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Christ Within

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians‬ ‭2:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When we accept Christ, we become changed. The Holy Spirit moves in, and the housecleaning of our souls begins. The unwholesome things we once found acceptable are replaced with godly things. Our priorities are shifted from selfish desires to what God wants. However, this struggle between God and self can be difficult. Some items may be difficult for us to let go of, and we find ourselves drawn back to them. Sometimes, what we believe is right contradicts God's thinking and will.

This is the struggle that was going on with the church in Galatia. Though they had accepted Christ and were willing to take the new Gentile believers, they felt they should comply with the Law, creating friction between Paul and Peter. In verses 7-14, Paul calls out Peter on his behavior, If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?” In other words, Paul tells Peter his actions are inconsistent with his message. In believing Christ died for both Jew and Gentile, he could not then ask these Gentile believers also to follow the Law. Instead, Paul affirmed that they were saved by faith, and adherence to the Law–especially concerning circumcision–was not required. Peter and the other disciples would later agree with Paul's interpretation.

We have seen similar conflicts in our churches (and denominations)–sometimes, these occur over seemingly petty things and at others over theological differences. When these frictions arise, we should remember that Christ died for all–no exclusions. So, turning to Christ who lives within us, seek His will–looking to the example of Jesus. If what we find is inconsistent with Jesus' mission of dying for us–if it hinders anyone from accepting and walking with Christ–then we need a spiritual alignment.

I fully acknowledge my thinking may be naive; the differences that arise aren't that simple. However, when we agree we are sinners saved only by God's grace, none more important than the other, and He lives within us, it's an excellent place to start.

Father, we thank you for your Son who died for us and the Holy Spirit that lives within us. We offer ourselves ultimately. Please help us discern, and when our will is not consistent with yours, assist us to change. May we not be people separated, but united people set apart. May our lives be your beacons in the world. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.


Pastor Tim

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