Teaching Galatians at the BI
This week I’ve been teaching Galatians to 250 first-year students at Word of Life Bible Institute in New York. So far I have given seven lectures covering chapters 1-4. I also spoke at staff devos yesterday and in the Chancellor’s Chapel this morning. So it’s been a busy week. Judging from the response of the students, things have gone well. Every year’s class is different. Some years the students are boisterous and outspoken. This year’s class listens intently and interacts frequently. The whole atmosphere is colored by the fact that spring break starts on Friday morning after their Galatians final exam so there is a feeling of anticipation that isn’t there when I’m teaching in the middle of the quarter and there are five weeks to go before the break.
Tonight I taught through Galatians 4 and talked a lot about what it means to be a son of the Heavenly Father. I told them something that I don’t often mention–that after my father’s death in 1974, I realized that I didn’t a tape recording of his voice. I haven’t heard his voice since the last time I saw him in the hospital before he died. For years that was a sadness to me–and I suppose it still is today. A few years ago I realized that I had forgotten what his voice sounded like–and that saddened me even more. But then I realized deep in my soul that if I heard my father’s voice again, I would know it instantly. That thought brought great assurance to my heart because the father-son bond can never be broken–not even by death. It is the same with our relationship with God. Through Jesus Christ we have become the children of the living God and we can now call him “Abba” (Galatians 4:6), which means something like “Dear father,” or “Daddy.” I know his voice and he knows mine. Nothing can break the bond of love between us. I am a son forever because Jesus is my Savior forever. As long as the Son intercedes in heaven for me (Hebrews 7:25), my salvation is secure because it rests on him and not on me. And therefore, even when I feel unworthy, and maybe even especially when I feel unworthy (which I often do), I remember that I am God’s son and can come to him any time, anywhere, in any situation. He knows his own children, and he will not turn me away.