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The Journal

Relationships shaped by grace

Relationships shaped by grace  In Galatians 16-6:5  Paul is concerned that we live godly lives & do not allow sin to dominate our lives  5:16.  Faith in Jesus naturally affects how you live which includes your attitude toward God and your attitude to other people. There is a battle going on inside each of us between what God’s Spirit is leading us to do and what He is growing in us and what our old nature wants to hang onto.  Paul outlines the acts of our sinful nature 5:19-21 and contrasts this with the character which the Holy Spirit builds in us 5:22-23.  There is a warning that if we continue to indulge our sinful nature we may not inherit eternal life because we don’t belong to Jesus 5:21,23. The key to growing in godliness is not to try harder. Rather it is by faith to take hold of the work of Christ on the cross and that our sinful natures have been crucified with Christ. True conversion produces new desires in us through being given a new heart by the Spirit as He applies the benefits of Jesus’ death.  If we don’t live by the Spirit our old sinful nature will rise up and one of the consequences is that is that we struggle to live well with others - 5:26.  Paul instructs us 6:1-6 on how to help others when someone  is caught in sin. The emphasis in dealing with sin is on restoration and being gentle.  Our attitude to sin should be that it doesn’t surprise us when we see it in ourselves or in others but neither do we indulge it but seek to repent of it and seek God’s power to resist it. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

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The goal is love

The goal is love In Galatians 5:1-15 Paul reminds the Christians of who they are in Christ. They have freedom. They are free from condemnation, they are free from fear and guilt and so because of their new identity in Christ we are to stand firm and not allow ourselves to be burdened by the slavery of trying to obey the Law as a basis for acceptance before God. Standing firm is a military term and carries the idea of being vigilant and not letting yourself be robbed of Christ’s blessing through the lies of the devil. Anything other than faith alone in Christ is slavery. Jesus spoke about the yoke he gives which brings rest in Matthew 11. Jesus means that we rest from trying to prove ourselves or justify ourselves. If these Christians agree to be circumcised then they are committing themselves to obey the whole Law as the basis for salvation. The Christian life is lived through the power of the Spirit by faith. We make progress and grow in the Christian life in the same way that we first became followers of Jesus. It is through faith alone in what Jesus has done. We must not forget that we are righteous through faith v6. This new identity however is not an excuse to go about and sin. In fact if we have faith in Christ we have a new nature which is loved by God and so wants to please God because of the great security which we already have. Throughout this passage Paul highlights that our motive for doing things is very important. The Christian motivation is faith which expresses itself through love. True faith in Jesus leads to loving others. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara 

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Depending on God for righteousness

Depending on God for righteousness In Galatians 4:8-20 Paul is shocked that the Galatians are leaving the Gospel which brings freedom and listening to the false teachers. Before these people became Christians they were Gentile pagans and worshipped a variety of idols which affected every part of their life. In 4:8-9 Paul says that their desire to return to the basic principles of this world which are weak and miserable and have no power to change them is like embracing idolatry again. In 4:10 he indicates that these Christians are adopting special days and and seasons as a basis for their confidence before God. We are always tempted to trust in what we do to be right with God. The Bible says that at the Cross Jesus completed the work of salvation and we need do nothing else to be right with God except trust alone in what Christ has done. This is humbling because in life we are use to earning things and the importance of our performance for our sense of value. But with God it is all about grace. God’s Blessing Rev David O’Mara  

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