Grace be with Your Spirit

Galatians 6:11-18

See with what large letters I have written to you with my own hand! 12 As many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. 17 From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. 18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

In closing his letter, Paul summarizes and highlights his main point.  The religious people seeking to lead the Galatian believers astray are doing it to avoid their own persecution for Jesus’ name and to gain credit by making followers.  Paul reminds the reader that religion breeds hypocrisy – “not even those who are circumcised keep the law.” Religion is all an act; people act holy while hiding the unholy.  The admonition is twofold – don’t be misled by religion, and don’t be religious.

Religion avails nothing.  Following religious decrees makes no difference in our standing with God.  The difference-maker is Jesus. He makes all things new. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  Religion doesn’t make anything new. If we aren’t made new, then nothing else matters.

If we are going to follow anything religiously, it must be the gospel of grace.  Remember back in Galatians 4:18 where Paul said that it is good to be zealous for a good thing?  Braving grace demands a zealous adherence to the doctrine of justification by faith alone. It requires an emphatic understanding of the freedom we have in Christ.  Paul speaks peace and mercy on those who have this understanding.  

We have a New Testament that unveils Jesus and the message of radical grace.  We are responsible to read it and let the Holy Spirit help us to understand it.  Paul points out that he has the scars to testify of his zeal for this message and he doesn’t intend to continue hand-holding believers who are easily swayed by religious doctrine.  After 31 days immersed in grace, we should be of those who are zealous for grace and demonstrate life as new creations in Christ. The example is given. Now it is your turn. Go Brave Grace!

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