Gálatas 4: Esclavitud y Libertad

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Ustedes ya son hijos y hijas. Dios ha enviado a nuestros corazones el Espíritu de su Hijo, que clama: ¡Abba! ¡Padre! Así que ya no eres esclavo sino hijo/a; y como eres hijo/a, Dios te ha hecho también heredero (Galatas 4:6-7).

¿No estás contento de que nuestra relación con Dios no es transaccional?

¿Y si Dios fuera como “Facebook friend” que después de un “mal día” simplemente un-friend a usted? ¿Quién iba a ser cómodo en su relación con un Dios así? ¿Podría alguna vez realmente amar a Dios sabiendo que se estaban evaluando constantemente? O, volviendo a la pregunta alrededor, ¿podría alguna vez realmente amar a Dios sabiendo que su amor fue comprado con la riqueza o la fama?

¿No estás contento de que nuestra relación con Dios es una relación real?

En Gálatas 4, el apóstol Pablo describe lo que significa ser un niño de un (incondicional) promesa. Cuando se nos promete un regalo (como amistad), sólo necesitamos creer en la promesa. La promesa es incondicional. No tenemos que hacer nada para ganar el regalo. Eso es lo que la palabra, regalo, implica. La buena noticia es que la gracia de Dios es un regalo.

Ley funciona de manera diferente. La ley es una promesa condicional. Si obedeces la ley, entonces usted gana la recompensa prometida por la ley. Por ejemplo, si se aplica para convertirse en un ciudadano de los EE.UU. , la ley que cubre la ciudadanía se aplica. Si usted cumple con las condiciones de esta ley, entonces usted es elegible para convertirse en ciudadano. Si usted no cumple con las condiciones de la ley y que desee la recompensa de la ley, entonces usted es un esclavo de la ley (y el deseo) hasta que cumpla con esas condiciones.

Con este argumento relativo a las promesas incondicionales (la gracia) y condicionales (ley), Pablo está haciendo dos puntos:

  1. Estar bajo la ley es como los niños que esperan para ser lo suficientemente mayor como para heredar de sus padres (vv 1-3). Estar bajo la ley implica la inmadurez. Los adultos maduros están bajo no tales restricciones. Lo que los adultos prefieren ser un niño otra vez?
  2. Estar bajo Evangelio implica la libertad de la ley, pero no implica la ausencia de relación. Somos adoptados hijos- hijos de la promesa (vv. 5-7, 23-28) de Dios. La gente libre no se comportan como los esclavos, porque están en relación con sus padre , que incluye tener una herencia (v 30).

La discusión de Pablo de nuestra libertad en Cristo continúa en el capítulo 5.

Discusión de Pablo sobre la relación entre Abraham y sus dos mujeres, Agar y Sara, ha generado una gran polémica en los últimos años. Pablo argumenta que estar bajo el pacto mosaico (la Ley de Moisés) es como ser un esclavo de la ley. Porque Agar era una esclava , que equivale a los dos (la ley y Agar) en su alegoría. Esto hace que la acidez de los intérpretes judíos porque los Judios eran descendientes biológicos de Sarah, no Agar.

El argumento de Pablo gira en torno a la alianza de Dios con Abraham. Los Judios no han tomado en serio la segunda mitad del pacto a Abraham: Haré de ti una nación grande, y te bendeciré; haré famoso tu nombre, y serás una bendición (Génesis 12:2 – 3). El pacto con Abraham exigió que Abraham se convierta en una bendición ( וֶהְיֵ֖ה בְּרָכָֽה ) [a las naciones] – que esencialmente significa que el Evangelio necesita ser contada. Los gálatas eran como Sarah (y los Judios no eran) porque cumplieron de manera más completa las obligaciones del pacto de Abraham. Como mínimo, compartiendo el amor de Dios tiene que comenzar con el intercambio de quién es Dios! Niceness no es suficiente, la obediencia a la ley no es suficiente (Gálatas 5:14).

Nuestra pregunta es: ¿Somos hijos de Agar o de Sarah?

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Guest Blogger: Jesse D. Colón

Mural in Riverside Presbyterian Church
Mural in Riverside Presbyterian Church

This morning we welcome our first guest blogger, Jesse D. Colón.

