FAITH WORKING THROUGH LOVE
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love. (WEB)
The book of Galatians contains some very straight forward comments from the Apostle Paul to the church at Galatia. It seems that they started in the faith okay, but then some religious legalistics crept into their midst trying to get them to obey the Jewish law and become circumcised. If you haven't read Galatians for a while, I would encourage you to read the entire book. It is a good reminder for us all.
In today's Scripture passage, Paul clearly tells us when we are in Christ, neither being circumcised means anything (obey the law), or uncircumcision (living outside of the law)... but what really, really matters is faith working through love. Notice that Paul doesn't say it is by faith alone, but faith working through love.
It is important to note the combination of faith and love in this passage, because while faith is completely necessary (Hebrews 11:6), without the working of love in the midst of it, it can be like a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. This is what Paul says about faith without love in 1 Corinthians 13:2 - If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing. (WEB)
Love is to be the very foundation of all that we do. 1 John 4:16 tells us that God is love. The very essence and nature of His being is complete and absolute love. It is His love that is the foundation of everything that God does and so it should be with us.
No matter how spiritually gifted we are, if we are not bearing the fruit of the Spirit we are wasting our time. Galatians 5:22-23 - 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (WEB)
My prayer today is that we would all be reminded about the priority of love. May every expression of our faith rest upon the unconditional, eternal love of God. May we be reminded of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8...
4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with. (WEB)