Going Deeper 7-5-19

‚ÄčThe second reading for Pentecost 4...
Galatians 6:7-16  Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for you reap whatever you sow.  If you sow to your own flesh, you will reap corruption from the flesh; but if you sow to the Spirit, you will reap eternal life from the Spirit.  So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.  So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith.  See what large letters I make when I am writing in my own hand!  It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh that try to compel you to be circumcised—only that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ.  Even the circumcised do not themselves obey the law, but they want you to be circumcised so that they may boast about your flesh.  May I never boast of anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!  As for those who will follow this rule—peace be upon them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

First and foremost-- it is vitally important to understand that Paul is addressing these final words of his letter to the Galatians to people who are already Christians!  If we fail to comprehend this, we might fall into the trap of thinking that Paul believes in karma... that what comes around, go around.  Such philosophy leaves no room for grace!

What Paul is doing with these words is admonishing those who have become God's children by grace to understand that what they do (and don't do) matters.  As people of "the Spirit" we are to commit ourselves to those things which continue the process of transformation, and we are to diminish in our lives things that threaten to undermine our faith and discipleship.  What we do and don't do matters.  

Honestly, this kind of admonishing, this style of "speaking the truth in love" (as Paul writes elsewhere) can sometimes be a weak point for those of us committed to preaching and teaching from the foundation of grace.  Grace can become 'cheap.'  It can be something we embrace in such a way that we use it as an opportunity to keep sinning and to carelessly forsake our calling to be transformed and active in our own discipleship.  But again, as children of God what we do and don't do does indeed matter.  

In response to God's gift of grace, we are admonished to follow Jesus, to tap into the power of the Holy Spirit to kill the sin in our lives and strengthen our walk as children of God.  To not do so brings negative results.  To do so produces abundant life.   In this sense, we do "reap whatever [we] sow."

With You Following Jesus,

Mark Gabbert, Pastor
Zion Lutheran Church
Wellington, Colorado

"No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care."