Scripture Reading: Romans 13
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
If ye be circumcised—go on being circumcised, continue believing it is necessary for justification, as a symbol of fleshly effort, law keeping, etc.
Debtor—obligated to do the whole thing.
Are justified—are being justified, seeking justification in the law.
Fallen—banished from, cast out, to take none effect. Grace can’t justify if your works are!
For we through the Spirit wait [eagerly anticipate] for the hope of righteousness by faith.6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Spirit—God’s part in us, not us alone in flesh, without carnal, physical, external means. By the Spirit not by works of flesh.
Hope of righteousness—full realization, when made like Christ, being righteous is our hope, we grow in it now, we will fully be it in eternity.
Circumcision or uncircumcision—being legalistic or not being legalistic don’t matter! So what matters:
Faith working by love—faith exhibits its energy by love,
--Legalism focuses you on you; love focuses you on others.
--Doing ritual, good works to make you look good before people, or other legalistic chores does not prove anything. Love is the whole deal. Not love of those who love you.
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
To the flesh—for selfish ends. You know Christ has set you free when you can serve others! Serving others is proof you’re not serving your flesh.
Law fulfilled—receives its full perfection in, summed up in love. This is how you fulfill the law without being a legalist. Focusing on being righteous makes you self-righteous and not loving.
--Christ fulfilled the law in “greater love has no man than this. . .”
Galatians 5:22-24--works of flesh are selfish indulgence.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Fruit of Spirit—the effect or result of the Spirit in you. This is how you know you have the Spirit, not because your flesh does some externally impressive stuff.
Love—the root by which all else springs. Inclination toward, a prizing, a natural abiding thing, not a temporal passing thing.
If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced [rebuked] of the law as transgressors.10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty.
Royal Law—supreme law of the King. The king of all laws.
Neighbor—every one near you, whether rich or poor in the context.
Respecting persons—the opposite of love—favoring one group while despising another based on externals. Good Samaritan.
Guilty of all—just as liable to condemnation as if you’d broken the whole thing. A symphony with one off musician is totally ruined. Chain with one weak link.
--One sin destroys love, love is the full summation.
Law of liberty—the Gospel, love. Not a moralistic, external law of constraints, but freedom from your flesh, freedom from self which always looks like love.