To Follow Jesus
My notes on Every Day with Jesus, written by Selwyn Hughes; revised and updated by Mick Brooks, published by CWR.
November/December 2015 Issue – Bright Morning Star, ‘… for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.’ Acts 4:12
The text set for today’s reading and meditation:
Galatians 5:1-15 (NIVUK): “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 required to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith 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 to keep 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, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offence of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
Selwyn starts today’s discussion on obedience, by saying: “In the search for freedom, what is to be the centre of our obedience? It most certainly cannot be society, for its standards change from one generation to the next. Can it be a political system? No – for that is equally fallible.
If the centre of our obedience is not to be society or a political system then what about conscience? Can that be our guide? Again sadly no, for conscience can either accuse or excuse according to the information that has been fed into it. Conscience may be a good guide but it is not an infallible guide.
All these things I have mentioned – and I could mention others – are imperfect laws of freedom. They crack under the pressure of life.. There is only one perfect law of freedom – the law that is caught up in Jesus.”
I liked today’s reading, especially this verse: “The only thing that counts is faith (in Jesus) expressing itself through love.” As we approach Christmas, we could make a special effort to love others in a way that demonstrates the freedom we have in Christ. Perhaps that could be an act of kindness to a stranger in our community, we can love freely because – we are free – indeed!