Christ Sets Us Free
1Christ has set us free. He wants us to enjoy freedom. So stand firm. Don't let the chains of slavery hold you again.
2Here is what I, Paul, say to you. Don't let yourselves be circumcised. If you do, Christ won't be of any value to you. 3I say it again. Every man who lets himself be circumcised must obey the whole law.
4Some of you are trying to be made right with God by obeying the law. You have been separated from Christ. You have fallen away from God's grace.
5But we expect to be made completely holy because of our faith in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit we wait in hope. 6Circumcision and uncircumcision aren't worth anything to those who believe in Christ Jesus. The only thing that really counts is faith that shows itself through love.
7You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth? 8The One who chooses you does not keep you from obeying the truth. 9You should know that "just a little yeast works its way through the whole batch of dough."
10The Lord makes me certain that you will not think in any other way. The one who has gotten you all mixed up will pay the price. It doesn't matter who that may be.
11Brothers and sisters, I am not still preaching that people must be circumcised. If I were, why am I still being opposed? If that were what I preach, then the cross wouldn't upset anyone.
12So then, what about troublemakers who try to get others to be circumcised? I wish they would go the whole way! I wish they would cut off everything that marks them as men!
Chosen to Be Free
13My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don't use your freedom as an excuse to live in sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14The whole law can be found in a single command. "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." (Leviticus 19:18)
15You must not keep on biting each other. You must not keep eating each other up. Watch out! You might destroy each other.
Living by the Holy Spirit's Power
16So I say, live by the Holy Spirit's power. Then you will not do what your sinful nature wants you to do.
17The sinful nature does not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the sinful nature delights in. The two are at war with each other. That's what makes you do what you don't want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the authority of the law.
19What the sinful nature does is clear. It enjoys sexual sins, impure acts and wild living. 20It worships statues of gods. It also worships evil powers. It is full of hatred and fighting. It is full of jealousy and fits of anger. It is interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups. 21It wants what others have. It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties. It does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like that will not receive God's kingdom.
22But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind.
24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful nature to his cross. They don't want what their sinful nature loves and longs for.
25Since we live by the Spirit, let us march in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others.