The book of Exodus records for us God's first (and can I say rather impressively miraculous), rescue mission of His people. After hundreds of years of slavery He raises up a deliverer, Moses, to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into freedom. But there's a problem - even though they are no longer living in Egypt, Egypt is still in them. They are physically free but still thinking and behaving like they are slaves - there are times where they even think that they would be better off back in Egypt! It took forty years of wilderness living to raise up a generation that were free of Egypt and ready to enter the promised land that God had for them.
God cares about the physical freedom and safety of His people - but He cares even more about our spiritual freedom. He wants to see us free on the inside - so that we are no longer slaves to sin, but empowered to live a new life. And so another rescue mission was mounted. But this time, no earthly deliverer would do, because only God Himself had the power to truly set us free once and for all.
The book of Galatians is all about that rescue mission - it outlines what we have been delivered from, but also what we have been delivered to. And in a sense, it is all summed up in the opening five verses.
By the grace of God, we have been given peace with God. We know what grace is because Jesus demonstrated it when He freely and willingly gave Himself for our sins; when He took our place and paid the price on the Cross for all our wrong-doing, all our short-comings. His sacrifice delivered us from our personal Egypt, set us free from the power and penalty of sin. Every debt we owed and could never repay, paid in full by the blood of Jesus so that we can live forgiven.
And if that weren't enough, He rescued us from the present evil age. The Bible divides history into two ages, ‘this age’ in which we see much evil because satan while defeated is still active - and the ‘age to come.’ The age to come - the reign of Heaven - has begun with Christ, but ‘this age’ has not been completed and so there is a crossover that we have to navigate; the reality of Heaven in our lives is both now and still yet.
God's rescue mission does not change where we live this side of eternity, but it does change how we live. Because we are forgiven, we have peace with God and from this place of being in right relationship with Him, He empowers us by His Spirit to live differently, to think differently. We might be in this world but we are no longer of it; no longer governed by it because Christ's death and resurrection has delivered us to a new life - the life of the age to come. The Kingdom is released within us, allowing us to live from the inside out instead of being shaped by external pressures.
Just like the Israelites had to go on a journey to get Egypt out of them, God graciously takes us on a journey of renewing our minds; of teaching us to stand firm in our new-found freedom so that we can continue His rescue mission and bring Him glory.