Jesse D. Colón Arroyo, is a loud NewYorican who loves God and Music. He studied music in Puerto Rico and served as the Director of Music Ministries for 7 years at the church his parents founded as a mission, “Evangelio de Amor”, alongside his older brother and current pastor, Justin.  He moved to Virginia with his wife and two children in 2011 and now currently serves as a Music Coordinator at Riverside Presbyterian Church in Sterling, Virginia.

Worship

What is worship?  As a music leader in church I found defining this word harder than I thought.  It’s a word used many times to describe a type of service in church and other times referred as the musical section within the order of a service.  But if we adhere to these definitions we’re limiting worship to something that happens a day of the week or an hour within the day. Is worship done with afterwards?  Though many may agree with this perspective, it is my understanding that God has more in mind.

Looking at the word

Oxford Dictionary explains its origin from Old English–“weorthscipe” ‘worthiness, acknowledgment of worth’ (worth-shipping)

This definition could lead us to understand worship as acts of recognition.  Something we say or do to demonstrate that the object of our worship is worthy.  Some people might be okay with leaving it here but this perspective is limited.   It could be made into a checklist of things to do, and as soon as we’re done with the list, one could interpret that we’re done relating with God.  This could not be further from what Scripture teaches us.  Yes. God is worthy, but a single act of recognition is not enough.  As reflected in the Jesus of the gospels, the God I serve is worthy of my time, worthy of my attention, worthy of my affection, worthy of my resources, worthy of my service, and worthy of everything I am or have. Worship is more than just an act but also an attitude, a way of living, and a life surrendered completely and wholly to God.  All the acts of recognition we can come up with are merely reflections of what worship causes in our lives.

What does the Bible say?

The first appearance of the word “worship” in scripture is in Genesis 22:5 when Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac as an offering to God.  The Hebrew word used is shachah which literally means to prostrate or bow down.  In Genesis 24:26 we can understand this meaning because it’s very direct in saying: “Then, the man bowed down and worshiped the Lord”.  Interpreting these passages support the perspective that worship is an act of offering up or sacrificing something to God.  But we should ask ourselves: what does God want us to offer or sacrifice? In the passage of Genesis 22, God stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son Isaac because it was all a test of obedience and trust in God.  1 Samuel 15:22 explains it clearly: “…Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as obeying the Lord?  To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.”

God wants us. From creation to Moses and the Ten Commandments to Jesus dying on a cross, it’s always been about God reaching out and us reciprocating.

I think this couldn’t be any more clear as when we read: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of Gods mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God-this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). 

What’s more revealing is that worship is what we live for and what makes us human. Thomas G. Long expresses in his book Beyond the Worship Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship [1]:

“Worshiping God is not simply a good thing to do; it is a necessary thing to do to be human.  The most profound statement that can be made about us is that we need to join with others in bowing before God in worshipful acts of devotion, praise, obedience, thanksgiving and petition.”(17)

A passage that gives light to this statement is Isaiah 43.  This is a beautiful chapter where the prophet is revealing God’s word to the people of Israel and he starts by saying in the first verse:

“But now, this is what the Lord says-he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israeleveryone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:1,7).

Granted that this was written specifically to Israel, if we understand that today we are his children and his people, then here’s what we were made for.  Worship is not something we do on Sunday mornings, but what we were made for–we were created to bring God glory.  This reminds me of a Tim Hughes song called “Living for Your Glory” where there’s a part he sings: “in everything I say and do, let my life honor You, here I am living for Your glory”.

Walking this Path

I don’t know who coined the phrase “We are what we Love”.  However, I think it gives us insight on how we can start to live this life of a worshiper described in Romans 12:1–to feel completely whole and human as God intended us to be from the beginning.  Bob Kauflin expresses in his book Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God [2]: “while it’s simplistic to say worship is Love, it’s a fact that what we love most will determine what we genuinely worship”(25). Kauflin goes on to say:

“For years we’ve read or experienced firsthand the “worship wars”-conflicts over music styles, song selection, and drums. But far too little has been said about the worship wars going inside of us. And they’re much more significant. Each of us has a battle raging within us over what we love most –God or something else.”

The Great Commandment says: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind” (Deuteronomy 6:5; Luke 10:27).

No matter what stage or season in life we might find ourselves the life of a worshiper is constantly asking this question:  do I love the Lord my God with all that I am? That is worship.

