For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offence of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
Comment: Paul’s argument to try and persuade his listeners is a summary of earlier arguments.
- Stand firm in the freedom of Christ or submit to the slavery of obedience to the Law.
- If you submit to circumcision as a religious act to gain standing with God you are destroying your standing in Jesus.
- Submission to circumcision means submission to all the demands of the law.
- You fall from Grace in which the believer has a real hope of being accepted as forgiven and righteous. Faith alone is what makes us right with God.
- These teachers are not of God, but once listened to and their teaching accepted is like ‘leaven’ which alters the whole of the dough into which it is placed.
- If they are so keen on circumcising you, I wish that they would cut off all the bits in that area of their bodies! Strong language!
Prayer: Help me not only in this heresy, but in all diversions from Your Truth, to stand on the freedom I have in Jesus.