Today you should read: Galatians 5:1-15
Galatians 5 is one of my favorite chapters in all of the Bible. It begins on a strong note in verse 1: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Paul is once again imploring the churches in Galatia to not rely on works of the law, but the freedom that comes through faith in Jesus Christ.
Just read what he says in verses 2-6:
2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
Paul focuses on circumcision because it was one of the main things Jewish people based their righteousness on. Maybe you are basing your righteousness on your baptism, praying a prayer when you were younger, or church attendance. Hear it loud and clear from Paul: if you are basing your righteousness on works of the law, you are severed from Christ. It is only “through the Spirit, by faith” that we obtain our hope of righteousness in Christ.
In verses 13-15, Paul shows how our lives are to be different once we have placed our faith in Christ and obtained the hope of righteousness.
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
This true relationship with Christ that is obtained through faith, not works of the law, should result in a certain way of treating people. This shows us the principle that one of the best ways to evaluate your vertical relationship with God is through your horizontal relationships with others. This is especially true when you think about how you interact with people on social media platforms, where people can show more keyboard courage because of the distance between screens and reality. Are you primarily loving and serving people, or are you “biting and devouring” people?
Tomorrow we will look at the 2nd half of this chapter, as we read about the key to living this out: walking in the Spirit and displaying the fruit of the Spirit.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Associate
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