Worship Workshop

On Saturday February 8, 2014 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Jesse D. Colón (Jesse@RiversideChurch.com) and Noemi Simmons (Noemi@Riversidechurch.com) are hosting a Worship Workshop at Riverside Presbyterian Church (www.RiversideChurch.com).  A continental breakfast and lunch will be served.  If this is interesting to you, please contact Jesse or Noemi for more details.

_________________

[1] Thomas G. Long. 2001.  Beyond the Worship Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship.  Herdon:  Alban Institute. (www.Alban.org).

[2] Bob Kauflin.  2008. Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God.  Wheaton: Crossway.

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Galatians 3: Law and Gospel

Law and Grace by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them. Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for the righteous shall live by faith (Galatians 3:10-11 ESV).

The question of the relationship between law and Gospel is one of the hottest debates today; perhaps, this could be said of the entire history of the church.

F.F. Bruce, in his Commentary on Galatians (1982. NIGTC.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans.  147-191), divides chapter 3 of Galatians into 7 sections:

  1. The primacy of faith over law (vv 1-6)
  2. The blessing of Abraham (vv 7-9)
  3. The curse of the law (vv 10-14)
  4. The priority and permanence of the promise (vv 15-18)
  5. The purpose of the law (vv 19-22)
  6. Liberation from the law (vv 23-25) and
  7. Jews and Gentiles one in Christ (vv 26-29).

Every verse is carefully parsed in book after book because the content of these 29 verses seriously affects our attitude about Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the secular society.  Clearly, a one-page reflection cannot address all that is being said here.

For example, we read in verse 2:  Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? (v 2).  Here the Apostle Paul makes the assumption that the Galatians know firsthand the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives. The inference is that this experiential knowledge of the Holy Spirit is not only evident, but the sole source of eternal salvation. This question alone condemns religions focused on law as insufficient to warrant salvation. Among Christians, this statement would likely identify you as a charismatic. Do you think Paul is a charismatic?

In this same vein, one could argue that verse 28 defines the basis for social progress over the past 2,000 years, but especially in the modern and postmodern eras.  Paul writes:  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  Tim Keller, in his study guide (Galatians for You. 2013. Good Book Company. 92-93), observes that Paul has broken down three important barriers:  the cultural barrier (neither Jew nor Greek), the class barrier (neither slave nor free), and gender barrier (neither male nor female).  Do you think Paul is politically correct?

Paul’s comments about who is chosen probably got him in the most trouble. Verse 6 quotes Genesis 15:6: And he [Abraham] believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. Abraham is not righteousness of himself, he is counted as righteous. Why?  Because he believed God’s promise of providing him an heir. Why is this remarkable?  Abraham was 100 year old at the time and his wife was 90.  This principle of justification by faith alone expressed here (v 11) and in Romans 3:20-27 was the foundation of the protestant reformation [1].  This is because time and time again parts of the church have erred in adding other requirements, especially cultural requirements, on believers beyond that of faith in Christ.  What cultural add-ons to faith can you identify today?

Does justification by faith alone mean that we can ignore the law?  Certainly not! (v 21). The law of Moses restrains evil, instructs us, and guides us until we come to faith (vv 24-25).

Elsewhere Paul wrote:  But whatever gain I had [under law], I counted as loss for the sake of Christ (Philippians 3:7 ESV).

[1]Martin Luther was nearly martyred for his faith at the Diet of Worms; but his own journey of faith began with understanding of this passage (Roland H. Brainton. 1995.  Here I Stand.  New York:  Penguin Group.  49-50, 146-149).

