Thursday 24 March 2022

Bible Book:

The only thing that counts is faith working through love. (v. 6)

Galatians 5:2-6 Thursday 24 March 2022

Psalm 106:1-10


Here we get to a key pastoral problem for Paul. It seems that some missionaries have been claiming that you could only be a Christian if (as a male) you submitted to the Jewish tradition of circumcision. To this Paul answers with an emphatic NO! Being circumcised or not can’t dictate whether people are in a good relationship with God. He comes back to his emphasis on faith as the only way for us to share in God’s love in Christ. For Martin Luther, as he took part in the Reformation of the 16th century, Galatians was a key text in his insistence that faith, and not works, was the route to our justification.

But what is faith? For Paul, faith is fundamentally about trust. It’s a relationship word. It’s not so much about what we believe (though that is a part of it) but it centres on our trust in a loving and faithful God. It’s not primarily something that we do, either. It begins and ends in God. God’s faith in us is fundamental and is shown to us in the servant ministry of Jesus Christ. But faith is not a passive thing; it is dynamic and active. ‘Faith working through love’ is faith expressed in lives that reflect the person of Jesus Christ, who is both the example and source of our love for our neighbours. And faith is forward-looking. It waits for the fullness of justice and righteousness (the two words are the same in Greek) and Christian hope is lived out in the power of the Holy Spirit, who enables us to stay faithful to our calling.

To Ponder:

  • What barriers to Christian identity might be the contemporary equivalent of circumcision?
  • How might ‘faith working through love’ be expressed in your life, church and community?


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