by Philip Layton
Paul speaks about freedom in Christ
The gospel of Christ is based on being saved by grace through faith in Jesus (vv 1-6). Circumcision was a sign of turning away from faith and relying on the Jewish law instead. Paul argues that such rituals are unnecessary. Are there any rituals today that we may be tempted to feel are necessary to being a Christian?
Can you memorise the nine fruit of the Holy Spirit which we should each be cultivating in our lives (vv 22, 23)?
Share your thoughts below, or tweet about it with the #boundlessbible hashtag. Don't forget this week's Children's Challenge!
Going Deeper From 'Words of Life'
What is the Spirit life all about? Sometimes certain people think it’s all about belief. As long as you believe, all will be well. But belief is strongly linked to behaviour. If we believe Christ died for us and rose again to live within us through the Holy Spirit, it introduces us to vast possibilities of unique behaviour. Paul united the idea of fruit with the indwelling life of Christ through the Spirit in his term ‘the fruit of the Spirit’. He then described the fruit in more detail.
It’s important to realise that it’s ‘fruit’ – singular. We don’t get to choose which fruit we like best or do better with. All aspects of the ‘fruit’ are to be desired and cultivated. The fruit of the Spirit is a composite description of behaviour that is the direct result of a relationship with Christ, who indwells his people by his Spirit. It’s the Spirit life.
The fruit of the Spirit is love. Love comes first:
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind … Love your neighbour as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37, 39).
To love God requires the combined activity of the heart, soul and mind. Our heart strives to comprehend him. Our soul responds to him. Our mind puts this love into action. In this way we can love ourselves. It’s about selfhood, not selfishness. He created us. We are all unique. We are of worth to God. He redeemed us and called us.
When we have a correct perspective on how to love God, this translates into a proper love for our neighbour. God’s love even helps us to love our enemy. It’s all bound together in the Spirit life.
People need to love, and be loved. There are hurting homes, fractured relationships, broken people. Let’s be agents of love. As God’s love for us permeates our very being, may the beauty of his love be seen in all we say, all we do, all we are.
Beverly IvanyTags: Galatians