempted to listen to these false teachers. Thus, though this book seems to apply specifically to Christians with a Jewish background under the Law, it is applicable to Gentiles who were in different circumstances, yet in the same condition, under bondage.  The Gentiles were under bondage to their sin, their false gods, and the elements of this world.  They strove and worked to appease gods that they believed existed and, for those who didn't believe in gods, they strove with how to get out of life what they want.  This bondage to sin and the elements of this world is where Paul is going to hammer home his argument.  Now the Jews themselves also served under the Law, which is not God.  Thus they were in bondage to something that wasn't God as well as being in bondage to their sin.  So the Gentiles and Jews were in the same condition.

It would seem strange for a Jew to say to other Jews that they did not know God.  But Paul puts himself in this same camp.  We thought we knew God.  We thought we had the knowledge of God while the Gentiles were in ignorance.  However, the litmus test of Jesus proved they didn't know God.  What seemed obvious to the Jews about the Gentiles was not obvious to them about themselves.  The Law attempted to train them to know God when he showed up and some did recognize him.  But it was only a remnant.  Herein is the difference between the law and the gospel.  To hear and know the Gospel is to know hear and know God.  But to hear and know the Law is to be driven to our knees begging for God's mercy. 

Verse 9, but now that they have embraced Christ and thus come to know God, why would they try to go back to a relationship with the tutor?  Notice Paul quickly asserts that it is probably better to understand that we are known by God (i.e. found by him) than to pat ourselves on the back saying that we know God.  But this seems to be more a passing notice.  His main issue is that they now have a relationship with the Father and they are instead turning back to the tutor.  Let's look at the terminology he uses: Weak, Beggarly elements.  The elements of the law were weak and poor in that they could only focus on the external activity and not the internal heart.  There was no power to change a person's heart.

Are we turning to weak and poor things here in America?  Too many preachers and churches are looking to the weak, beggarly things of this world to enhance their religious life.  Whether it is through the conspiracy theory angle that says the early church used to keep the Feasts and worshipped on Saturday, thus we need to go back to doing that.  Or, it is those who want to continue in bondage to sin and thus they promote an easy grace that absolves us from any worries.  Do what you want and Jesus covers it (a type of spiritual credit card that daddy will pay off).  The external observances of the Law will be exalted at the detriment of the Church and its spiritual life.

Paul begins to specify some of the things they were trying to add to Jesus.  First they were observing days, months, seasons, and years.  This is a clear reference to the Sabbaths and Feasts of Israel.  They felt a need to observe these old feasts out of an attempt to please God.  These things have no strength nor money(beggarly) to pay off our debt to God.  Quit adding to Jesus.  He alone is rich enough to pay your way and strong enough to carry away your sins.  These calendar issues were merely shadows of the reality believers have in Christ.  The sabbath day points to the rest we have in Christ.  We no longer have to strive under the law.  Quit working and start resting in Jesus.  In verse 11 he points out that to forsake the grace of the gospel is to put yourself in danger of forsaking Christ.  He worked too hard to bring them to Christ to let them be pulled back into a relationship of bondage to another.

Paul's Previous Time with Them

Notice Paul is not just persuading them with the Scripture, but also appeals to the relationship he has with them.  Paul had become one of them in order to win them to Christ.  He had spent time among them teaching them the doctrines of Jesus.  In a gracious way, he says in verse 12 that he takes no offense to their turning from his teaching.  Why?  The tender relationship they have.  Paul had an infirmity when he first preached to them.  We are not told what it was, but some believe Paul had a lingering problem with his eyes.  Though his eyes were healed in the sense of sight, it may be that some type of watery, weeping eye problem continued with him, perhaps with puffy eyes.  This unsightly problem would definitely not present a great man of God.  But the Galatians had not rejected him.  In fact quite the opposite, they treated him as if he was an angel from God.  What blessing did they receive that led to such love?  In fact, they loved him so much that they would have been willing to give him their eyes if such a thing were possible.  Here is the zinger in any relationship.  How easy it is to be angry with those who know us most and love us most.  Why?  Precisely because they know to much about us and may call us on our sin from time to time.  Paul challenges them with this.  Am I your enemy because I tell you the truth? 

