But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

 Contrast  [n. kon-trast]: a striking exhibition of unlikeness.


Usually when the Letter to the Galatians is discussed, the focus is on Paul’s admonition for the Galatians to reject the temptations of the “Judaizers” to mix Judaism with Christianity, to reject a pursuit of the law as a means of justification.  Yet the churches in Galatia were struggling with other issues, too.  It is clear that in their Christian walk they were failing to care for one another in the way that Christ had taught them.  Their ill-considered decision to chase after the law was leading them into all sorts of human trouble.  They were arguing and backbiting.  They were stepping all over one another without any care or concern for how it might affect them.  They had become envious, bitter, hateful, and angry.  They had no resemblance to Christ.  Even though for a time, Paul wrote, they had done very well (5:7), they had begun to resemble the world around them.  They were blending in to their society in ways that were unacceptable for Christ followers.

The struggle of the Galatians is not unique to them.  Every generation of the people of God has found itself tempted to be like the culture around it.  It is all too easy to become satisfied with what the world offers, and to end up living just like we did before we knew Christ.  Paul thus reminds the Galatians—and us—that in Christ we have been shown a different way.  We live in opposition to what Satan’s domain exemplifies, choosing instead to model Jesus.  Instead of blending in, we live in contrast to earthly values.  Not only do we teach them and speak of them, we act them out in every way.

We do this because we have received His Spirit through the completed work of Jesus Christ on his cross.  We are not who we used to be.


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