A MORE EXCELLENT WAY
Love, or charity, has rightly been called the “Queen of Christian graces.” Paul states, “the end of the commandment is charity” [l Timothy 1:5]. It is a grace essential to true godliness. Many believers could not discourse upon the deeper points of Christian doctrines, but all know something of love. It is the chief virtue.
A person may be great in faith, or be a notable philanthropist, or have outstanding wisdom and knowledge. He may be a gifted orator and expounder of God’s Word, but the absence of love negates the effectiveness of all these gifts.
Love is important, being the sum total of the law. The great commandment directs our love first to God and then to our neighbour. On these, said Jesus, hang all the law and the prophets [Matthew 22:40].
There are many mistaken views as to what love is. It does not involve just giving to the poor, as in the modem meaning of the word charity. It does not mean that one can never disapprove of another’s conduct or religious views. Sometimes the greatest expression of love is to point out the error and attempt to turn thein away from sin and towards the Lord.
There is also a strange love in some pulpits today that commends the wicked and condemns the righteous, that protects the guilty and exposes the innocent, that thrives on empty ritual but has lost touch with reality, which says “It is well” when the soul is in fact on the broad road to destruction. The Lord pronounces His woe upon such “love.”
The first expression of the Christian’s true love should be to the One who first loved us, Jesus Christ. Then it should extend to our family members, those of the household of faith, and the ungodly whom we hope to reach with the Gospel message. Love is the root of all true Christian service. “The love of Christ constraineth us” [ll Corinthians 5:14].
SOME NOTES ON GALATIANS ONE
The epistle of Paul to the Galatians is known as “the battle cry of the Reformation.” Martin Luther, who wrote a classic commentary on the book, said, “The epistle of Galatians is my epistle. To it I am as it were in wedlock. It is my Katherine.”
Several churches were in ‘Gaul-atia,’ today’s central Turkey. The main subject is the question of legalism – licence or Liberty? Paul starts his address gently, but the atmosphere is charged. Thunder and Lightning are to follow.
The Galatians had started their Christian walk well – in the Spirit. But Judaisers crept in and wanted them to turn again “to the weak and beggarly elements” of legalism [Galatians 4:9]. Paul was angry and asked, “0 foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you that ye should not obey the truth? He asked, “Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” [3:1 & 3].
With extremely strong language Paul twice warned them, “but though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” [1:8,9]. The word “accursed” is ‘anathema- the strongest curse in Greek.
Paul gives the key verse [2:6], “A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ….. for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
A WORTHWHILE PRAYER
One can identify with Martin Luther’s love of Galatians, for it contains so much valuable teaching. A good prayer for each believer is for the fruit of the Spirit [5:22, 23]. We should pray daily to show forth each of these fruits – Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance. The Lord will answer that prayer, and our lives will bring forth glory to God.
The province of Nova Scotia in the east of Canada is a place of great beauty. Unfortunately, hurricane Fiona travelled up the coast and created great damage. Houses were swept into the sea and huge trees were brought down. It will take a long time for the damage to be repaired.
On the heels of Fiona, Hurricane lan attacked the west coast of Florida. Severe damage was done to Fort Myers, Naples and to the jewel’ of the area, Sanibel Island, by floodwaters and high winds up to 200mph. The 3-mile access bridge to Sanibel was broken in five places and will have to be replaced temporarily by ferries. The 6,500 residents currently cannot travel on or off the Island. There are many Christians in these two areas. Pray for them m these difficult times.