Who hindered you from obeying the truth?

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Devotion In Motion
Monday Meditation
05/03/2021
Galatians 5:7-15

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?  This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off! 

 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

  Keeping on the theme of Legalism and continuing on his defense of the gospel of grace Paul asks the Galatians who it was that was twisting the truth on them. And In verse 7, Paul asks the Galatians, “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?” This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you.” The toxic mixture of grace and works the Galatians were following wasn’t the message Paul taught them . He warns them… “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” Legalism is like yeast in dough. It corrupts by puffing up. In plays on our pride. It’s a show-me religion “Look at how good I am!” – and it can pollute an entire church very fast. Verse 10, “I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is. And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased.” 

The message Paul preached was the cross of Christ – which was what offended the Jews. That Jesus had to die, meant man could never be good enough for God… God’s grace is war on man’s pride. You see Paul wasn’t the target of Jewish persecution for preaching  OT legalism… Paul was the target for preaching amazing grace! 

 Keep in mind, the flashpoint for the Jewish legalists in Galatia was circumcision. This was what they were adamant about. You couldn’t please God without it. And this is why Paul says in verse 12… “I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!” Paul gets pretty angry. He says to the legalists who insist on circumcision, “If you think clipping the male foreskin is what pleases God; then why not go all out and emasculate yourself?” One paraphrase puts it, “Why don’t these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!” Wow!! Paul is in a no holds barred. Verse 13, “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” For four chapters, Paul commands us to hold fast to our liberty in Christ. But he also knows he can be misunderstood. There are some headlines I read about that ran the same risk… “Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers.” “Iraqi head seeks arms.” “Astronaut takes blame for gas in spacecraft.” “Local High School dropouts cut in half.” “Man minus ear waives hearing.” LOL

Well, Paul also realizes he can be misunderstood. Just because we’re free from living under the Law doesn’t mean we have liberty to sin. Yes, rules no longer govern a Christian’s behavior, but that doesn’t mean his or her behavior doesn’t matter. Law is out, but love is in. You see We’ve swapped rules for a relationship. Pleasing God is still the goal, but the method has changed. 

The Law worked from the outside in – you had to be conformed to the rules. But grace puts us in touch with God, and His love transforms us from the inside out. Paul encourages us, “only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” God wants us controlled not by law or lust, but by love. People will always gravitate toward the extreme – it’s either legalism or license – but only grace produces love! 

The love of Christ produces gratitude toward God. Grace isn’t an excuse to sin, it’s the very reason not to sin! Verse 14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word…” And here it is… drumroll please… one word sums up the whole OT… “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The whole intent of the Law is to love others. “But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!” One of the most famous bites in history occurred in a 1997 heavyweight title fight between Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. The two boxers were tied up when Tyson leaned in and took a bite out of Holyfield’s ear. The boxing world was appalled by such a barbaric, classless tactic. Yet I wonder how many Christians have taken a bite out of another brother or sister because of what they think that person ought to be doing!. Paul is saying that no one is free to snip at each other with gossip and take a bite out of someone else’s reputation. Believers need to walk in love. 

Jesus said that all the law is fulfilled in love. If you are loving the Lord, then you will naturally love one another because that same love that caused Christ to die for you on the cross is the same Love that now resides in you. So its love that causes you to love your brother. 2nd: its love that causes you not to sin for the same reason. If that same love resides in you then you will not want to do anything that causes anyone to want to say anything about the Lord who loves you and you him. 

See it’s all about love!

“It was the end of their first date, a young man takes his favorite girl home. Emboldened by the night, he decides to try for that important first kiss.
With an air of confidence, he leans with his hand against the wall and, smiling, he says to her, “Darling, how ’bout a goodnight kiss?”
Horrified, she replies, “Are you mad? My parents will see us!”
“Oh come on! Who’s gonna see us at this hour?”
“No, please. Can you imagine if we get caught?  “Oh come on, there’s nobody around, they’re all sleeping! “No way. It’s just too risky!  “Oh please, please, I like you so much!!”
“No, no, and no. I like you too, but I just can’t!” “Oh yes you can. Please?” “NO, no. I just can’t.””Pleeeeease?…”Out of the blue, the porch light goes on, and the girl’s sister shows up in her pajamas, hair disheveled. In a sleepy voice the sister says: “Dad says to go ahead and give him a kiss. Or I can do it. Or if need be, he’ll come down himself and do it. But for crying out loud tell him to take his hand off the intercom button!”

 Amen

Victor Tafoya
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