Basking in Son Light
Basking in Son Light
I was reminded this week of a verse I had not seen in a while.
Galatians 5:6 says, “For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.” (New Living Translation)
Faith expressing itself in love. Other translations of the Greek say “faith working through love.”
Galatians is the early letter to the church in Galatia, sent by Paul--the Jewish Pharisee converted now to Jesus--who has now become an apostle (early leader) in the church. One reason he is writing the letter is because he fears the new Galatian Christians have deserted the gospel (good news) of Christ for another gospel. By the true “gospel” he means the proclamation that sinful people have been “put right” (justified) in their relationship with God through the sheer grace of God’s Son dying for them on the cross—and by trusting Him as Savior. By “another gospel” (Paul clearly believes there is not another gospel) he means the false proclamation that—in addition to trusting in Christ and his saving death for us—there is some other religious, human act which we can do that will save us.
Some Galatian Christians were being told that trusting Christ was fine, but that in order to be right with God (saved) they had also to undergo the Old Testament Jewish ritual of circumcision, which God had given to Abraham and to his male descendants.
It is amazing how easy it is for us to think that we must be saved by something we do! This is the sinful human way: we are always looking for some way to save ourselves, rather than trusting that the only One who can save us is God!
If we are thinking that we can save ourselves, and that, therefore we have to save ourselves, our response will always be fear: Have we done it exactly right? Could we have done more? Did we do the right thing? Did we do it perfectly? The myth that we can save ourselves always makes us live in fear.
On the other hand if we are saved through faith (simple childlike trust in what Jesus did for us on the cross), then we can relax and live in love. As we bask in the Son light of God’s free love for us, we will reflect this love back to others!
Winfield Casey Jones is a retired pastor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The column first appears in the Pearland and Friendswood Reporter News.