Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
John Stott has said that if the nature of Christ’s death on the cross was “for our sins,” its object was to rescue us out of this present age of wickedness. J. B. Lightfoot writes that this verb meaning deliver or rescue, “strikes the keynote of the epistle.” “The Gospel is a rescue,” he adds, “an emancipation from a state of bondage.” Christianity is, in fact, a rescue religion. The Greek verb in this verse is a strong one: exaireo, in the middle voice. It is used in the book of Acts when speaking of the rescue of the Israelites from their Egyptian slavery (7:34), of the rescue of Peter both from prison and from the hand of Herod the king (12:11), and of the rescue of Paul from an infuriated mob about to lynch him (23:27). This verse in Galatians is the only place where it is used metaphorically of salvation.
Christ died to rescue us; but from what does His death rescue us? We cannot say that He rescues us out of this present evil world, for God’s purpose is not to take us out of the world, but that we should stay in it and be both, “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth.” But Christ died to rescue us, “out of this present age of wickedness.” The Bible divides history into two ages: “this age” and “the age to come.” It tells us, moreover that, “the age to come” has come already, because Christ inaugurated it, although the present age has not yet finally passed away. So the two ages are running their parallel courses – they overlap one another. Christian conversion means being rescued from the old age and being transferred into the new age, the “age to come.” Yet the Christian life is actually living the life of the age to come, in this age. The purpose of Christ’s death, therefore, was not only to bring us forgiveness, but that having been forgiven, we should live a new life, the life of the age to come. This week write down various things you can do to become salt and light to those around you in this present age.
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