Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Galatians 5:2-15 (NRSV)
Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.
You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!
For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
A young adult once told me that she could never be a pastor because she could not stand up in the pulpit and judge people for what they were doing wrong. I was concerned that she believed such was the focus of a pastor or any Christian person.
Because of Christ we have forgiveness through grace. Let us practice the freedom we are given in Christ, living as examples of grace by loving our neighbors as ourselves. May all who see us “know we are Christians by our love.”
Gracious God, thank you for opening the way to life that is full and free and forever through Jesus our Lord. Help us to live that way daily—fully and freely, with arms and hearts open wide. Help us to love you and to love one another with every thing we do or say and with every breath we take. In Jesus’ living and loving name we pray. Amen.
Go with God.