The False Suitors

This brings Paul to these false teachers.  Though Paul doesn't explicitly lay out the analogy, the terminology he uses presents a courting scene.  The Galatian believers have been wed to Christ, but there are others who have zealously (heatedly with passion) courted them.  This will not lead to a good thing which leads us to a play on words.  The term for church in the Greek is ecclesia and means "called out ones."  Here Paul says that these suitors have come into the ecclesia in order to eccleio them, "to shut out or exclude."  It as if they are drawing the bride of Christ away into another room and shutting the door in order to have them be heated back towards them.  Clearly adulterous language is being used here.  This clearly points out a situation of being excluded from the called out ones (the church), ouch! 

Paul reminds them that zeal and passion are only good if they are applied to a good thing.  Thus Jesus was zealous for the house of God that it be a house of prayer not commerce.  But the zeal of the false teachers and the Galatians was leading them into spiritual adultery and exclusion from the body of Christ.  Quickly Paul turns to more tender words.

He calls them little children.  He had led them to Christ, wed them to Christ and still he labors (double meaning) until Christ is formed in them.  This is not some New Age concept.  It basically means that the character, mind and activity of Christ is what marks them.   Paul's heart is in contrast to the suitors.  Paul is not trying to draw them off to himself, but rather to keep pointing them to Jesus that they may be zealous for him.

May the Lord help us in these last days to keep our eyes on Jesus.  That our passion be about him and him alone.  That we are zealous for the things Jesus for which he was zealous.  That we are not easily led astray by ever wind of doctrine that blows into the church, whether it be adding works to Jesus in some way, or it be promoting another gospel that removes sin and repentance.  May we stand in Jesus upon the sure Word of God.

Galatians 4b

Monday
Sep262011

Protecting the Pure Gospel, Part 5

It is very important that we not lose sight of Paul's point in chapter 3 that the purpose of the Law was not to "save" Israel, but rather to point it to Jesus, the Messiah.  Thus, Christians need to be careful that they use the Law and the Gospel properly.  It has been said that the Law thunders from Mt. Sinai and uncovers sin to bind all under guilt.  But the Gospel speaks softly from Golgatha and offers forgiveness of sin and sonship with Jesus.  The key is to understand that the Law teaches us why we need the Gospel.  So Christians can use the law to convince people that they are sinners, but should never use the law to "convince" other believers in the Gospel of Jesus, that they can't be saved because of their lack of performance.

The Child-Heir Analogy

In Galatians chapter 4, Paul begins to more fully explain the truth that in Jesus we have become "sons of God."  He does this by pressing home more fully the analogy of a child-heir.  The first point he makes is that as long as the heir is a child it is functionally a slave.  There is no current difference even though things will change in the future.  The Father puts the child in the hand of guardians and tutors in order to prepare it for a life of working with the Father and eventually taking over for him.  The second point is that this situation always has an appointed end.  In fact in vs. 4 it is phrased this way, "when the fulness of time had come."  This "fulness" can be pictured like a ship that is being loaded with its shipment.  When the bill of shipping has been completely loaded onto the ship then it is full.  Paul compares these two points with Israel.

Israel was in such a relationship.  God made Israel his child and placed it under the supervision and training of the Law.  But this relationship had an appointed end.  That appointed time is both a quantity and a quality of things to occur.  When the time arrived that God had appointed then the Messiah, Jesus, would come forth and lead Israel into adult sonship.  Paul makes sure to emphasize that Jesus was in every way an Israelite, born of a woman, under the law.  Thus the Messiah identified with Israel and suffered with them in their trials, in bondage to the elements of this world.

Paul inserts the idea of redemption in verse 5.  This goes beyond the analogy.  Israel was not just in need of training.  But in a way similar to how Gomer was so adulterous that she sold herself into slavery, so Israel as God's child was a slave to sin and needed to be redeemed or bought back.  In this sense the prodigal son cannot get up and come home because he is in jail and his fine must be paid before he can go home.  Jesus came to pay their fines so that they could experience adult sonship in God's family.

Paul's use of the word adoption is somewhat confusing at first in light of the analogy.  But as I have said Paul has begun to go beyond the analogy and somewhat leave it in the dust as he explains the greater truth of what Jesus has done for Israel.  Adoption makes sense when we look at the Gentiles.  They did not know God and were never part of his family.  Thus they are being adopted into his family.  But how can we say that Israel is adopted?  Perhaps it would be best to ask ourselves how the Gentiles were so estranged from God.  No matter what if you follow any nation's history backwards you will eventually get to Noah, Ham, Shem, and Japheth.  That is somewhere back there they all "knew" the truth.  There had to be a process of rejecting the truth that became so entrenched and so far back into the past that they were completely spiritually lost.  I believe that Paul is saying a similar process had gone on in Israel in spite of God's continual faithfulness to speak to Israel through the prophets.  Though God had treated Israel as a son, because of its sin it was a slave in prison completely estranged from God and in need of redemption and adoption.

