THE LOVE TEST

Throughout his ministry, the apostle Paul was dogged by a faction within the Christian movement known to us as the 'Judaizers.' They  strongly felt that the allegiance to Christ preached by Paul dishonored the law of Moses. Paul realized that Jesus had brought a spiritual renewal (circumcision of the heart) which far exceeded a mere external mark in the flesh. The Judaizers wanted to test Christian devotion by means of the rite of circumcision. On the other hand, others insisted on an opposite obedience by making UN-circumcision signify  genuine connection with God.

Paul vehemently rejects both ideas. The guiding center for Christian conduct in the church is Jesus Christ. When a person sets himself the task of impersonating Jesus, he soon learns how puerile those moral standards are that center on circumcision--or the reverse thereof.

It is common today to opt for an easy piety--wearing of religious insignia, meticulous attendance at church services and/or paying an exact tithe, engaging in endless religious discourse--rather than choosing to emulate Christ's love. But faith in the God and father of the Lord Jesus is subject to no other test of legitimacy except the love test. "All men will know that you are my disciples if you love one another" (John 13:35).

Until a person begins to know the love of God in Jesus; until she falls in love with the One who loves her unconditionally, the duty to love will always appear as a threat, and will be the subject of continuing attempts to remove it and replace it with docile religious practices which cost nothing and help no one.

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value, but faith expressing itself through love" (Galatians 5:6).

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