Questions

  1. How was your week? Did anything special happen?
  2. Do you have questions from chapter 2?
  3. Why does Paul call the Galatians foolish? What does Paul mean by foolish?  (See Titus 3:3,9)
  4. What question does Paul ask in verse 2? Why is it interesting? (vv 3-6)
  5. What is Paul’s point about Abraham? (Hint:  Genesis 15:1-6)
  6. Who is considered a child of Abraham? (v 7)
  7. What is the condition of faith that counts for Abraham and us? (vv 8-9)
  8. What is the curse of the law? (v 10; Deuteronomy 27:26, 28:58-59, 30:10)
  9. Was Christ cursed of God? Why? (Deuteronomy 21:23)
  10. Why were the Galatians blessed? (v 14)
  11. What is Paul trying to say about the covenant with Abraham? (v 15)
  12. What is the difference between inheritance by law and inheritance by promise? (vv 18-22)
  13. What is Paul’s point about guardians and law? (vv 23-26)
  14. What is the effect of baptism? (vv 27-29)

 

Galatians 3: Law and Gospel

Also see:

Galatians 4: Slave and Free 

Galatians 2: Jews and Gentiles 

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

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Gálatas 3: Ley y Evangelio

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Todos los que viven por las obras que demanda la ley están bajo maldición, porque está escrito: Maldito sea quien no practique fielmente todo lo que está escrito en el libro de la ley. Ahora bien, es evidente que por la ley nadie es justificado delante de Dios, porque el justo vivirá por la fe (Galatas 3:10-11 NVI).

La cuestión de la relación entre la ley y el Evangelio es uno de los debates más calientes de hoy, tal vez, esto podría decirse de toda la historia de la iglesia.

F.F. Bruce, en su Commentary on Galatians (1982 NIGTC Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 147-191), divide el capítulo 3 de Gálatas en las 7 secciones:

  1. La primacía de la fe sobre la ley (vv 1-6)
  2. La bendición de Abraham (vv. 7-9)
  3. La maldición de la ley (vv 10-14)
  4. La prioridad y permanencia de la promesa (vv. 15-18)
  5. El propósito de la ley ( vv 19-22)
  6. Liberación de la ley ( vv 23-25) y
  7. Judios y gentiles uno en Cristo (vv 26-29).

Cada verso se analiza detenidamente en un libro tras otro , porque el contenido de estos 29 versículos afecta seriamente nuestra actitud sobre el judaísmo , el cristianismo , el islam y la sociedad secular. Es evidente que un reflejo de una página no puede hacer frente a todo lo que se está diciendo aquí.

Por ejemplo, leemos en el versículo 2: ¿Recibieron el Espíritu por las obras que demanda la ley, o por la fe con que aceptaron el mensaje? (v 2). Aquí el apóstol Pablo hace la suposición de que los gálatas sabemos de primera mano la obra del Espíritu Santo en sus propias vidas. La inferencia es que este conocimiento experimental del Espíritu Santo no sólo es evidente, pero la única fuente de salvación eterna. Esta pregunta solo condena a las religiones centradas en la ley como insuficientes para justificar la salvación. Entre los cristianos, esta declaración probablemente se le identifica como un carismático. ¿Crees que Pablo es un carismático?

En este mismo sentido, se podría argumentar que el versículo 28 define las bases para el progreso social en los últimos 2.000 años, pero especialmente en las épocas moderna y postmoderna. Pablo escribe: Ya no hay judío ni griego, esclavo ni libre, hombre ni mujer, sino que todos ustedes son uno solo en Cristo Jesús. Tim Keller, en su guía de estudio (Galatians for You. 2013. Good Book Company. 92-93), observa que Pablo ha roto tres barreras importantes:  la barrera cultural (a judío o griego), la barrera de clase (ni esclavo ni libre), y la barrera de género (varón ni mujer). ¿Crees que Paul es políticamente correcto?

Los comentarios de Pablo acerca de quién es elegido probablemente le puso en más problemas. El versículo 6 cita Génesis 15:6: Abram creyó al Senor, y el Senor lo reconoció a él como justo. Abraham no es la justicia de sí mismo, se cuenta como justos. ¿Por qué? Porque él creyó en la promesa de que le proporcione un heredero de Dios. ¿Por qué es este notable? Abraham tenía 100 años de edad en ese momento y su mujer tenía 90 años. Este principio de la justificación por la sola fe expresada aquí (v 11), y en Romanos 3:20-27 era el fundamento de la reforma protestante [1]. Esto se debe a que el tiempo y la hora de nuevo partes de la iglesia se han equivocado en la adición de otros requisitos, especialmente los requisitos culturales, a los creyentes más allá de la de la fe en Cristo. ¿Qué complementos culturales de la fe puede identificar?

¿Tiene justificación por la sola fe significa que podamos ignorar la ley? ¡De ninguna manera! (v 21). La ley de Moisés fue dada para frenar el mal, para instruirnos y guiarnos hasta que llegamos a la fe (vv 24-25).

