Keep Your Freedom
1We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not
change and go back into the slavery of the law. 2Listen, I Paul tell you that if you
go back to the law by being circumcised, Christ does you no good. 3Again, I
warn every man: If you allow yourselves to be circumcised, you must follow all
the law. 4If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with
Christ is over—you have left God’s grace. 5But we have the true hope that comes
from being made right with God, and by the Spirit we wait eagerly for this hope.
6When we are in Christ Jesus, it is not important if we are circumcised or not.
The important thing is faith—the kind of faith that works through love.
7You were running a good race. Who stopped you from following the true
way? 8This change did not come from the One who chose you. 9Be careful! “Just
a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.” 10But I trust in the Lord that
you will not believe those different ideas. Whoever is confusing you with such
ideas will be punished.
11My brothers and sisters, I do not teach that a man must be circumcised. If I
teach circumcision, why am I still being attacked? If I still taught circumcision,
my preaching about the cross would not be a problem. 12I wish the people who
are bothering you would castrate themselves!
13My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your
freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with
love. 14The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your
neighbor as you love yourself.” 15If you go on hurting each other and tearing
each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other.
The Spirit and Human Nature
16So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your
sinful selves want. 17Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the
Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so
you cannot do just what you please. 18But if the Spirit is leading you, you are not
under the law.
19The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful,
not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, 20worshiping gods, doing witchcraft,
hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people
angry with each other, causing divisions among people, 21feeling envy, being
drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn
you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit
God’s kingdom. 22But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. There is no law that
says these things are wrong. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified
their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil
things they wanted to do. 25We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should
follow the Spirit. 26We must not be proud or make trouble with each other or be
jealous of each other.
The Holy Bible, New Century Version
Paul taught that if you begin to keep the Law, you are obligated to keep all of it. Instead, Christians ought to trust Jesus who makes them righteous.
The way we live, the things we say, the attitudes we entertain, the lifestyle we adopt, the enterprises in which we engage are all continuously producing either positive or negative results in society. Far too many people assume they can adopt a neutral stance. They feel they can be noncommittal. They try to remain detached, uninvolved with the trauma, turmoil and tension of their times.
Again and again Jesus pointed out that this was impossible. "Either you are for me, or against me," He said. "You cannot serve two masters at once. Either you hate one and love the other or vice-versa ...'
We live in an atmosphere of antagonism, an environment of enmity. Yet amid such adversity Christ calls us to produce peace.
This peace is love quietly, strongly, persistently meeting every onslaught against it with good will. It is that inner attitude of tranquility and tolerance in the face of angry attacks. It is the willingness to accept the assaults of others even at the price of personal humiliation. It implies that even though my enemies and detractors may be at war with me, I can be at peace with them. (From Salt for Society by Phillip Keller)
How do you exhibit your faith? Do you hurry out the door after church on Sundays? Or, do you take the time to greet and listen to the concerns of others? Next Sunday, stay and listen. Remember that listening begins to help those in need.
EXPLORATION Faith - Romans 8; 1 Corinthians 13:2; James 2:14.