We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Bruce Sampson.
6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
The book of Galatians starts off in a very different tone than the rest of Paul’s letters in the New Testament. He glosses over much of the niceties from his former letters, and cuts right to the point addressing the church in Galatia. It came from a place of deep passion and frustration. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t want to be on the other end of this letter.
This is the moment where you would want to strap on your seatbelts…
In the time that the Jesus movement had taken off in the first century, there had been a big following of believers, both Jews and Gentile (non-Jews). Historically, God chose Israel as his covenant people to be set apart by the law of circumcision, eating kosher, and observing the sabbath. In efforts to preserve the law and its practices, many Jewish Christians were teaching to non-Jews that to truly be apart of God’s family they must observe the same rituals.
Some of these Jew went to the church of Galatia demanding that the non-Jewish male Christians get circumcised. When Paul caught word of this, he was deeply saddened and angered. Paul calls what they are doing “turning to a different gospel.” The gospel, or “good news” as any follower of Jesus should know it, meant trusting in Jesus who rescued us from our sins and brought us out of darkness and into light. This was never meant to be about our works or our ability to keep the law- but some tried.
Even today we try to match the strength of the true gospel to the potential of our own. I love what Paul states in verse 7, “for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.” In other words, whatever strength you put in to saving your own life will also be the strength that sustains your life. Whatever laws you have to keep, whatever image you have to uphold, whatever lie you have fed into, whatever feeling you have to keep bottled inside, whatever substance or lifestyle you go back to becomes your strength.
Can you honestly say that in your own strength it has been working to save you?
The good news is that Jesus has already fulfilled the law that we could never keep on our own. While the law was good, it never gave the people of Israel the strength to obey it. It’s why they needed a rescuer and it’s why we still need one today.
In our own strength we will always come up short. Jesus died so that we could live not to the law, but through His Spirit. As Paul wrote, “but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit real eternal life”. The true strength that we need is found in the Holy Spirit who give us the strength to break free from our slavery to sin and the law that tangles us. Let’s respond to the outstretched hand of Jesus our rescuer so that we too might take hold of eternal life today.
Thank you Lord that while we were striving to keep your law, you sent your Son Jesus in our place. We rest in the fact that we don’t have the strength to do this life on our own. It is only because of the Holy Spirit that gives us strength that we can learn to follow you with our whole hearts. Teach us to be a people that loves you and love others. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
Through the Spirit, Jesus makes us people who love God and who love others. Jesus says that this is what completes the law. Specifically what areas in your relationships have you sown in your own strength that sowing in the Spirit could produce better results?
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