En otro lugar Pablo escribió: Sin embargo, todo aquello que para mí era ganancia [bajo de la ley], ahora lo considero pérdida por causa de Cristo (Filipenses 3:7 NVI).

_____________________

1/  Martín Lutero fue casi martirizado por su fe en la Dieta de Worms, pero su propio camino de fe comienza con la comprensión de este pasaje (Roland H. Brainton. 1995.  Here I Stand.  New York:  Penguin Group.  49-50, 146-149).

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Whelchel Sees Call in Work, not just Ministry

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Hugh Whelchel.  2012.  How Then Should We Work?  Rediscovering the Biblical Doctrine of Work. Bloomington:  WestBow Press.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Mental habits are hard to break.  One particularly insidious habit is to worship the “god of the gaps” (gog) rather than the sovereign, Triune God.

Gog worship shows up in several ways.  One is the gog worshiped only between 11 and 12 a.m. on Sunday mornings.  Another gog appears like insurance—a kind of Aflac god who handles all the problems that we cannot.  Still another gog is observed only indirectly (a shadow gog)—whenever anyone expresses a concept of God that is too large (or too inconvenient)—that person is labeled a fanatic or fundamentalist.  Gog worshipers are easy to make fun of until one shows up in the mirror:  Gog worship is the default setting of the postmodern world–even for an economist turned pastor like myself.

In his book, How Then Should We Work, Hugh Whelchel reminds us that God created the heavens and the earth—everything. Everything is not a spiritual concept; everything includes everything.  All that we do—whether inside or outside the church; whether inside or outside the home—should be done in the name of Christ (Colossians 3:17).  God is as a powerful worker—he creates; he created everything (7).

Whelchel states his purpose as:  to explore the Biblical intersection of faith and work, attempting to understand the difference between work, calling, and vocation and how they should be Biblically applied in our daily lives(5).  His book is organized in 6 chapters which focus on carefully defining the concept of call. These chapters are preceded by a forward, preface, and acknowledgments and are followed by a biography of the author, notes, and suggested readings.

In the important area of defining call, Whelchel (75-77) cites 5 calls. He distinguishes the first call, the call to faith in Christ, as primary and cites 4 secondary calls—the call to family, church, community, and vocation.

Whelchel’s (56) concept of Biblical work focuses on 5 concepts, which are:

  1. The Four-Chapter Gospel (creation, fall, redemption, and restoration).
  2. The Cultural Mandate (The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15 ESV)).
  3. The Kingdom of God (being salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-14)).
  4. Common Grace (seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare (Jeremiah 29:7 ESV).
  5. The Biblical Meaning of Success (as seen in Jesus’ Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25:1-13).

Whelchel’s observed in the Parable of the Talents that the reward was the same for the 5-talent or 2-talent servants—we need only worry how to use our talents, not obsess over how many talents we are given.

In his final chapter, Whechel asks:  how do we integrate our work and our faith in a way that is pleasing to God? The first of his 9 responses to this question is the most telling:  we must rediscover that our primary vocation is the call to follow Jesus (117).

Whelchel holds a master of divinity from Reformed Theological Seminary; he is a former technology worker; and currently serves as executive director of the Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics (www.TIFWE.org) located in McLean, VA.  As he claims, Whechel’s book is: a Biblical primer on integrating our faith and work (xxviii). He reviews the literature on vocational calling at great length and why we should care. Missing here perhaps is a link that applies these insights in the era of gog.  Still, I found my own faith journey reflected in page after page.  Perhaps you will too.

Whelchel Sees Call in Work, not just Ministry

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Galatians 2: Jews and Gentiles

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Twins
Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,

there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Gal 3:28 ESV).

Are you led by the spirit?

One of the most striking things about the Apostle Paul is that he was led by the Holy Spirit.  Paul writes:  I went up [to Jerusalem] because of a revelation (v 2). In Acts 16:7-9, 14, we read that Paul was forbidden by the spirit to enter Bithynia and later had a vision of a man of Macedonia bidding him to come.  Following this vision, Paul entered Macedonia where he met a woman named Lydia in Philippi—an unlikely place to start a church because it was a Roman city.  Yet, the Philippian church was not only established, it became one of Paul’s strongest supporters.

