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December 8, 2019 | Doug Sauder
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“And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. From now on let no one trouble me, for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”—Galatians 6:16-18 (NKJV)
Every day the Lord reveals His amazing grace as unmerited favor, lovingkindness, mercy, and forgiveness. Paul could wish for nothing greater. God created you for relationship, and His Son Jesus paved the way of grace so you could live in harmony with Him and others.
Paul’s letter to the Galatians is a beautiful message of freedom given to us through Christ. In that period, many Christians were falsely led to believe they had to keep all of the old Jewish laws and traditions to be saved, even after Christ came and fulfilled the law. That’s like a prisoner staying in his cell and refusing to leave after being cleared of his debt and set free.
We are no longer under the Old Testament law of rules and regulations. We are in a permanent love relationship with God and His Son, who made a way for us to have this relationship.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV), “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We measure ourselves as new creations in Christ by changing and growing into His image by His grace.
Paul reminds us of his suffering (Acts 9:15) and even describes his suffering (2 Corinthians 11:23-30). William Barkley writes, “What Paul endured was enough to leave scars. Most likely what Paul meant is the scars of the things he had suffered for Christ are the brands which show him to be Christ’s slave. Paul was able to by God’s grace.”
Maxie Dunnam writes, “We may not be called on to produce the marks Paul showed, yet there must be marks which identify us. If we belong to Christ we are branded. It is revealed by the fruit of the Spirit in us and through us. Lord, that I will be a sign of your presence to others, your love through my love, your forgiveness through my forgiveness, your acceptance through my acceptance . . . that my heart will be a place of welcome . . . . that I will enter into the pain and joy and the tears and laughter of others so completely I will be one with them and because I am one with You that they will receive You, O Christ, from me.”
DIG: How are you living your life in the wonderful freedom given in Christ?
DISCOVER: Every day as you face this difficult world, know with confidence the grace of Jesus Christ will enable, comfort, and strengthen you, just as it did for Paul.
DO: People need to see your grace-filled life. Someone once said, “I would rather see a sermon than hear a sermon.” Your God-honoring life and how you treat people sends a strong message of grace to people.