Daily Readings & Thought for April 4th. “THOSE WHO BELONG TO CHRIST HAVE …”
Today’s readings.. (Numbers 19), (Proverbs 14), (Galatians 5,6)
Today the last 2 chapters of Paul’s letter to the Galatians illustrate the sharp contrast between those who put all the emphasis in their living – to observe the Law of Moses and practice circumcision – in contrast to belonging to Christ for “in Christ Jesus”, writes Paul, “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” [5 v.6]
We are not affected by any advocating keeping the law and circumcision today, except for those who believe it is vital as to which day you come together to worship. In writing to the Colossians Paul advised “ …. Let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food or drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.” [2 v.16]
Our salvation does not depend on us observing rules or days – other than the simplicity – and wonder – of remembering that Christ died for us.. Baptised believers are to meet in remembrance of his death in the way Jesus instituted just before his death (as we read last Tuesday) by prayerfully meeting to partake of bread and wine (Luke 22 v.14-20) as “the new covenant in my blood” replacing the old covenant under the law of Moses.
There is no command as to on which day of the week this was to be observed, but initially after the dramatic events on the day of Pentecost, with about 3,000 being baptised, they met “day by day … breaking bread in their homes” [Acts 2 v.41,46] Acts 20 v.7 tells us that they met to break bread on “the first day of the week” – but there is no command about this.
Paul told the Galatians, they should be “led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” [5 v18] and that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” [v.22-23]
Now to produce good fruit on a tree much pruning, tending, watering, and protection from predators is needed, varying according to the environment. There is a parallel picture to this in the spiritual realm if we are to produce good spiritual fruit.
The next and last verse in the chapter says, “And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” This does not happen automatically, we need to feed on God’s word every day and to pray. Paul told the Colossians, “we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit …” [Ch. 1 v.9,10] .