Council of Jerusalem

Why would the spirit lead Paul to Jerusalem and into open controversy even with Peter over the relationship between Jews and Gentiles?

Paul’s ministry was on the line.  He writes:  set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain (v 2).  Paul was teaching that salvation was available to anyone—Greek or Hebrew—through Jesus Christ and through Jesus Christ alone (v 4).  Others were teaching that one needed to become a Jew and obey the law of Moses in order to become a Christian (v 16).

After Paul shared his teaching with church leaders in Jerusalem, it was resolved that Paul and Peter taught the same Gospel.  However, Paul’s ministry focused on Gentiles while Peter’s focused on Jews (vv 7-9).  Paul was reminded, however, that he needed to remember the poor—which he was happy to do (v 10).

The Jerusalem discussions did not, however, settle the problem.  Peter and others, such as Barnabas, were pressured to adhere to Jewish dietary regulations (vv 12-13).  The pressure must have been great because Peter himself was one of the first to argue for evangelization of Gentiles and he personally witnessed a Gentile Pentecost in Jappa (Acts 11:1-18).  For this reason, Paul felt compelled to confront Peter openly during a visit to Antioch about his backsliding on the question of eating with Gentile converts (vv 11-14).

Christ Alone

What was the heart of Paul’s concern?  Our salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ, not through obeying the law of Moses (v 16).  Our faith is in Jesus alone; our faith is not in Jesus plus other things.

While the Holy Spirit may lead us into different ministries and we must all care for the poor, Christian unity lies in Christ alone.

Questions

  1. How was your week? Did anything special happen?
  2. Do you have questions from chapter 1?
  3. What was the subject of Paul’s visit to Jerusalem? Who did he take along? (vv 1-2)
  4. Was Paul anxious? About what?  (v 2)
  5. What is the role of revelation in verse 2?
  6. What was Titus’ role? (v 3)
  7. Who are the false brothers? What is Christian freedom? What is the slavery Paul is referring to? (v 4)
  8. What is the outcome? Who benefitted? (v 5)
  9. Who are the influential? (vv 7-9)
  10. What was the agreement that came out of the Jerusalem meeting? What key points were made? (vv 7-10)
  11. What is the role of charity? Was charity a requirement? (v 10)
  12. Did the Jerusalem agreement stick? Why not? (vv 11-13)
  13. How did Paul respond? (v 14) Why was this response appropriate or not?
  14. How did Paul justify his response? (vv 15-16)
  15. What is Paul’s point about sin? (v 17)
  16. How are we justified before God? How are we not justified? (vv 17-21)
  17. What does it mean to be dead to the law? (v 19)
  18. How do you define grace?
  19. What is law? What about Gospel?

Galatians 2: Jews and Gentiles

Also see:

Galatians 3: Law and Gospel 

Galatians 1: Christ Alone

Christian Spirituality 

Looking Back 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2zRkNMJ

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Gálatas 2: Judios y Gentiles

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Twins

Por Stephen W. Hiemstra

Ya no hay judío ni griego, esclavo ni libre, hombre ni mujer,
sino que todos ustedes son uno solo en Cristo Jesús
(Galatas 3:28 NVI).

¿Está Guiado por el Espíritu?

Una de las cosas más sorprendentes sobre el apóstol Pablo es que él fue llevado por el Espíritu Santo. Pablo escribe: Fui en obediencia a una revelación [a Jerusalén] (v 2).  En Hechos 16:7-9, 14, leemos que Pablo fue prohibido por el Espíritu para entrar en Bitinia y más tarde tuvo una visión de un hombre de Macedonia mandándole venir. Siguiendo esta visión, Pablo entró en Macedonia, donde conoció a una mujer llamada Lidia en Filipos-un lugar poco probable para comenzar una iglesia porque era una ciudad romana. Sin embargo, la iglesia de Filipos no sólo fue establecida, se convirtió en uno de sus partidarios más fuertes.

La Relación entre los Judios y Gentiles

¿Por qué el espíritu llevar a Pablo a Jerusalén y en polémicas abiertas incluso con Pedro sobre la relación entre los Judios y gentiles?

