July 1

Galatians 6:11-16

“For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!” vs. 15

Some of the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem didn’t get what the new life in Christ was all about and they drove Paul to distraction. Their representatives had followed him into the cities of Galatia and were telling new believers that they needed circumcision–baptism wasn’t enough. This conflict within the ranks of the newly formed Church provoked real anger in Paul and he didn’t mince words in addressing his adversaries. It wasn’t just that they were wrong about a doctrinal issue, they didn’t really understand what had happened in Christ Jesus. His crucifixion and resurrection had been a total new beginning. This wasn’t just a continuation of Judaism, this was a new creation. From now on nothing would be the same. It seems to have been Paul’s hope that this new faith would not be a new religion, but an experience of life in the Spirit, one that would be constantly evolving and changing as it encountered new challenges and opportunities. To some extent this is what happened through the centuries, but such a vision is tough to pull off. The tendency is to codify and build hierarchies just like every other religion. But we can’t tether the Spirit. And because we can’t, people across the globe are beginning once again to experience religionless Christianity. Of course it’s hard to explain what that means, but when we see it, the blessings are unmistakable.

Thought for the Day: What is religionless Christianity?

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