From this Evil Age

Paul anchors all that God has done for His saints in the past death and resurrection of Jesus that inaugurated the messianic age – Galatians 1:1-5. 

In his letter to the Galatians, Paul claims that his apostleship is from the same God who raised Jesus from the dead. The Messiah sacrificed himself so “he might deliver us out of the present evil age.” And God vindicated his sacrifice when He raised him from the dead. All this was done according to the “will of our God and Father.”

This same Jesus commissioned the Apostle Paul to proclaim the “good news” of God’s kingdom to the Gentiles, and he affirms in Galatians that he received his apostleship directly from the risen Jesus.

His resurrection is more than just the miraculous restoration of the life of one man in the first century. It was and is an apocalyptic event that signals the commencement of the messianic age.

In his death and resurrection, the “powers and principalities” that enslaved humanity have been defeated, and most decisively so.

CHANGE IN ERA

His resurrection marked the inauguration of an entirely new era and the final stage in the redemptive plan of God. And ever since, nothing has been or can ever be the same - (1 Corinthians 2:5-8, Ephesians 1:17-23, Colossians 2:15, 1 Peter 3:22).

Disciples of Jesus have been rescued “out of the authority of the darkness and translated into the kingdom of His beloved Son.” No longer are they under the dominion of the “powers and principalities” - (Colossians 1:12-20).

Therefore, they have received the “ransomed release, the discharge” of the judicial sentence for their sins.

That is why Paul declares that believers have been “rescued from this evil age” even though they remain in the existing fallen world. With the coming of the Son, the jurisdiction of the old order has reached its termination point - (Galatians 4:3-11).

Jesus “gave himself on account of our sins.” His death was necessary “on account of” the sins that alienated us from God (Greek - huper - Strong's #G5228). In other words, Christ acted for our sake when he gave his life on the Cross.

The same idea is implicit in two declarations of Paul in Galatians:

  • The life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself on account of (huper) me” - - (Galatians 2:20, 3:13).
  • Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse on account of (huper) us” - (Galatians 2:20, 3:13).

By his death, God “rescued us from the present evil age.” In the Hebrew Bible, history is divided into two ages - the present evil age, and the age to come. And in Christ’s death and resurrection, the new messianic age has dawned in the middle of the present evil age. Though we live in this evil age, we belong to the new age that already is invading the present.

Thus, the death of Christ inaugurated the age of fulfillment that continues to this very day. All the messianic promises are coming to fruition in him, and the old order is in the process of passing away - (Romans 12:2, Colossians 1:12-13, 2:19, 4:3-9, 5:5, 1 Corinthians 7:31).

And by emphasizing his death and resurrection as the basis of all that God has done for us, Paul highlights the all-sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins and deliverance from this “present evil age.” Thus, seeking salvation and deliverance elsewhere is in vain.



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