Sons of Serendipity – Galatians 1:15-16a

But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles…” –Galatians 1:15-16a

A father and son were driving down the road after a fishing trip. During their trip, they were in a car accident. Both the father and son were rushed to the hospital, but the father passed away in the ambulance. When the boy reached the operating room, the doctor walked out of the room. “I can’t operate on him,” the doctor said. “He is my son.” How can this be?!

Paul refers to Jesus as the “Son of God” 15 times in his letters. Every time Jesus is mentioned as the Son, it is in his pastoral epistles. There is no mention of Christ as the “Son of God” in either the prison epistles or the pastoral epistles. Because of this Longenecker asserts that, “… “Son of God” as a Christological title was derived by Paul from his Jewish Christian heritage.” The idea of Christ being God’s son is probably an idea drawn out from Paul’s old life of Judaism. This is important because the men in Galatia who were spreading around false teaching were also Jewish, so they might’ve been using the same words to describe Jesus.

Referring Christ as the Son was also a relational term for Paul. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament states: “‘Son’ describes the bond of love between God and Jesus and hence the greatness of the sacrifice. The title relates, not so much to preexistence, but to the wonder of the saving act. It is grounded in Christ’s passion rather than his exaltation and kingship.” There were other words like “Lord” or “Christ” that could be used to talk about Christ’s kingship. This is specifically talking about Christ’s relationship to God as his Son, sent to save the world. Jesus came as God’s Son in that he was the full representation of God. He was a reflection of God much like many children are walking reflections of their parents.

This is Paul’s logic: If Christ is God’s Son, and Christ is in Paul, then Paul is God’s son. This is why Paul has the privilege to call God, “Abba” or Father (Galatians 4:6). Not only so, but Paul will be saying the same thing about the Galatians later in the letter. To be in Christ not only meant that one was in God’s family, but even more so, that they are viewed as God’s children – his sons and daughters.

The love and sacrifice that God took as a Father to send his Son, and the love and sacrifice that Christ made to offer his life, should remind us just how much God has done to allow us to be part of His family. We are children of God if we follow Christ by faith. Do you see yourself as one of His children? Do you know he loves you? Do you know you are an heir to His promises?

Live today as one of God’s children. Walk as though you are a representative of Him. Just as children are a reflection of their parents, your life is reflective of how you respect your heavenly Father. Represent Him well.

And to answer the riddle, the doctor in the operating room was the boy’s mother.


The Preeminent Patriarch – Galatians 1:3

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ…” -Galatians 1:3

Growing up, my parents used to do this event with me and my sister periodically. One of them individually would take a night, and make it specifically about us. It would be maybe me and my mom going to “Toys R’ Us,” or my dad and I going to see one of the George Clooney “Batman” flicks. My parents saw the need for us to know the importance of not just our family love and unity, but they also saw it important to share with us their individual love and devotion. Those memories are moments I cherish, suspended in time, and they’ll remain that way until I die.

Within the first two verses of Galatians, Paul already refers to God as “Father” twice. Some say that he might be doing it formulaically. Some might recon that Paul is differentiating God the Father Trinitarianly from Jesus the Son. I think Paul has more in mind here.

Until Jesus came, only the Jews were seen as the “Children of God.” With the dawn of Christianity making its way up the horizon, the news was spreading that this movement was now accessible to all people – not just people from Israel. Now any one who believed in Jesus and his work on the cross would be seen as a child of God.

God is not just the Father of the Jews, but He is now the Father of all who come to Him in faith.

There were Jewish Christians who came to Galatia and were telling the people that they had to become Jewish. These Christians were being told that they weren’t really “Children of God” until they got circumcised and made a commitment to the Feasts and other customs of “their people,” the Jews. Paul is reminding these believers in his opening sentences that they already are God’s children. He is reminding them that God is their Father.

There are a couple truths we must realize about God being our Father. First, there is the realization that we are His children. We are heirs of His Kingdom! There are promises that pertain specifically to us. Secondly, we must view God as the patriarch of our lives – He is the head of the household. Especially at the time, within the household, the father/husband/proprietor was seen as the leader of the family. Part of what Paul is saying isn’t just that we hold the promises, but that we need to respect God has our Father.

He is our Dad who cherishes us. He takes us out to see Batman with George Clooney even though objectively it is the worst movie to the franchise. He is our Father and expects those who are His children to follow Him, respect Him, listen to Him, and obey Him. We are His children; not just the Jews, not just those in Galatia, but everyone who believes in Jesus Christ.