Monday, August 31, 2009

Words of Encouragement

As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves! You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature[a]; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself.  - Galatians 5:12-14

Freedom from sin. Paul is addressing the belief that was making its way into the church. That was the belief that some work must be done inorder for Christians to be saved. This was directed at the Gentiles by some that were called Judizers. Paul's words in the first part of this scripture are quite harsh. He calls these individuals "agitators". He calls them this because they are causing confusion among the believers. He says that he wishes they would emasulate themselves! Wow!

Talk about not being spiritually correct! Paul lets his readers know he is passionate about this believe that salvation is through any work of man. He tells them first that they are free from sin. Not to indulge in sinful behavior, but to live for God.

He says the entire scripture is summed up in one command, love your neighbor as yourself. Reading this scripture would make you think it does not flow together. How does the first line connect to the rest of this message? One could look at this scripture and say that it is the love of one another that will keep us from inflicting unnecessary "laws" upon others. It is also love that should direct us and keep us from causing confusion among the believers. When we love one another we will not only walk in the freedom we have but we will also allow others to walk in the freedom that God has called them to. We will not seek to place rules upon rules on what someone should do.

Instead, we will use our time to seek how to live for God and pray that others are able to resist the pull of sin upon their lives. We will love others enough to pray for their strength as we pray for our own. These believers that were  causing trouble had a problem that the Gentiles did not have to do any work. Remember for the Jewish people the commandments and the Laws to them were about rules for conduct and on how they should live. The be curcimsized was one sign of them being one of God's childrens. Now this "new" way was saying you did not have to do any more of the rules. For some this was difficult. Today we have to remember the same thing. For some that have been told that they have to follow "rules" find it difficult that you do not have to follow "rules" you only have to accept Christ to be saved.

I believe Paul's addressing of freedom is to remind them that while the rules have been fulfilled through Christ, it does not mean you have no responsiblity to what you were called to. In other words you were not saved from sin, to continue in sin.

Prayer: Today Lord we do not want to be like the people of Paul's time and place unnecessary burdens upon others. Help us to walk in the freedom given to all believers. Not freedom to sin as we will, but freedom from sin so that we can live right before you. Help us to love one another in prayer, in actions and in the way we encourage others to live for you. Help us to show ourselves as a unified body of Christ. Amen.