READ GALATIANS 5:7-15
FREEDOM TO SERVE IN LOVE
It is disobedience to leave the truth and go back to legalism. Where there is legalism the message of the cross of Jesus is watered down. When we truly understand what happened at the cross, we discover that the cross is offensive. It is offensive to our self-righteousness. It is offensive to our religious efforts. It is offensive to our human desire to be self-made people. It is offensive to every form of external effort on our part to earn our righteousness. We as Christians do not tend to struggle with this at the point of Salvation. Rather we struggle with this in our day to day living as Christians where we ignore the cross for the predictability and safety of religious self-effort. Paul has strong words in verse 12 for people who want to water down the impact of the cross for safe religion: “I wish that they would castrate themselves!” What he is saying is that those who want to be circumcised and add the law to their lives should just mutilate themselves and cut themselves off from the church completely. These are strong words and rough humour but there is judgment that comes on legalism and Paul is not afraid to say so. Legalism must never be entertained.
The kinds of things that were high on the agenda in the Mosaic law are not important to the Christian. We have no interest in holy buildings, holy days, holy foods. Even the preaching of morality is not the central concern of the church, for morality comes automatically when we walk in the Spirit. Instead we should persist in faith, and more faith, in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ. Our faith in Jesus results in the continuing leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and then we are enabled to love everyone everywhere. And this is how we grow in maturity. The Mosaic law is something we learn from in that it points to Jesus, but we are not under it at all!
We are called to freedom. And how do we use this freedom? We use our freedom to walk in new life, and the core of this new life is loving each other. Because we love each other well, we will serve each other well. Focussing on love fulfils the law anyway, Paul tells us. Legalism causes us to bite and devour one another, but love causes us to serve one another. When we use our freedom to bring freedom to others, we are living as Christians.
QUESTIONS TO REFLECT ON:
- Am I obeying the truth?
2. Am I allowing the message of the cross of Jesus to have its full effect in every area of my life?
3. What can I do this week to serve my church family in love?