Today’s message was in the Book of Galatians chapter 5. It is Paul still talking to the churches in Galatia about legalism and how Love trumps religion.
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!
13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Paul starts out by reminding the churches that they are free from the yoke of legalism, or rules and regulations. You can’t perform your way to salvation. The Galatians were infected by a few Judaisers who came in and told them they had to be circumcised to be “good Christians” and Paul was saying “no way” you are free. Salvation is a gift. There is no amount of good deeds one can do, no amount of rules and laws one can follow to add to the salvation God has given us. Otherwise Christ died in vain. (verses 5 and 6)
Paul goes further to explain that we (children of the Living God) should not use our liberty as a license to do ill. To ignore the calling to which God has called us and instead chase after things of the flesh and the lusts thereof: greed, envy, strife, sex, gluttony, and the like. We should not use our liberty to defile the temple of Christ of which we are.
And then, Paul ends this section reminding us that Love is the end-all of all things. Love is what we should strive to embrace and embody. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” and how many of us actually do that on a daily basis? Can you be honest and say that you love that co-worker who dupes everybody into doing all the work? How about that person who is always angry or how about that person who is always an ass? Do you love these people or just put up with them?
My friend, we should constantly be asking these types of questions and looking diligently into our hearts to see if there is any room for improvement. Remember, we are saved, not because we’re perfect, but because He loves us perfectly. Praise God.