1. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.
Freedom! God is so good. I was once a slave to sin, now because Christ has taken away the sins of the world I am set free. I can now enter into His great Salvation.
3. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law.
4. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.
Many try to get people to be under the Law, They think that to “be obedient to the Law” will justify themselves more… How sad, for the Law can not cleanse us. It can only point to how sinful we are! If one believes they can add to the finished work of Christ, then they are not trusting His works and are still not at rest, but still are depending on their own works for salvation… Salvation can not come with the temporal sacrificial system. In fact, forgiveness was dealt with before the cross. But it was only a temporal covering. Christ’s work was finished and eternal.
5. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.
6. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7. You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8. That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.
9. "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough."
Fleshly works have no value… to be circumcised or not has not value in Christ… “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” It is Christ love in us that drives us to do His good works. That is the good race. To allow even a little bit of self righteousness in your works, nullifies it and pollutes the purity of the good work.
10. I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be.
11. Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.
12. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
Paul is not trusting the people to take no other view, but rather that “in the Lord” they will not take on any other view. The difference is that again, works of the flesh versus dependency on the works of Christ! For Paul to say I trust you that you will take no other view, would not be trusting Jesus, but the flesh and it’s corrupted works.
13. You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love.
Freedom! So many fear freedom and think that those who teach it are only saying that it is good to follow fleshly things. In that there is that option, but as one grows (which is what God does, only He “make things grow”.)
One can grow in perversion, yet I believe if one is truly a follower of Christ, one would not be satisfied and begin to desire that which is good. I once was under very legalistic teaching and found my faith twisting in condemnation for my sin. Then God revealed I was not a sinner but a saint! I am a new creation! In that I have the desires of the flesh, but I am no longer under the Law and its legalities.
On the contrary, John teaches in 1 john 3: 23. And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 24. Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
Obedience is not what we do, but what Jesus did. And as we believe in Jesus and love one another as He commands, He lives in us. Which leads us to the next verse;
14. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." 15. If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
16. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
17. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.
Again, if we live by the Spirit, we will not gratify the flesh… does not mean we wont fall? No. We will as long as we have this body of flesh. But the fact one has guilt of his actions, which leads us to confession to God and to one another, we will find more freedom and strength in our weakness. Guilt is good if it leads us to Christ, yet it is not good is one sits in its death grip. Be thankful for the firgivness that was given at the cross. In that also walk in that forgiveness and it’s freedom from condemnation.
18. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19. The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20. idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21. and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23. gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.
26. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
Here is the crossroads. In my journey I have found many who think that by attacking someone, they are serving the Kingdom. Be careful in that as to the motive one may have. Is it out of envy? Hatred? Jealousy? Selfish ambition? Does it cause discord? Are you doing it to get “fits of rage”? This is not a Spirit filled motive.
I pray that my readers may find that the fruit of the Spirit is flowing in their lives. That you know and give love. That your faith is filled with joy! That Peace centers and grounds you in life’s situations. That kindness is in your words and in your deeds. That you seek goodness in all you do. I also pray for faithfulness to allow us to grow more in the Grace and Knowledge of Christ. That gentleness is given to others, as it was given to us on the cross… instead of wrath and vengeance. I pray the Spirit gives self control in times of temptation and time we feel the need to seek revenge. I pray that humbleness keeps us from conceit and that we find no joy and peace in provoking and envying one another.
Jesus tells us the standard is to love our enemies.
Romans 5: 8-10 is one of my favorite versus…
- But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10. For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
So we must imitate Christ in His standard which is to love our enemies, even while they still hate us. For if we do not, we do not have the Life of Christ in us. For it was his very Life he gave to reconcile us. That was His ministry and now ours. To not try is to slap Jesus’ face and pluck His beard… and condemn Him once again to the Cross.