Archives For circumcision

The Anti 12 Step Plan

January 30, 2012

We left off  with Paul showing the futility of adding works to Christ, attempting to gain the favor of God. Now he is giving the Galatians the secret to success as a Christian. Don’t miss it!

Read Galatians 5:16-26.

Wait a second!
Where is the 12-step plan?
Where is the formula?

Again Paul uses the contrast of spirit and flesh. The “secret method” he gives is to “walk or live by the Spirit.” In other words, live a life of trust and dependence on God. Do not rely or trust in yourself or your own works.

He reminds the Galatians they were saved by trusting God without any of their own works or effort involved.

How do you live and grow? The same way.

If you have been following the 7 Minutes a Day Series, you know that the issue Paul is dealing with in Galatians is a false teaching of Jesus + circumcision. According to these false teachers, it was the secret to the successful Christian life. It is into this situation that Paul writes his letter to the Galatians.

As you read, ask yourself if you are as serious about a “Jesus +” mentality as Paul was.

Click HERE to read the text : Galatians 5:1-15

Galatians 5:1 has echoes of redemption and righteousness, showing the Galatians were set free from trying to measure up to the Law. Why would they go back to it? Works based salvation is equated to slavery. By trying to improve the work of Christ with the act of circumcision, the Galatians are going back to the Law (a works based system).

This is a part of the 7 Minutes a Day Series. It might be helpful to scroll to the bottom and see previous portions of Galatians we’ve explored.

I have spent nearly 20 years working in missions. In my travels I meet many people who serve with different motivations. Some serve out of a desire to help those pushed down by life and society. Some serve in order to fulfill part of the Great Commission.

Those who are the most miserable on the missions field are those serving out of a sense of guilt or obligation. They begin their commitments with zeal and passion. Then things get tough. Culture shock hits. The converts don’t come rolling in. When this happens, those motivated by guilt respond in different ways.

Sometimes people give up and leave the field (or even their faith) completely. When we serve for the wrong reasons, the mission field will chew us up and spit us out.

This is a part of the 7 Minutes a Day Series. It might be helpful to scroll to the bottom and see previous portions of Galatians we’ve explored.

All children look forward to the day when they no longer have a babysitter. You may have had some incredible times with a sitter, learning fun things, but the moment you are mature enough to stay by yourself is a milestone in any child’s life.

The Jews were telling the Galatians they needed the babysitter of the Law, specifically circumcision. Remember, they said this was the secret to success as a Christian.

Let’s read the passage in Galatians before we go any further……

Galatians 3:15-29(click on this and read the passage. Yes, this is included in the 7 minutes!)

Often, it seems our Christian lives are consumed with attempts at pleasing God. Sunday school sayings of “read your Bible, pray every day, and you’ll grow, grow, grow” echo through our minds.

How do we know we are pleasing to God?

In my travels and ministry, I meet very few people who can confidently say God is pleased with them. Many avoid saying it for fear of sounding arrogant or self-centered.

The doctrine of justification tells us we are pleasing to God.

This is the teaching that Paul is expressing to the Galatian believers who are being told to add works to their faith. Read the following passage to see.

Galatians 2:15-21(link – click on this and read the passage. Yes, this is included in the 7 minutes!)

Paul affirms that by their faith, they have received the gift of justification. It was not by adding circumcision or any other work.