Scripture: Galatians 5: 1-15
Key verse: (1) “For freedom Christ has set us free.
Reflection: What do you think about when you hear the word freedom? It will affect how you read this letter from the Apostle Paul. If we read the highlighted verse above without looking at the context we might be tempted to think that freedom means we can do whatever we want. Of course, we know this isn’t true. Freedom has limits.
Paul is writing to early believers who were struggling to discover their identity in a new religion that was born out of the traditions of Judaism. The people in the church in Galatia were struggling to understand their freedom in Christ. Some wanted to return to the old ways, relying on works for salvation, rather than faith. It may seem strange to us that circumcision was at the center of this discussion. But, this makes sense in their context. There were a lot of Gentile believers in the new church and they weren’t circumcised. The Jews who had become Christians insisted that they needed to become Jews first (through circumcision) then they could become Christians. Many of them believed that this custom pleased God. Paul corrected them.
Sometimes we think that there are customs or traditions we need to follow in order to be considered faithful followers of Jesus. Paul reminds us there is nothing we can do to earn God’s favor. There is nothing that we need to accomplish before we can be followers of Jesus. We are not made right with God through our own efforts. We are made right by the resurrection love of Jesus Christ. Let’s live today in the protective shelter of his grace remembering that Christ has set us free opening our hearts to love and serve others.
Prayer: Gracious God, help us to use our call to freedom in Christ as an expression of your love. Where there is discord; may we be peacemakers. Where there is injustice; may we lift up our voices in protest. Help us to fulfill your law, through the power of your grace: to love you with all our heart, mind and strength and our neighbors as ourselves. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].