The Adoption of Sons

Paul has made it very clear that the adoption of sons is connected to putting our faith in Jesus Christ in Galatians 3:26.  Thus putting our faith in Jesus Christ becomes that final test to entering into adult-heir status.  Those who believe in Jesus are given the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.  This is a picture of the new birth that Jesus speaks of in John 3.  Being born from above, born again, or born of the Spirit is the point at which our spirit-man becomes alive to God.  Before this we may be religious, pray, and sing worship songs, but our spirit is not alive to God.  Our flesh is running the show satisfying desires that are not as altruistic as they appear on the surface.  But when the Spirit of God dwells in our hearts, He enables our hearts to call God, Abba Father.  A term that a child would use of a Father.  It means a close intimate relationship with God our Father.  This means we are no longer slaves under the Law but sons who are heirs and co-workers with God in his business of saving men through Christ.  

This does bring up a point of contention.  Some Christians seem to cop an attitude that says something to the effect that since I'm an adult son and not under the Law then I can do anything I want.  God's grace covers it all.  I know this isn't spoken of in these verses, but give a second to tie this in.

The question really is this, Does the Law have anything to say to us any more?  Once the child becomes an adult his relationship with the tutor changes, but it doesn't necessarily sever, does it?  In fact governments have long understood that laws must be passed in order to have a society, much less a civil one.  So the Law can give us understanding into man's sinful nature as we craft civil laws.  Also the same lessons that the Law taught us we can teach to others who have not been under the tutor.  Thus the Gentiles are made aware of their sin and coming judgment.  The apostles pleaded with Gentiles to save themselves from their wicked and perverse generation in order to avert the judgment of God.  The law can also personally give us wisdom and insight on those things that tend to bondage in life and seek to avoid them.  Thus Christians have not graduated into a life of lawlessness, but rather are now above the law.  It has been said that we walk upon the law instead of being tread down by it, which is a fair point.  However, even in that we must be careful that we are not trying to re-establish the performance of works in our approach to God.  We now have an intimate, adult, relationship with God by which we need not fear and yet, we still desire to be like him.  May the Spirit of God continue to cry out through us Abba Father, as we give ourselves to his business of saving the lost.

Galatians 4A

Friday
Sep232011

Protecting the Pure Gospel, Part 4

Paul reasons with the Galatians that the law did not cancel the promise to Abraham, nor was it God's plan for saving Israel.  This brings up the natural question, "Wait a minute.  Why was the law given to Israel?"  So beginning in verse 19 of chapter 3 Paul begins to deal with this.

Purpose of the Law

First, we need to see the promise to Abraham as two bookends.  God had given Abraham his Promise, which he was to hold onto by faith, until his Seed would come who would bless all the earth.  Paul inserts in verse 16 that the Seed God was pointing to was Jesus, the messiah.  Thus there is this period of nearly 2,000 years that the descendants of Abraham needed to hold onto this promise by keeping their faith in God.  However, God knew, and even hinted to Abraham, that his descendants would have trouble.  When we think of the context of Moses leading Israel out of Egypt and giving them the law, we see that they were in bondage physically.  But, worse they were in bondage spiritually.  They had begun to worship the gods of the Egyptians and yet, they still had 1400 years until the messiah.  They weren't going to make it and I am not just talking spiritually.  This leads us to the first purpose of the law, which is to restrain the outward actions and effects of sin.  This added restraint would serve to help Israel survive as a nation until Jesus came.  As it is, even with the law, God removed them from the land for 70 years and then brought them back.  

Notice that Paul says that the law was added until Messiah.  That means Jesus is the end of God's desire to use the Law within Israel to restrain the growth of sin.  Of course the people of Israel saw the Law as their means of salvation.  So all this is quite puzzling to the religious leaders of Jesus day.  In fact, it was more than puzzling, it was heresy to them.  

The next question Paul answers is whether or not the Law was "against" the promises of Abraham.  The idea here is that if the law doesn't get rid of the promise then does it somehow conflict or interfere with the promises.  In fact, without getting too technical, the word translated against has more the sense of this, is the Law better or above the promises.  Paul's answer to that is a very strong negation, certainly not!  If the law could have given anyone life then God would have used the righteousness of the Law to justify people.  Only the Promise can give life.  This leads to Paul's second reason for the law.

