St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians

The reading is from St. Paul’s Letter to the Galatians 5:22-26; 6:1-2

Brethren, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another. Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Look to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Sometimes we have to wonder what part of the Gospels as well as the Epistles that people do not understand, each day we read or hear another out spoken–presumably—authority telling us that Jesus’ message was all about love and tolerance; these so called authorities implying that because of Love, as Christians we should remain silent and tolerate others’ acts even when those acts are plainly listed in scripture as abhorrent sin. . But in this letter to the Galatians we find Paul who is following to the best of his ability the teachings of Christ, telling the Galatians that there is not rules or laws AGAINST joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, AND self-control. He then says; ”If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” or in other words do the will of our heavenly Father, God. In Matthew 7:21-23 Jesus said; “Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” Jesus makes it very plain he will not KNOW many on that day of judgment, he does not say that love which embraces all matter of sin will trump living and walking in the spirit, but makes it clear that only those that does his Father’s will, those that have turned from sin and tried to go and sin no more just as Christ told the woman accused of adultery in John 8:11. In this modern ear it is all but impossible to go and sin no more, however the implied order here seems to be to make an honest attempt to avoid sin.

Paul also briefly states that we are to—in a spirit of gentleness—help bring a brother out of sin, or restore that person. When we attempt to counsel—gently—a person fallen in sin, we are often reminded of that same passage in John when Christ said to that woman,”… neither do I judge thee…” Once again implying that we are not to judge; yes we are not to judge—for example—that one person’s activity might be sinful. But the bible does that for us when it identifies certain sins, and when we see a Brother fallen we are to gently—diplomatically—point this out, not act as judge, jury and executioner, as we are all sinners and equally guilty.

We are to bear one and another’s burdens so as to fore fill the law of Christ, not embrace their sin. When we see a drunkard lying in an inner city alley, we don’t go buy a bottle of cheap whiskey and get drunk with him ending up in the same state, no we try to help him out of his condition.

Say this prayer or one of your own;

Shine within our hearts, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our minds that we may comprehend the message of Your Gospel. Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments, so that having conquered all sinful desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, thinking and doing all those things that are pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give glory together with Your Father who is without beginning and Your all holy, good, and life giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen

and as always;

Go out into the world in peace; have courage; hold on to what is good; return no one evil for evil; strengthen the fainthearted; support the weak; help the suffering; honor everyone; love and serve God; rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit!

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