Daily email Number 218 – from the Vicar

It is Friday and we are now into the last 2 chapters of Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  Today’s passage is Chapter 5 verses 1 to 15.
And today’s key word seems to shout out from the passage, Freedom. Paul is saying that the Christian is free from the obligations of obeying the law in order to be justified/get right with God.  I’ll say it again, it is by God’s grace we have been saved, and our response in faith to all that God has done in Christ. And for Gentiles to get circumcised in obedience to the law, means they both now have to obey the whole law so that they can be right with God, but also nullifies that grace freely given by Him.
I love the little illustration in v.7 as a keen watcher of Athletics, now on TV, but in years past at meetings at Crystal Palace.  Paul says they are running a good race, but then it is as if someone cuts in on them, and so they have to chop their stride, or stop running, or perhaps even fall over, and their race is potentially ruined.  Though there are famous athletics examples of where someone has fallen over, but got back again and completed the race, still won a medal, or even won the race, so anything is possible, redeemable!!
As I said at the beginning of this series, the whole subject of circumcision isn’t big on the agenda of the church today, but from time to time, teaching arises in the church that to be a proper Christian and to be really saved you MUST do this or that, tithe your money or speak in tongues or take Communion every week, or don’t drink or smoke or gamble or go shopping on Sundays. Now these may be helpful things to do or not to do, and the Lord by His Spirit may speak to us about these issues, but none of these actions actually saves us, it is our faith in Christ that does that.
And as we work these things out in our own Christian lives hopefully the final verses from today’s passage as well as tomorrow’s will help us.  From v.13 onwards Paul writes that just because Christians are free from obedience to the law, that doesn’t we are free to indulge our sinful nature, but rather that we serve one another in love, and not keep attacking each other.  More of this tomorrow…
From our extended church address list please remember in your prayers today,    
– Pat and Catherine- Jotham and Jethro

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