Prayer: O God, let us have faith in you through your Word, in Christ. Amen.
Faith is everything
6 …the only thing that counts is faith working through love.
Many of the early Christians argued that the Jewish traditions had to be followed, in order to belong to the Way. This was an easy assumption. If you were non-Jewish, and you began to follow Jesus, who was a Jew, one would tend to accept that it was necessary to do most things Jewish. It is like, when you become a Lutheran, you come to learn about Lutheran traditions and practices. The important distinction is that you don’t have to follow all the traditions in order to become a Lutheran.
In Paul’s day, there was much more pressure by some Jewish Christians to require new followers of Jesus to become Jewish as well; adopting all the Jewish traditions including circumcision. Paul argued against this physical requirement because it wasn’t important to become a Christian. The only thing that counted was faith working through love.
Sometimes we get so caught up in the traditions and the details, we miss the purpose. Our devotion writer refers to the “paralysis analysis” …that if I get consumed by the question, I fail to do anything. My faith isn’t active in love. My faith isn’t active. Christ is not at work in me. Through Christ, you and I are free to respond in faith to the decisions that challenge us and the needs we face. We can live out our calling to love and serve our neighbor without concern for what others think. We can stop worrying about those things that don’t count for anything and be about what really counts!”
Prayer: “O God, help me put my faith into action through loving words and deeds. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Nature of Christian Freedom
2 Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. 4 You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.