Faith and love

Christ has truly set us free, so make sure that you stay free, and don’t become a slave to the law again.

Look! I, Paul, am telling you this: if you’re counting on circumcision to put you right with God, Christ will be of no benefit to you. I’ll say it again: if you are trying to find favour with God by being circumcised, then you’ll need to obey every regulation in the whole law of Moses. For if you’re trying to put yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you’ve cut yourselves off from God’s grace.

But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus it makes no difference whether we’re circumcised or uncircumcised. All that matters is faith expressing itself in love.

You were running the race so well. Who tripped you up from following the truth? It certainly wasn’t the one who called you to freedom. False teaching is like a little yeast that spreads throughout the whole batch of dough! But I’m trusting the Lord to keep you from believing these false teachings. God will judge that person, whoever he is, who’s been confusing you.

Dear brothers and sisters, if I were still preaching that you must be circumcised—as some say I do—why am I still being persecuted? For in that case the offence of the cross would have been taken away. Oh, how I just wish those people who are confusing you would simply cut themselves off.

For you’ve been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters, but don’t use this freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use it to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” But if you’re always biting and devouring one another, watch out that you don’t destroy one another.

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide you. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature wants. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you aren’t free to carry out your good intentions. But when you’re guided by the Holy Spirit, you’re no longer under any obligation to the law of Moses.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarrelling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I’ve often told you before, anyone living that sort of life won’t inherit the kingdom of God.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There’s no law against these things!

Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. So, since we live by the Spirit, let’s follow the Spirit in every part of our lives. Then we won’t become conceited, or provoke each other, or be jealous of one another.

Paul

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