Fill me with Your hope today, Lord Jesus.
Read Galatians 5:1–15
Freedom in Christ
5 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 4 You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” 10 I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 11 Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 12 As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
Life by the Spirit
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh[a]; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
a Galatians 5:13 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit; also in verses 16, 17, 19 and 24; and in 6:8.
b Galatians 5:14 Lev. 19:18
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhat in your life or future is worth fighting for?
The cross sets us free. Free from guilt. Free from guilty consciences. Free from the unbearable burden of earning God’s love. But you have to fight to remain free. Standing firm (1) is active and takes effort because there are many voices that hinder (7), infect (9), trouble (10), and unsettle (12) us.
So Paul repeats his core message, but now with even more extreme language (2–4,12). Why? Because this matters too much, because he loves the Galatians too deeply. And if anything more than Christ crucified is necessary for salvation (Acts 15:1,5), we lose everything (2–4). If the Gospel is “Jesus plus…” we’re on our own. We’re back in miserable slavery, with no assurance and no hope.
So instead of working for God’s welcome, we await it (5). The word “hope” in English is a vague wish (“I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow”). The word “hope” in Greek means something future, but certain. The Gospel is a cast-iron, absolute assurance we will one day stand before God faultless and full of joy (Jude 24). And if it’s certain then, it’s certain now. To “eagerly await” means enjoy it today! Enjoy who you are in God’s sight. Know that nothing you do or don’t do can derail you from his love now, or prevent your future joy with him forever.
Meditate on your certain future with Christ. How does that fuel your love for him now? How does it help you to live for him? How does it help you to love and serve others? What can you do today just to show God that you love him?
Jesus, I love You so much! I am overwhelmed by how good You are to me!