El ministerio de Pablo estaba en la línea. Él escribe: me reuní en privado con los que eran reconocidos como dirigentes, y les expliqué el evangelio que predico entre los gentiles, para que todo mi esfuerzo no fuera en vano (v 2). Pablo estaba enseñando que la salvación estaba disponible para cualquiera, el griego o el hebreo, por Jesucristo y por medio de Jesucristo solamente (v 4). Otros enseñaban que uno necesita para convertirse en un Judio y obedecer la ley de Moisés, con el fin de convertirse en un cristiano (v 16).

El Conselo de Jerusalén

Después de que Pablo compartió sus enseñanzas con los líderes de la iglesia en Jerusalén, se resolvió que Pablo y Pedro les enseña el mismo Evangelio. Sin embargo, el ministerio de Pablo se enfocó en los gentiles, mientras que Pedro se centró en Judios (vv 7-9). Paul recordó, sin embargo, que tenía que recordar a los pobres (v 10).

Las discusiones de Jerusalén no, sin embargo, colocar el problema. Pedro y otros, como Bernabé, fueron presionados para adherirse a normas dietéticas judías (vv 12-13). La presión debe haber sido grande porque el propio Pedro fue uno de los primeros en argumentar a favor de la evangelización de los gentiles. Fue también testigo de un Pentecostés Gentil en Jappa (Hechos 11:1-18). Por esta razón, Pablo se sintió obligado a confrontar a Pedro abiertamente durante una visita a Antioquía por su reincidencia en la cuestión de comer con los gentiles convertidos (vv 11-14).

¿Cuál fue el Corazón de la Preocupación de Pablo?

Nuestra salvación es por la fe en Jesucristo y no a través de la obediencia a la ley de Moisés (v 16). Nuestra fe es sólo en Jesús, nuestra fe no es en Jesús, más otras cosas.

Mientras que el Espíritu Santo nos guíe en diferentes ministerios y debemos todo el cuidado para los pobres. La unidad cristiana se encuentra solamente en Cristo.

Gálatas 2: Judios y Gentiles

Otros:

Gálatas 1: Solo Cristo

Otras cosas por la red:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2vfisNa

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MacGregor Aids Authors; Simplifies Social Media

Writer_01072014Chip MacGregor (a.k.a. Amanda Luedeke). 2013.  The Extroverted Writer:  An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform.  CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

People are funny.  Back during the cold war, the wife of a Russian friend of mine kept calling to ask him to come home.  Vladimir, she would say, I cannot take care of the kids and do the shopping too!  When she came to visit, the complaints continued.  That is, until she visited a local department store.  At that point she was lost in choices.  She asked:  how do you Americans ever know what to buy?

As a first-time author, I feel a bit like Vladimir’s wife amid all the publishing alternatives.  At least 4 intimidating questions arise:

  1. Which stylebook should I follow?
  2. Do I promote my writing with a website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, or some other social media?
  3. Do I self-publish, hire an agent, or look for an established publisher?
  4. Do I publish in paperback, hardcover, or eBook?

Worse, the questions are not interdependent of one another.  In the middle of all this uncertainty, Chip MacGregor’s book, The Extroverted Writer, offers welcome guidance.

MacGregor starts by observing that agents and publishers advise wannabe writers to establish a platform, but offer no guidance on what a platform is or how to get one.  He defines a platform as the number of people who follow you online, attend your speaking engagements or are otherwise know about your work.  For nonfiction writers, he talks about tens to hundreds of thousands of followers; for fiction writers maybe half that many (12-14).  Obviously, establishing a viable platform takes time and effort.  MacGregor’s objective in writing is to offer ideas, rules, and advice to help you establish this platform and at least 10 action items to work on (1-3).

The Extroverted Writer is organized into 8 chapters.  These chapters are preceded by a forward and followed by an Afterword and Acknowledgments.  The chapter titles are informative:
  1. Know your audience,
  2. Know your goals,
  3. How to use this book,
  4. Websites,
  5. Blogs,
  6. Twitter,
  7. Facebook, and
  8. Miscellaneous Social Media Sites.

Obviously, for MacGregor a platform consists of a theme, an audience, and a social media presence.  Interestingly, this book does not cite a publisher, but is listed on Amazon.com as published by CreateSpace which implies that this book is self-published.

