We need to understand that our faith works through God’s love for us – not our love for Him. When we understand the depth, width, and length of His love for us, how much He loves us, then He will be able to do more than we can ask for or think according to the power (Love) that works in us!
The Galatian Church was floundering, they were turning back to what they had come out of, they were stagnant, lukewarm, and turning from what they were called to be and do. The Holy Spirit, through Paul, was and is warning the church not to turn back to the law or the world.
We are all equal in the sight of God, the man-made dividing walls can only be removed by the witness and work of the Spirit through God’s people who practice, and work for, equality, justice, and love for all. The foundation of our unity is love of God and neighbor. Since God’s word clearly teaches that we were all created form the same substance, “Dust you are and to dust you shall return,” should we not behave towards each other with love and fellowship and offer the same grace that was afforded us (Genesis 3:19)?
The Old Testament practice of circumcision had value only if you obeyed the Law. But if you didn’t, or don’t, obey God’s Law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised gentile; an unbeliever. If anyone counts on works of the Law for salvation/grace today, they have failed to recognize what Jesus accomplished on the Cross, failed to understand the blood shed for their sin, failed to accept the grace and the life given for their redemption. They are still dead in their sin!
Faith is a prerequisite for hope and love, “Now these three remain-faith, hope, and love…” (1 Corinthians 13:13). So in a sense, faith is belief in something and a requirement to possess other things. Jesus said in Matthew 17:20, “…if you have faith as small as mustard seed…” you can accomplish amazing things for God. The mustard seed needs to be watered each day for it to grow. Seemingly, nothing happens for a very long time, but one day it sprouts and grows into a large tree.
Why do people turn from Christ and His Church? Does the world hold more promise? More love? Or is it what I said earlier, that many do not have a strong spiritual foundation and so fall victims of a lie of Satan? Have we forgotten, as Francis Chan writes, The Holy Spirit? It is The Spirit of Christ that is empowering our salvation and enabling our walk in this world. It is the Helper, the Spirit of the living God who convicts of sin, who reveals the Gospel, who teaches and guides, it is He that intercedes for the saints, cleanses, indwells, seals, fills, and empowers Christ followers.
If I, through works of the Law, by following it to the letter, could get to heaven, then Christ died for nothing! I cannot get me to heaven! I/ego gets in the way! Ego: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-conceit, self-image, self-confidence. The Big I! I/ego must be crucified in order to follow Christ! Can we, with Paul, proclaim, “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God,who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). If not, then deny yourself and humbly come and pray. Crucify the flesh with its passions and pride!
When you try to make yourself look good by following something other than Christ, whether it is tradition or some other set of standards, then you easily set yourself apart, or above, other believers. When you separate yourself to exclude those who don’t measure up, when you consider yourself better than other believers, you are just plain wrong!
You can lose the focus of your calling and become disconnected from the church when you are not seeking to grow spiritually, when the concerns of this world and busyness of life are a priority over Christ and His Gospel. We need to have Paul’s tenacity and devotion to the Father’s will! There is great joy in not only beginning well in our Christian faith, but also to end faithfully! It is God’s desire that each of us could say at the end of our lives, “I was not disobedient.”
There are many, just like there were in the congregations in Galatia, that are in the process of deserting Him who called them in grace. They may not be turning to a different gospel, but, they are turning away. Today, we have many gospels: the perverted prosperity gospel, the name it and claim it gospel, the I-had-a-moment-of-belief gospel and, my favorite, I-don’t-have-to-attend-a-service-or-be-active-as-a-Christian gospel.
These letters of Paul are sent for different reasons. The letter to the Galatian churches, to the congregations in Galatia, is one of rebuke and correction. Apostasy/rebellion was taking place, they were turning away from the true Gospel of the Kingdom, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.