Not only did sin need restrained, but Israel needed to be trained so that they would be able to recognize the messiah and understand what he was doing.  In fact the metaphor given by Paul is that Israel under the law was like a young child being trained by a tutor to prepare them for life as an adult.  In fact, we can see this analogy in a simpler form, which is pointed out in Hebrews 12:6-11.  That form is the family.  Parents train their children, as they see fit, in order to prepare them for life.  Many "laws" that parents give are not purely moral issues.  They are created to prepare the kid for doing well in life.  Here is an example.  A parent may tell a child that they have to go to bed by a certain time at night.  We can debate about whether that is a good rule or not.  But no one can really argue that there is something inherently good about the hour of 9:00 PM that causes all who go to sleep at that time to be blessed somehow.  In other words, there is nothing inherently evil in a child going to bed at 9:30 PM.  So why does a parent make such a law?  For various reasons.  Some that have immediate applications, such as, restraining a child's immature desire to never go to bed.  However, there are also future implications, such as, knowing how much discipline is needed in going to bed to be able to faithfully satisfy the requirements of a job or business, and taking care of a family.  These type of "laws" are like training wheels that are meant to come off when the child is able to keep their balance on their own.  Granted, the Law of Moses did have some purely moral commands, you shall not kill.  Killing will always be an obvious moral wrong.  But the Law also had preparatory laws that were meant to be "dropped" off when Israel reached national adulthood, which was initiated by the coming of Jesus the Messiah.

The Law restrained sin, and prepared Israel to recognize messiah, but there was one more thing it did.  This is shown in verse 22.  For the person who truly loved God and worked hard to fulfill all the requirements of the law there would be a dark side to the law.  Or better yet, it would reveal a dark side within them.  No one is perfect and even when we are successful on the public persona our private self feels the condemnation of the law.  Thus the Law ends up imprisoning each and every son or daughter of the law under the condemnation and guilt of God's wrath.  This may be a horrible idea, but the point is that those who were being honest with themselves would be driven to the place David was in Psalm 51.  Which is quite simply a series of recognitions:

 

  1. Though I want to please God, my heart is drawn to sin.
  2. I am now under the just condemnation of God for sin that even I despise.
  3. Oh God if I am to be saved it will only be by your mercy and loving kindness.
  4. Please save me from myself!

 

The Pharisees' problem was that they hypocritically justified their sin and "muted" the Laws ability to teach them their need for Jesus.  When he tried to show them this they hated him and "muted" him by crucifying him on a cross.  The law is a witness to us that we are sinners and need God to come down and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.  It is the foundation to the gospel that allows us to stare at the cross and go from horror to brokenness to surrender, and lastly to joy.

Now here is a very important point.  In verse 25 Paul says that Faith takes the place of the tutor or the Law.  We have a tendency to think that grace got rid of the law.  Actually grace satisfied the law and made Jesus the known object of our faith, rather than a "hoped for" act of God.  Let me just say this.  Paul makes it clear that no one has ever been saved by the Law, they have only been cursed by it.  However, in that curse is a blessing for those who will humble themselves and simply wait upon God.  How can they do that?  By faith.  Abraham was saved by faith that looked forward to an unknown blessing of God.  David was saved by believing that God would make a way for his sins to be covered.  Isaiah was saved by trusting God would do what he said he would do, make salvation by his own right arm."  Isaiah waited on the Lord in faith, even though it didn't come in his life time.

Becoming Sons

Paul goes on to talk about the Galatians current "adult" status in God.  Because of their faith in Jesus they were now sons of God who were no longer under the Law.  In fact he points out that those who are baptized in Jesus' name are actually baptized into him and, also put him on.  This may seem puzzling but remember that baptism symbolized death.  Just as Jesus died and was resurrected with the new glorified body provided, so we too die to our old self and take on a new spiritual body.  Definitely these things will be literal and actual in the Ressurrection.  However they have a spiritual application in the now.  Christ becomes the body that we cloth ourselves with spiritually.  I no longer live to please my dead, rotting, flesh but live in order to demonstrate the life and mind of Christ by the help of his indwelling Holy Spirit.

Paul points out in verse 28 that the old distinctions of the Law no longer apply.  Why?  Because both Jews and Gentiles are in the same boat, sinners under God's condemnation.  All may be a part of God's family by faith in the only one who ever "made it" on his own merits, Jesus.  What were those old distinctions that no longer have spiritual implications?  Race.  Economic social status.  Gender.  We all become Abraham's seed in Jesus.  In fact Jesus is the true "melting pot" of the world.  In this sense America doesn't even come close.

Galatians 3B