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Through baptism we are sons of Abraham

Galatians 3:23-29

Pastor David Ernst

Circumcision and naming of Jesus
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Thu, Dec 31, 2020 

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Among the Greeks and Romans the pedagogue, or tutor, was a faithful slave, in charge of the care of a child from 6 to 16 years of age, whose specific duties consisted of keeping the child safe from physical and moral ills and accompanying him to school and playground. Therefore, the pedagogue had the right to issue commands and prohibitions, threaten to punish and limit the freedom of the child, but always in order that his charge was prepared for maturity and to assume the higher duties that expected of him as a citizen of the state.

"So the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, so that we might be justified by faith."

Old Testament believers were under the tutelage of the Law of Moses, which regulated their lives down to the last detail. The Lord made His covenant with the people of Israel before Mount Sinai. In truth, at that time, the Israelites were not a people, but refugees from slavery who knew no lifestyle other than slavery.

God's purpose in imposing these restrictions was gracious and merciful, for they were to serve until Christ came to free us from the bondage of sin. Through faith in Christ Jesus, which was kindled in us by the preaching of the Gospel, we have entered into that wonderful relationship with God as our heavenly Father.

In the Law of Moses, we can distinguish between the universal moral law, the civil law of Israel, and the ceremonial law that guided the worship. Today the Scripture containing the moral law imprisons everyone without the hope of deliverance from sin. This moral law still serves this purpose in God's plan, to demonstrate the need for deliverance.

Our Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled all the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament, also as the Christ Child with the help of Joseph and Mary. Last Sunday we learned how the couple obeyed all the laws and rules that applied to children, including the presentation of the firstborn in the temple forty days after his birth. We must not confuse this rite with that of circumcision. Joseph and Mary went to the temple to make a sacrifice of thanksgiving for the gift of their son. It is true, the Child Jesus did not need the gift of forgiveness of sins, but that sacrifice was not a means of grace for the other children of Israel either.

However, prior to the presentation in the temple, a son was circumcised as a mark of his membership and his offspring in God's people. Our Lord was sealed in this way as well.

"But when faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor, because you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus, because all of you who have been baptized into Christ are clothed with Christ."

Baptism has replaced circumcision in the new covenant. We have become children of God by faith, through the sacrament of baptism. In baptism, believers have clothed themselves in Christ, they have clothed themselves with the robe of His righteousness, therefore, all distinctions of nationality, socioeconomic status or sex are abrogated. According to the order of creation, social distinctions still exist in this world, like the moral law as a brake. But, in the order of redemption we are all equal. None deserve God's grace, but all receive grace in its fullness.

And thus the apostle concludes: But if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise. By faith, believers are one with Christ, one in Christ. In baptism we receive the name of Christ. And since Christ is the true Seed of Abraham, believers, having clothed in Christ, having entered into the most intimate communion with His person, relate to Abraham as Christ is related to the patriarch by God's promise: they are children. of Abraham. true seed, his spiritual descendants.

In this promise we have a safe and bright future. Therefore, in this new year, each of you will have the peace that passes all understanding. Amen

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