God’s word for us this week shows that a huge battle rages within every Christian, and it exhorts us to obedience with a list of “do’s” and “don’ts.” Yet truthfully, it seems impossible to “keep in step with the Spirit” and live out the fruit of the Spirit all the time, or even some of the time! So how are we actually supposed to live a life of Gospel Character? The answer is that yes, it’s about the fruit, but it’s also about the root — the “desires” of our hearts.
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The gospel is something altogether different than either religion or irreligion. It is free and free-ing! The gospel is free: we don’t have to earn salvation by our works. But the gospel is also freeing: it frees us to love and serve one another. Or, as the Apostle Paul puts it, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” That’s what the gospel is all about: Faith expressed through love.
Spiritual freedom and spiritual slavery dominate today's Scripture passage. The conclusion is, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free" (5:1). So whatever way we understand this challenging passage, it needs to be interpreted so that we know what it is like to live in spiritual freedom with our Lord Jesus. Understanding this freedom is at the core of the gospel.
In today's passage, we see that religion enslaves just as much as irreligion. It's not about what you do or don't do; it's about who you know (and who knows you). And we'll see from the Apostle Paul's example that this truth shouldn't just impact our own lives personally, but also the way we serve and minister to other Christians and non-Christians around us.
Have you wondered how the Law (the Ten Commandments) fits in with the Gospel declaration that we are saved by faith and not by works of the law? Huge parts of Christendom confuse us by failing to clarify the purpose of the Law. This confusion relates closely to the matter Paul is attempting to spell out in his letter to the Galatian churches, the recipients of this letter. Today we join Paul in attempting to explain the purpose of the Law and its relationship to the Gospel.
What happens when our actions don't "line up" with our beliefs? It's this kind of hypocrisy that the Apostle Paul confronts the Apostle Peter about in this week's passage. Galatians 2:11-21 will show us why we don't always act in accordance with our beliefs and how we can strive to "live in line with the gospel" every day.
In the first chapter of Galatians, Paul has begun to build a very compelling case for why we must not distort the true gospel message. Here in chapter 2, he goes to great lengths to ensure that the integrity of the gospel remains intact. Why? For you and me!
In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul goes to great lengths to show that the gospel comes only from God; it’s not a human invention. And to prove his point, Paul shares his testimony. This week, we’ll see how the gospel saved Paul – and saves us – from both irreligion and religion, so that we can be free to please God because He is pleased with us in Christ.
The Apostle Paul writes against false teachers who tried to add to God’s grace through religious performance, a trap that modern day Christians easily fall into. Paul reminds us that God’s pleasure in us is not based on our performance for Him. Instead, God’s pleasure in us is based on His perfect, gracious, loving performance for us.