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  • Recap:

    Paul is telling the Galatians why Christians are no longer under the laws of Moses. It seems the Jews in Galatia have managed to convince the new Christians they have to “go along to get along” to not be persecuted by either the Jews or the Romans, but Paul is telling them to remain faithful in the gospel, which has released them from formalism and sacrifices.


    Stand strong in your faith as Christians, and don't let anyone feed you lies.

    Being a Jew means you are bound by the law of Moses, and you are therefore condemned by that law, since all have sinned and without Christ there is no salvation. It doesn't matter if you are circumcised or uncircumcised. The circumcision God is looking for is the cutting away of sin from your life, not the removal of flesh from your body.

    Repenting your sins, accepting the truth of Jesus, letting the Holy Spirit lead you to be a witness to others: these are the changes God is looking for in your lives.

    You were doing so well! Who was it who fed you this line of, well, you know what I mean. Make sure to tell everyone there the truth and don't gossip among one another. Look around you! A little gossip can sure cause a lot of misery, can't it!

    I have complete faith you will turn this around and get back on track. Whoever started this nonsense, the Lord will hold them accountable.

    Think about it, brothers and sisters, how much easier would my life be if I were to preach what the Jews want to hear. If I preached circumcision and sacrifices and rituals, I'd probably be wealthy and respected by the Jews and the Romans. I wouldn't be here in Rome under arrest and waiting for my appeal before Caesar. Yet here I sit, and for the cause of preaching the truth about Jesus to you and all the brothers and sisters who would listen.

    You have been blessed with the truth, my children. You are free of the burdens of the past. You are free to fulfill His greatest commandment; love without condition.

    If you perform all the rituals in the world perfectly, but don't fulfill that commandment, nothing else will matter. Walk in the Spirit, my children. Don't follow the instincts of the flesh.

    Your body will try to run your life if you let it. But you don't have to live like that, for you have the Holy Spirit to guide you now.

    Now if you are committing adultery or being promiscuous; if you are worshiping idols or practicing witchcraft; if you hate and argue and yell and scream in anger at one another; if you tell lies that lead to another's downfall; if you spend your time envying others, committing murders, getting drunk and partying and all the things you know are wrong, you are not listening to the Spirit, but the flesh. If you listen to the flesh, you are ignoring the Spirit, and you will not inherit the promise of Christ.

    Those who walk in the Spirit walk in love and joy and peace and patience and gentleness and goodness and faith. They are meek and temperate. Having chosen to walk in the pattern of Jesus, they do not follow after the flesh.

    If you live in the Spirit, you walk in the Spirit. Don't let the lusts and desires of the flesh pull you back in. Walk in the Spirit, as Jesus walked, as I showed you.

    Now children, when you see a brother or sister stumbling in their walk, be gentle and meek and let them see you continuing in prayer. Don't participate in their error, but don't harp at them, either. Instead, pray for them and set the example, the way Christ set the example for all of us.

    When we stand before God, we will all answer for ourselves. So stay in touch with God through the Spirit in prayer and take everything before Him. He knows everything, and he knows you, and your pleas for His glory and the good of others make a difference.

    Don't think anyone can fool God. If you are secretly pursuing the flesh while outwardly playing the part of a Christian, you will be revealed. God knows what you are doing. If you live in the flesh and try to be a “yes man” to God, he will see right through it and you will die in your sins. If you live in the Spirit, you have already laid claim to your redemption through the blood of Jesus.

    Never tire of living a Godly and Spiritual life. Do what you know to be right, no matter what others do. Stay on the path of righteousness, for the reward is well worth the effort.

    Do good to everyone. If the opportunity comes for you to set the example of others, do it; that is the witness of the Spirit to all men. Setting the example by following the Spirit is the evidence before men of your faith.

    You can see by the length of this letter to you how concerned I am for your souls. I have taken the time to write this myself so the Spirit can speak to you through me. So remember, if others tell you to get circumcised or follow rituals or sacrifice or you are damned, ignore them. They are fools who refuse to accept the reality of God's messiah who was prophesied to us and has come in the form of Jesus, Emmanuel, the Son of God and God in human form who has sacrificed himself for our sins.

    I was born and raised and educated a Jew, but the only claim I have to salvation is the Cross of Jesus and his shed blood. The Holy Spirit that allows me to preach the gospel to all is the only mark I need to show that I am his.

    I died in the flesh when Jesus gave me the Holy Spirit and freed me from the law. Just as the Holy Spirit within you has freed you as well.

    Peace be with you, beloved children. Grace and mercy through our Lord, who is Jesus, the Christ.

    Amen.

    Straighten up and fly right!

    Forgive me, that's the military brat coming out of me, but I can't even begin to think of how often I heard that expression from my father when I was a child. He was speaking to me as a child, of course, but in a way, Paul is also speaking to the Galatians as children. Instead of listening to the Spirit and Paul, they are off listening to the Pharisees, who don't even believe Jesus is who he said he is.

    Legalism is something Jesus preached against during his entire ministry. Why else would he call the priests “a generation of vipers”? The priests were under the rule of Rome and decided to “go along to get along” as soon as the Romans said they were taking over.

    And legalism is still with us, in many forms. My daughter, Michelle, was married to her husband several years ago in a civil ceremony, but agreed to raise her children Catholic. So at the end of July, she will be married in a big Cathedral ceremony to satisfy the mandate of the Catholic Church. The second ceremony will not change a thing, they will be just as married as they are now. But the Catholics have their rules.

    Don't get me wrong, I am not judging Catholics or any other faith. In fact, I will be giving my daughter away for the second time to cooperate with her wishes. I don't agree with it in principal, but I will not discourage my daughter from any path which leads her to God and peace for her marriage and her family.

    But becoming a Catholic or a Brethren or a Methodist or a Calvinist, or any other -ist is pretty much like joining a lodge or service club. Certain things are expected of you, and depending on the purpose of the organization, they may differ with what the Bible says God intended.

    If you are considering becoming a Christian, read the Bible and decide for yourself if this is what you want to do. If you read the Bible and the Holy Spirit inspires you to join a particular church, be the witness of Christ in that church and consider carefully the creeds, tenets and dogma associated with them.

    Above all, once you know the Spirit, let Him be your guide.

    ~Fred~
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