MacGregor starts his social media advice by focusing on the need for writers to have a website (17).  A website signals 3 things to agents and publishers:

  1. You are serious about your career,
  2. You are not afraid to use the web to promote yourself, and
  3. They can check you out without committing to a relationship.

Having established the motivation for a website, MacGregor gives advice on quality points to look for in the website.  These points summarize in making the point that a website has effectively become an online resume—it must have eye appeal, be informative, and point to your blog where you show your skills (23-24) [1].

Chip MacGregor’s The Extroverted Writer is a useful author guide and a fun book to read.  Missing perhaps is a reflection on the role of branding–being known for your expertise, not just your following.  For example, why do many boutique publishers have fewer followers than authors with a platform under MacGregor’s guidelines?  Still, MacGregor clearly met his objective in writing.  In each of his social media chapters, I found actionable tips on what to do—easily meeting his goal of leaving me with 10 tips.  Personally, I found his advice on using professional pages in Facebook and on organizing a book giveaway particularly helpful. I am sure you will too.

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1/ In the corporate world, content production and marketing likewise needs to carefully planned (bit.ly/1igPRHp).

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Almuerzo Para El Alma

Display_NocheBuena_12242011By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Each Wednesday Trinity Presbyterian Church, in cooperation with Riverside Presbyterian Church and other partners, hosts a luncheon and worship service for day laborers and other needy Hispanic people in Herndon, Virginia. This luncheon has been held weekly now for seven years.

The typical schedule is simple. Around 11:15 a.m. the volunteers gather for prayer. At 11:30 a.m. a van and other cars pick up participants near the local 7-11. Lunch is served. Participants are asked to introduce themselves and say where they are from. Several sets of Latin praise music are played and sung.  A sermon is preached in Spanish (or translated in real-time from English). Everyone is dismissed with prayer. The van and other cars then return participants to the 7-11.

Since July, I have been a weekly volunteer. My role is normally to assist in picking up and dropping participants, hang with the participants during lunch, and watching the worship leader’s kids while he sings and plays. I preached once in September and everyone was graciously attentive to my mumbling in Spanish. The volunteers, including the pastors, are all highly motivated because we know that for many participants this is their only church. Lunch is important but participants come for more than simply the food.

Participants come from many Latin counties, but primarily from Central America—especially El Salvador and Honduras. It is humbling to speak with participants. Most day laborers live a hand-to-mouth existence working only a couple of days each week—enough to survive and occasionally send checks home to their families. Many have been here in the U.S. for over a decade and still speak little or no English and live in virtual obscurity. Conversation focuses on encouraging them to open up and share.

Several observations come out of these conversations. The first observation is that most participants are Christians and their spirituality runs deep. Few are Presbyterians; many are Pentecostals; almost all have a Catholic upbringing. This observation is obvious watching Spanish language television—shows are mostly family oriented; people pray and consult their pastor in times of adversity. The second observation follows from the first. Because most participants are Christians, the number of participants with social problems (addictions, psychiatric issues, etc) is low when compared with a typical food bank or shelter population. The third observation is that the problem of narco-trafficking in Central America has seriously impacted many participants. For example, one regular participant recently had two sons murdered by drug gangs who randomly stop people on the street, exhort money, and shoot people unable to provide cash on demand. The fourth observation is that the recent shutdown in the Federal government has hurt local employment.

Attendance at the luncheon has grown dramatically in recent weeks.  Typically attendance in the summer was15 to 20 guests.  In the fall after the Federal shutdown, attendance doubled and tripled the summer rate.  For Thanksgiving, we had over 80 guests.  For Christmas, we had 280.  While there is normally an uptick in need in the winter, guests that I have spoken to in recent weeks have seen little or no work.

November 15, 2013 marked the 450th anniversary of the publishing of the Heidelberg Catechism. The first question in the catechism[1] remains most meaningful: What is your only comfort in life and in death? The answer begins: That I am not my own, but belong—body and soul, in life and in death—to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. At Almuerzo para el Alma, we serve body and soul.

Reblogged from NCP Online Monthy (http://bit.ly/1kv123I)

[1] Faith Alive Christian Resources.  2013. The Heidelberg Catechism.  Online:  https://www.rca.org/sslpage.aspx?pid=372.  Date: 30 August, 2013.

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