“You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from him who call you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve on another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.” Gal. 5:7-15
Apparently the church in Galatia that Paul was writing to had started out well on their faith journey but they had allowed false teaching in their midst. (v.7) This was upsetting to Paul as he was trying to warn them that you let a little “leaven” in and eventually it can run through the whole batch. In other words if you let one person in to teach and they are teaching false doctrine then next thing you know they are leading the whole bunch of them and it is negating what the cross did for them. But he is also encouraging them when he tells them “I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view”. (v10) In other words he is telling them I know you know the truth and I know that you will follow the truth. I was thinking this can be a scary fine line because we are supposed to be open to others and welcome them to the church. But before you allow them to lead you be sure they are leading you to the cross. Paul even ends this part of the passage with loving your neighbor as yourself. (hmm we’ve heard that recently) We have freedom in Christ and we do not want to be judged “by the company we keep” but what I think Paul is saying to them is to remember the cross. Remember who called you and the freedom to which you were called. He says don’t let this freedom be an opportunity for you to sin. Again don’t think of it as a list of do’s and don’ts. But also don’t think I can do whatever I want and keep asking forgiveness. But realize that legalism leads you away from the cross and freedom leads you to the cross. When you run well, when you run toward the cross with all you have, you will serve one another and you will love one another without the backbiting and judgment that legalism can bring.
Please pray for the pastors and for our churches today. Many churches are trying to figure out the best way and when to open back up!