Galatians 5:2-6 (NRSV)
Listen! I, Paul, am telling you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you. Once again I testify to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obliged to obey the entire law. You who want to be justified by the law have cut yourselves off from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that counts is faith working through love.
What is my claim in Christ Jesus? It is not my vocation as an elder in the United Methodist Church that counts for anything.
What is my claim in Christ Jesus? It is not that I grew up in the United Methodist Church, baptized as an infant; confirmed in middle school; and a member of the global United Methodist Church that counts for anything.
What is my claim in Christ Jesus? The only claim I have in Christ Jesus is himself. It is the hope of righteousness that is in Christ that counts for everything. The importance of Christ in my life is to be found in faith. Both the faith that God gives through Christ and the faith that I have toward Christ counts for anything and everything. By faith Jesus is known in my life as I love as Christ first and continually loves me.
For what Jesus did for me by taking away my sins and giving me the Holy Spirit, I am able to have faith being made effective through love. Yes, a translation of “working through love” is being “made effective through love.” This faith in Jesus is what counts for everything. For by faith in Jesus, I can be a Christian, even a United Methodist. For by faith in Jesus, I can be an elder in the United Methodist Church. It is through these expressions of faith that faith made effective through love is lived.
What about you, what counts for anything in your life? May we be found to have righteous lives, marked by faith that is made effective through love.
Almighty God, thank you for Jesus. By his work on the cross, we can live. It is faith in Jesus, enabled by the Spirit, that prepares us for all righteousness in this world and the world to come. During our days on this world, our faith in Christ Jesus accounts for everything. Thank you for preparing good works to do that show our faith is working through love. All praise and glory are given to you, the Righteous One who makes us righteous. Amen.