Galatians 5:1-15 (ESV)
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! 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. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Continuing on His teaching about grace versus the Law, Paul now takes the negative approach. He informs the young church about what it means to be under the Law. This does not apply to those who are circumcised prior to becoming Christian, as many male children in America and the modern nations are done today. It is symbolic of the problem of putting yourself back under the Law as a method of trying to please God.
If you are under the Law, you are under the ENTIRE Law. As Paul has pointed out earlier in the letter, keeping the Law is really not possible. As we saw at the end of chapter 2, “...If righteousness could be obtained through the Law, Christ died for nothing.”
Therefore rejoice. Rejoice that we are not under the Law. But do not use your freedom to indulge in sin. This is not the point. We are to live under grace, but in gratitude for our freedom. A person who is grateful does not slap the face of the one who has granted freedom.
A person who is grateful is always looking for ways to share the love and freedom that they have experienced. So how can you share the love of God today?
Look for opportunities to share God’s love and promises with others. Opportunities to bless others and help others to see how much God loves them. This is our calling. This is to why we are still here. If we did not have the mission to spread His message, there would be no point in us still being here after we accept Christ.
I have been a Christian as long as I can remember. I have not always lived up to the calling placed upon my life. I have been selfish, and sinful at times. Fortunately for me, there is Grace. I do seek to do right, and try to avoid evil. It can be difficult to avoid the sins that I have developed habits around. But each time I say no, I am not doing that, it gets just a little easier. But this took a long time to reach this point.
We must practice, practice, and practice some more. Live under Grace. Repent of sin. Rejoice that Jesus is our advocate, our Redemption, our Freedom. And He has given us the Holy Spirit as our guarantee of His promise that we are His. He – the Spirit – is our Helper and our guide. We also have each other. We are to help one another to live in His grace, and peace. We are to strengthen one another and hold one another accountable. If you do not already have close friends that are Christian, develop those relationships. Offer to be and to hold one another accountable. This is why we have one another.
by Virgil Stripes