“Not Abraham’s Descendants According to the Flesh Are the People of God, but Those Who Have Spirit of Christ”

18 April 2020
Rev. Georgy Kochetkov. SERMON at Matins of  Holy Saturday (1 Cor 5:6-8; Gal 3:13-14).

In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit! Dear brothers and sisters! Today's short reading from the Epistles is a composite passage.  The first part is from the Epistle to the Corinthians and the second part is from the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Galatians. The first part is an exhortation which tells us that, generally speaking, we should never boast. We should do one thing alone, but it should be the most essential. We must recall the kind of yeast we have within us, what moves us, what motivates our actions, our life. We need to remove the old leaven of sin and vice. We must learn to celebrate before God every single day of our life and come to God, bringing the unleavened bread of purity and truth. We must not go sour or stale. Our life must be like fresh dough because it is Christ who has given us this new life, this new spirit through his sacrifice for us. Christ is our Pascha, the passage from the old to the new, from the old life to a renewed life! He has set us free from the curse, He has redeemed us. The curse brought by the Law which showed us what is good and what is evil in our life. Christ took the curse upon Himself in our place. And thanks to Him the blessing given to our forefather Abraham, the patriarch of old, has passed to all the nations. This is very important, dear brothers and sisters.

Sometimes we study the Holy Scriptures, the Bible, in a way that lacks wisdom. We think that everything has remained just as it used to be. As if the blessing given to Abraham and via him, to his descendants, the Jewish people, is the same as it used to be. But it isn’t like that any longer. Owing to what Christ has done, the Blessing given to Abraham has passed to everyone. We are all chosen by God, we are all God’s chosen people if we have received the Spirit promised by God. The very Spirit which Christ sent to us from the Father.

We are all to walk after the Spirit, and then we are the people of God. It is not the old people, those who were Abraham’s descendants according to the flesh who are the people of God, but those who live with God, who do God’s will, who have His Spirit, who walk after this Spirit.

And this applies equally regardless of our ethnic belonging, it applies equally regardless of cultures, civilizations, the history of one or another person or nation. It applies equally regardless of whether we are a man or a woman, regardless of our social status.

You can live very modestly and be a child of God, a son of God by grace. And you can have all the outward trappings of wealth, but fall away from God and lose your affiliation to the new people, God's people. Even if you have been baptized, even if you occasionally go to Church, put up candles in church and think that in this way you make contact with God.

Christ has redeemed us from the curse brought by the Law. Thanks to Him we have received the blessing from God to become His children.  By faith we have received the Spirit promised by God. So let us live in newness of life, in Christ and the Holy Spirit! Amen!

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