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GROWING IN CHRIST

"Love Over Ceremony"

Date published: 05/05/2013
 
Galatians 5:6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.  The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (NIV)  
 
Disputes in the Galatian church concerning the value of circumcision for Christians ranged from the requirement of circumcision for salvation to whether circumcision had any value at all.  Paul quickly got to the point by saying that all positions were irrelevant in virtue of Jesus’ imperative to love one another.  Jesus took love to its ultimate level in John 15:12-13, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”  God did not redeem Christians to create a new platform for arguing doctrine, distinguishing levels of spirituality, building church organizations, or  establishing a new set of rituals by which to worship Him; God redeemed Christians to help lead others to Christ who transforms the lives of ordinary people into children of God.  God redeemed you not to be a Christian in name only, but that God’s love might flow through your life.  What should distinguish you as a Christian?  LOVE – not church attendance, not giving, not knowledge - but LOVE actively expressed through your faith in the living God.  In Acts 6:15 you see a wonderful example of love being expressed through the life of Stephen, “All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.”  Stephen was a Christian not seen for his power and influence, but as a man in whom they saw God.  1 Timothy 1:5 gives a good description of the way Stephen lived, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”  God wants His love to shine through you.  Ask God daily to show His love through you so that what people see is Jesus in you!  Make it your driving passion to grow in such intimacy with Christ that your faith allows Christ’ life in you to be shown to others in order that what they see are not forms of religion, but the living Christ!  
 
2 Thessalonians 1:3 “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.”  (NIV)