So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.
Listen! I, Paul, tell you this: If you are counting on circumcision to make you right with God, then Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again. If you are trying to find favor with God by being circumcised, you must obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.
But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Galatians 5:1-6
Good day my friends! Rejoice and be glad in it! I trust today finds you well. I am fairly sure that I have written on this scripture before, but I thought I’d write again. (Or I may have mentioned this scripture a time or two when I have spoken about my husband before he was my husband.)
This weekend wasn’t so good for me. It is frustrating that I try so hard to live a godly life and then somehow screw up my testimony in a matter of minutes, but I do. I got into a yelling match with my sister this yesterday. Things were said that should never leave the mouth of a believer! I am certainly ashamed for my deplorable response to her – though things have always been explosive between us. I have repented but still have an overload of guilt and even some anger left. Pray for me that I surrender all to the Lord.
Note on verse 1
Christ died to set us free from sin and from a long list of laws and regulations. Christ came to set us free – not free to do whatever we want because that would lead us back into slavery to our selfish desires. Rather, thanks to Christ, we are now free and able to do what is impossible before – to live unselfishly. Those who appeal to their freedom so that they can have their own way or indulge their own desires are falling back into sin. But it is also wrong to put a burden of law keeping on Christians. We must stand against those who would enslave us with rules, methods, or special conditions for being saved or growing in Christ.
Note on verses 2-4
Trying to be saved by keeping the law and being saved by grace are two entirely different approaches. “Christ cannot help you” means that Christ’s provision for our salvation will not help us if we are trying to save ourselves. Obeying the law does not make it any easier for God to save us. All we can do is accept his gracious gift through faith. Our deeds of service must never be used to try to earn God’s love or favor.
Note on verses 3, 4
Circumcision was a symbol of having the right background and doing everything required by religion. No amount of work, discipline, or moral behavior can save us. If a person were counting on finding favor with God by being circumcised, he would also have to obey the rest of God’s law completely. Trying to save ourselves by keeping all God’s laws only separates us from God.
Note on verse 6
We are saved by faith, not by deeds. But love for others and for God is the response of those whom God has forgiven. God’s forgiveness is complete, and Jesus said that those who are forgiven much love much (Luke 7:47). Because faith expresses itself through love, you can check your love for others as a way to monitor your faith.
Well, I do love this passage especially verse 6, the last verse. The bible says what faith is and what it does. First, Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see. Hebrews 11:1 Then, What is important is faith expressing itself in love. Galatians 5:6b This is a very hard concept to understand. I cannot do it justice on my own, so please ask the Lord to help you understand and that He guide my thoughts to make a coherent statement.
I don’t want to get into the faith vs. works argument, but it is plain to see that without faith, works cease to exist and without works, faith crumbles and falls by the wayside. Let me try to give an example. I have faith that God will work my marriage out and make it right in His sight. There is so much wrong with it. All the problems are insurmountable. I have been given a sense of peace about it knowing that ultimately God will make it right. Between now and the endpoint, it seems impossible. But I at least know that there is an endpoint and that it is in the future. In that realization I have hope. Hope for the day that my marriage will completely glorify God in the proper way. Because I have this hope, it enables me to do “works” in regard to my marriage and relationship with my husband. Keeping my eyes focused on that endpoint, I can steadily and surely scale the numerous mountains between now and that endpoint. This would include, workingtowards that goal and sacrificing more and more of myself to the Lord. To sacrifice to the Lord often times preferring others. The more I prefer my husband over myself, I’m actually “work”ingtowards that end. When I do an act of service, when I put aside what I want to do so we do what he wants to do, I am providing the works that faith requires. I am acting, or workingin favor of something higher than myself. Because I do these “works” I continually strengthen my faith. The more ‘sweat equity’ you put into something, the more likely you are to succeed. Hence, the more I work on my marriage, the more likely I will reach that endpoint of peace and rightness within my marriage.
This concept is a cycle. As my faith grows it propels me to do good and kind things for others (expressions of love as stated in Galatians) and as I work in this way the very works produce a stronger faith. Faith expressing itself in love isn’t just for my relationship with my husband, it is for everyone that I encounter, family friends, co-workers and strangers alike. The more I practice loving others, the deeper my faith becomes. The deeper my faith becomes, the more I will endeavor to work to love others. You can’t escape it. Many of you have probably heard about the ‘Love and Respect’ cycle. The more the husband loves the wife, the more she will respect him. The more she respects him, the more he will love her. It is a cycle. One response effects the outcome of the other. But, this cycle can be brought to a grinding halt. If, for instance, I shy away from loving a person that appears to be unlovable, maybe a bum or something, then my faith falters a little bit. When my faith falters a little bit, then I may shy away from loving another person or ‘working’ towards the good of that person.
So, the questions that I’m left with today for myself are, ‘How have I expressed my faith in the Lord’s promise that He will mend my marriage through love towards my husband in the past?’ and ‘In what ways can I improve and express my faith in the Lord’s promise through love today and in the future?’ I unfortunately don’t have all the answers. I’m still learning as I go. I know that little by little we are coming together in unity in ways that would never have been fathomable for us even 6 months ago. Only God could do such a miracle in our lives. Prayer, obviously, is the first thing. We both have to be prepared for the work that He will do in our hearts. But specific actions I’ll have to think about. I know that though the ‘razor edge’ tension is either subdued or maybe even gone, there are still many things that we simply can’t reach an agreement. Over time, I simply must have faith in the hope of our complete unity in Christ and work towards that end through the expression of love.
What ways can you love today?
Search me, O God, and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24 I give my body to You because of all You have done for me. Let my body be a living and holy sacrifice – the kind You will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship You. I won’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but I will let You transform me into a new person by changing the way I think. Then I will learn to know Your will for me, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:1-2 Amen.
May God provide the increase.