Monday, February 9, 2009

...don't bribe God for a blessing...

Gal 2:3-5: 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness.

"The point of verses 2 and 3 is not that circumcision in itself is wrong, but that any act is wrong that we do to bribe God for blessings. Circumcision happened to be the foremost requirement of the Judaizers who were teaching the Galatians to work their way into God's favor. Galatians 2:3-5 reminds us how circumcision relates to freedom and slavery. Paul went up to Jerusalem, "but even Titus, who was with me, was not compelled to be circumcised, though he was a Greek, but because of false brethren (probably the Judaizers), secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage—to them we did not yield submission even for a moment, that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you." That's what Paul means in 5:1 by "stand fast and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." That is, do not let the Judaizers bewitch you into thinking that circumcision or any other outward act of obedience can be offered to God as a benefit to him, which he must then reward with some payment."

By John Piper

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