Paul is refilled by the Holy Spirit for straight-talk to the Churches in Galatia. There is a very real Holy Spirit hesitation to be circumcised by the Christian men in the Churches. Paul addresses this. For, when we hesitate in major decisions like this, undergirded by prayer and supplication for the Lord’s clear direction, are our hesitations given to us by Holy Spirit?
In order to look more closely at the question let us follow Paul’s defense of the Gospel at this juncture of his letter. Paul says, “… if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” (Gal. 5:2) Paul who was circumcised on the eighth day of his life, a member of the Jewish tribe of Benjamin, Hebrew born, and zealous to the law so as to formerly persecute Christians makes this demand of the Galatian men– he counts all of his life before he met Christ as loss, gone, done with. He is new in Christ; Holy Spirit reliant.
In Philippians 3:8 Paul clarifies to us that, “I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Thus, everything that he was before he met Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, at salvation’s moment and continuing, the former is erased/disregarded/ put aside completely due to the freedom of Holy Spirits leadership in his life (and ours) by Grace. Paul is fully dependent on Holy Spirit.
Grace is the full mercy of God in our lives. We are sinners in need of salvation’s mercy. Laying our lives at the foot of the Cross of Jesus, receiving salvation from Him, we experience New Birth in Christ Jesus to be a full child of God– adopted/grafted into God’s Love. We are included now because of Christ Jesus’ death on the Cross and Resurrection. No law-demanded circumcision is needed, nor required.
Furthermore, Paul says that if you circumcise yourself to follow the old law of the Torah then you separate yourself from Christ– in that we will never in a lifetime live the law perfectly, Christ has overcome. Jesus Christ gives us God’s Grace, Alleluia! In Him we are made right by the Power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the Promised Blessing given to both Jew and Gentile alike. Holy Spirit may ask us to hesitate on a major decision so that we do not move forward until we have our sure answer from Christ. Our full reliance on the Holy Spirit is essential for every loving action we take; Holy Spirit leads and then we act. Loving actions are essential for our faith in Christ as we count on God as God is moving with majestic Justice, which will culminate in the final days when Jesus Christ gloriously returns to us.
We note that this is the first time Paul uses the word Agape (Love) in his letter (v.6). Agape is the Love of the Son of God for us who poured out His life for us to save us. Paul says, “… the only thing that counts is faith working through Love.” (v. 6) Our faith is not stagnant; we are called to do loving actions. A disciple’s work or ministry is found in Love. Agape Love is what matters. Circumcised or not is irrelevant to our calling in Christ Jesus.
The Galatians were on the right faith track and running well yet they were persuaded by those outside the faith with perverted gospel. If the Galatians allow the same missionaries into their midst again then more gospel perversion damage will be done. Those who misdirected the Galatians will pay the penalty to God and receive the Churches’ exclusionary judgement. And in the meantime Paul anathema’s them saying, “I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!” (v. 12)
Holy Spirit straight talk from Paul, the founding Pastor of AlphaChurch.org who Agape Loves us like his own children.