Galatians 6:1-6, 7-16 (NRSV)
Chapter 6My friends, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted. Verse 2Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Verse 3For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves. Verse 4All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor's work, will become a cause for pride. Verse 5For all must carry their own loads. Verse 6Those who are taught the word must share in all good things with their teacher. Verse 7Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow. Verse 8If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit. Verse 9So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest-time, if we do not give up. Verse 10So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.
Verse 11See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand! Verse 12It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised-only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. Verse 13Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh. Verse 14May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Verse 15For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything! Verse 16As for those who will follow this rule-peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
The Old Testament Levitical Law was a covenant between God’s people and God as we read in Exodus 19:5: “Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you will be my treasured possession out of all the peoples.” It was a binding agreement between God and his people which they were required to obey. Paul now reminds the Galatians and us that the Old Testament Law was fulfilled by Jesus’ death and resurrection. In a new freedom found in Christ, we live by the new covenant with God which involves a mutual responsibility and interdependence. We as believers need not be confined to the laws of the flesh but rather are bound by the laws of the heart, loving our neighbor as ourselves and in the humble service of love.
Lord, make us an instrument of your peace and love. Grant us the knowledge to realize that Jesus’ love for us is not of the flesh but of the Spirit. Amen.