It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again, I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen from grace. For through the Spirit, we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
This week we have been looking at what it means to keep it simple. In this passage from Galatians, Paul reminds his readers to keep it simple. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote to clarify and defend the truth of the Gospel. It seems like some were trying to complicate the Gospel by adding all the Jewish laws back into the mix. Paul clearly writes to clear up the confusion. He states that those who are trying to be justified by keeping the Law are alienated from Christ.
This is a common temptation that appeals to our flesh. We want to do something to earn our salvation. Therefore, the list of rules is so appealing to us. Instead, Paul declares, “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.” The Galatians started running the race of the Christian life well, but Jewish teachers complicated things by imposing Jewish rules that lead to confusion. Instead, Paul reminds them of the Gospel of grace. In Romans, Paul declares that the law was given that sin might increase. The law was never to be a vehicle through which salvation is earned. The law was given to point us to our need for a Savior.
Therefore, the only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love. This is the simple truth of the Gospel. We are saved by His grace. Our salvation is maintained by His grace. As we trust in the person and work of Christ, we should exhibit God’s love in all its various forms. In the end, this is what really matters. In First Corinthians chapter thirteen, we discover that love is the most important thing. Paul writes, “If I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.” Faith expressing itself in love! How will your faith and love for Jesus show this Christmas?
Questions to Ponder
Why do you believe we complicate the Gospel? What did Paul mean when he wrote, “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself in love”? What are some ways that you can keep it simple this Christmas season?
Spend some time in prayer meditating on what God revealed to you today.