Christ Gives Freedom
1Christ has set us free! This means we are really free. Now hold on to your freedom and don't ever become slaves of the Law again.
2I, Paul, promise you that Christ won't do you any good if you get circumcised. 3If you do, you must obey the whole Law. 4And if you try to please God by obeying the Law, you have cut yourself off from Christ and his gift of undeserved grace. 5But the Spirit makes us sure God will accept us because of our faith in Christ. 6If you are a follower of Christ Jesus, it makes no difference whether you are circumcised or not. All that matters is your faith that makes you love others.
7You were doing so well until someone made you turn from the truth. 8And that person was certainly not sent by the one who chose you. 9#1 Co 5.6. A little yeast can change a whole batch of dough, 10but you belong to the Lord. This makes me certain you will do what I say, instead of what someone else tells you to do. Whoever is causing trouble for you will be punished.
11My friends, if I still preach that people need to be circumcised, why am I in so much trouble? The message about the cross would no longer be a problem, if I told people to be circumcised. 12I wish everyone who is upsetting you would not only get circumcised, but would cut off much more!
13My friends, you were chosen to be free. So don't use your freedom as an excuse to do anything you want. Use it as an opportunity to serve each other with love. 14#Lv 19.18. All the Law says can be summed up in the command to love others as much as you love yourself. 15But if you keep attacking each other like wild animals, you had better watch out or you will destroy yourselves.
God's Spirit and Our Own Desires
16If you are guided by the Spirit, you won't obey your selfish desires. 17#Ro 7.15-23. The Spirit and your desires are enemies of each other. They are always fighting each other and keeping you from doing what you feel you should. 18But if you obey the Spirit, the Law of Moses has no control over you.
19People's desires make them give in to immoral ways, filthy thoughts, and shameful deeds. 20They worship idols, practice witchcraft, hate others, and are hard to get along with. People become jealous, angry, and selfish. They not only argue and cause trouble, but they are 21envious. They get drunk, carry on at wild parties, and do other evil things as well. I told you before, and I am telling you again: No one who does these things will share in the blessings of God's kingdom.
22God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, 23gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways. 24And because we belong to Christ Jesus, we have killed our selfish feelings and desires. 25God's Spirit has given us life, and so we should follow the Spirit. 26But don't be conceited or make others jealous by claiming to be better than they are.