My little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you.
Isaiah, Jeremiah and others described their own life-testimony as a woman in labour, and Jesus likened the end-time tribulation to a period of intense and painful labour: – a woman, in labour, has sorrow because her hour has come.
And for Israel, the time of Jacob’s trouble is a time of deep distress for Israel – BUT.. the pain of that time will birth the millennial reign of Jesus – the Jewish Messiah. And their time of mourning will turn in to great joy and so all Israel shall be saved: for as soon as she has given birth, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. John 16:21 The anguish of labour that Jews are experiencing is for the whole nation of Israel.
Paul also experienced times of intense anguish and bitter pain, for the Church. He writes, my little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you. Galatians 4:19 But unlike Israel, his labour is for Christians – for fellow believers to grow in grace.
Paul was battling to show the Galatians the effect of their meritorious mentality. Believers had returned to legalism – to their unattainable Law and traditions of men. Paul laboured to warn them against going back under the bondage of law and works. He writes, oh foolish Galatians who has bewitched you? Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Galatians 3:1-2
The Galatians were labouring to cover themselves in their own righteous works, and Paul was labouring to explain the consequences of them living under the law. Paul toiled to bring them to an understanding of the glory of grace versus works. Paul toiled to show that sanctification as well as justification was gained by grace – but they were toiling to sanctify themselves by returning to the works of the law.
But the grace is God is made of non-effect when WORKS are substituted for grace. The grace is God is made of non-effect when the LAW is substituted for grace. The grace of God is made void – for when we live under law we are not under grace.
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Paul never experienced physical childbirth.. but painted a beautiful picture in the spiritual realm from its physical counterpart. The labouring of Isaiah and Jeremiah was for themselves.. a picture of Israel – a picture of Israel’s future period of trial – of Jacob’s trouble – of labour. The labouring to which Christ pointed was also Israel’s time of tribulation. Christ knows their weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.
The labouring of which Paul spoke was for Christians to develop and grow in grace. Paul did not labour for himself. Paul laboured for the Church – for the church of God to grow in grace during this dispensation of the Church. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others laboured to tell Israel to trust God and serve Him only. Paul toiled to tell the church to believe God’s word, for by grace you are saved.
Paul knew that we are not only justified by grace but also sanctified by grace. The Galatians had been saved by grace – but were trying to be sanctified by the Law. Paul’s intense anguish; bitter pain and deep travail was for the Church. Paul’s labour was for the Church to know the truth: my little children, for whom I labour in birth again until Christ is formed in you. Galatians 4:19
The sanctification process takes a believer from immaturity to maturity. Sanctification takes a baby Christian to a fully mature man or woman of God. Sanctification first feeds the believer with milk and then with the meat of the word of God. And as a mature believer, Paul laboured as a woman in travail for other Christians.
We too must grow in grace and the knowledge of God until Christ is formed in us, and then we too must labour for others – until Christ is formed in them. For we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone, and we are sanctified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, – and we will be glorified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone: for whom He predestined He also called, and whom He called he also justified, and whom He justified He also glorified. Romans 8:30
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