This Site Is No Longer Active

Check out RESTITUTIO.org for new blog entries and podcasts. Feel free to browse through our content here, but we are no longer adding new posts.

The Horizontal Angle


Today Galatians 4 was in the sermon:

3 So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world. 4 But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, 5 so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. 6 Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. 8 However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods. 9 But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years.

I was struck at how important the horizontal (read: “ecclesiastic”), as opposed to the vertical (“between you and God”) impact Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection has. It seems in the protestant tradition we’ve done a bad job at realizing what this means at times.

A few notes to take us through it. The “elemental” things of the world are the pagan deities which are unescapeably embodied into the functions of the universe (sun, moon, war, love, crops, etc.) All systems, other than faith and unity with Jesus, are described as being a slave, while being “in Christ” is being a son. Paul first shows them that they were under the pagan slavery. Then Jesus comes to redeem. Jesus redeems from both the pagan slavery, and the Jewish form of slavery. The Jewish form of slavery, as I’m coming to understand it, is not a “legalism” as much Christian preaching would have you believe. It is rather the closed-system of hostility to the world as opposed to the light they were supposed to be. Paul implores the Galatians not to be enslaved again seeing as they have already been freed.

Of course when you look at all of this in its context, it is about table fellowship! I am extremely hard-pressed to think of a single practical communal issue today cause a creative theological response. Today theology seems to be vaunted up and up on top of theology, creating systems of castles in the air. Not, as it was in Jesus and Paul’s day, around concrete actions, situations, and consequences in the real world.


Leave a Reply