Keep Your Freedom
1We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law. 2Listen, I Paul tell you that if you go back to the law by being circumcised, Christ does you no good. 3Again, I warn every man: If you allow yourselves to be circumcised, you must follow all the law. 4If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is over—you have left God’s grace. 5But we have the true hope that comes from being made right with God, and by the Spirit we wait eagerly for this hope. 6When we are in Christ Jesus, it is not important if we are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith—the kind of faith that works through love.
7You were running a good race. Who stopped you from following the true way? 8This change did not come from the One who chose you. 9Be careful! “Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.” 10But I trust in the Lord that you will not believe those different ideas. Whoever is confusing you with such ideas will be punished.
11My brothers and sisters, I do not teach that a man must be circumcised. If I teach circumcision, why am I still being attacked? If I still taught circumcision, my preaching about the cross would not be a problem. 12I wish the people who are bothering you would castrate themselves!
13My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love. 14The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” 15If you go on hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other.
The Spirit and Human Nature
16So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit. Then you will not do what your sinful selves want. 17Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please. 18But if the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law.
19The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: being sexually unfaithful, not being pure, taking part in sexual sins, 20worshiping gods, doing witchcraft, hating, making trouble, being jealous, being angry, being selfish, making people angry with each other, causing divisions among people, 21feeling envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like these. I warn you now as I warned you before: Those who do these things will not inherit God’s kingdom. 22But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. 25We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit. 26We must not be proud or make trouble with each other or be jealous of each other.