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Which path leads to God?

Or: what do I have to do to find God?

Allow myself to be curtailed? Paul believes: Then I can also let myself be castrated.

Don’t let your freedom be taken away!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery! Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. "A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion will pay the penalty, whoever he may be. Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

Live in the love from the power of the spirit

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbour as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.
Text from Galatians 5, 1-16

What is the text actually about, what does it want to tell us?

Short background information for writing the letter:

  • The community was mainly made up of heathens, but there were also some Jews.
  • Paul writes to a community which he co-founded and had visited twice (he had converted them.)
  • After Paul, other preachers came and they insisted on obedience of Moses’ rules -> this was only way to God
  • The Galatians believed this and lived accordingly (e.g. circumcision) and there were arguments because everyone wanted to prove that they upheld the rules the best
  • Paul wants to show them that they believe the “wrong apostles“(„I really marvel at the fact that you are so quick to be prepared to be pulled away from God [...] you believe that you have found another way to salvation? However there cannot be any other evangelism! There are only a few people who are causing confusion by falsifying the message of Christ.)

What is important? What is correct?

  • Christ has freed us; he wants us to remain free.
  • It is true that you will not be burdened by a yoke of slavery!

This means: Jesus died for us, so that we do not have to live according to laws and almost “buy” God’s grace. We can now simply come to God without having to do anything. However we must make sure that we do not let ourselves be burdened by the yoke of slavery (this means not becoming a slave of our sins and follow the wrong goals).

The connection to us – that cannot happen to me!

Maybe you are now thinking „yes well, the Galatians were stupid enough to fall into any old preacher’s trap, but that cannot happen to me! “

  • Unfortunately it can happen
  • According to our human yardsticks, even we sometimes cannot understand that God’s love for us always applies and we want to “compile” it with deeds. We are often told this.

However we will never find God if we believe that we can achieve this with good deeds or external appearances (circumcision). Obviously it is important to live according to the commands of brotherly love but not “to get into heaven” but simply as a natural sequel to our faith.

What counts then? The tips are in the text:

Live from the power of the Holy Spirit and develop a trusting faith and then everything else is no longer needed or no longer important.

  • Only the trusting faith counts, which has an effect on his active love.
  • We live from the power of the Holy Spirit and place everything in our faith and trust.
  • Live from the power which the spirit of God gives us; then you must not follow your own selfish wishes.

An entry from Lisa B., adapted slightly by

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