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. (Galatians 5:1-6 ESV)
I realize that this is my third post on this blog and I in serious danger of coming across as something of a Matt Chandler fan-boy, so let me explain myself… Some people start their day with a reading from My Utmost for His Highest, a Spurgeon devotional reading, or that day’s reading assignment from their “read the Bible in one year” plan, but in my house, my day begins at about 5:30am and one of the first things I hear is my wife playing a Matt Chandler sermon while she feeds the baby. Believe it or not, waking up to a 45 minutes sermon isn’t as bad as you may be thinking! I digress…
I would encourage you to listen to this sermon and reflect upon the fact that the Gospel plus or minus anything is no longer the Gospel. Let me unpack that.
We, Christians, often hear the Gospel, receive and accept it, but then add to it. “I am saved through imputed righteousness via Christ’s propitiatory death AND by attending church, not swearing, doing community service, homeschooling my kids, and abstaining from anything I wouldn’t want my Grandmother to hear about.” If we add to the Gospel, then we no longer believe in the Gospel!
If you’re unfamiliar with the book of Galatians and seeing repeated usage of the word “circumcision” either confused you or made you feel very uncomfortable – don’t worry, these verses are part of a larger letter written to Christians who were struggling with adding to the Gospel and circumcision was the example Paul was using. And, the freedom being referred to, is the freedom from the burden of trying “keep” the law (which is impossible), freedom from a fear-based obedience to a set of rules and empty-religion, and the freedom to live in obedience to God through faith in and as a response to the Gospel – the whole Gospel, and nothing but the Gospel.
Chandler gives an incredibly convicting and inspiring sermon here, and again, I’d really encourage you to take a listen and reflect upon the Gospel today.