ISSL Reflections May 22 2022 Galatians 5:1–15 Post 3

VII.
Did you notice? Paul wrote,

For in Christ Jesus
neither circumcision nor uncircumcision
counts for anything;
the only thing that counts is
faith working through love.

How do you hear Paul presenting more aspects of such a statement?

VIII.
Galatians 5:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version)

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

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.

You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

IX.
What do you hear?

What gets in the way of –

  • “standing firm”
  • not submitting to a “yoke of slavery”
  • preventing “you from obeying the truth”
  • our call to “freedom”

X.
What words of encouragement and challenge do you hear from Paul?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 22 2022 Galatians 5:1–15 Post 2

IV.
Let’s think with Paul today about what could lead us to “ … submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

V.
Galatians 5:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version)

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

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.

You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

VI.
What are you hearing from Paul about a “yoke of slavery”?

Let’s see – he mentions circumcision, the desire to be justified by the law, and voices of those that draw one away from Christ’s freedom.

Where are you today?

Do you notice any parallels in your circumstances to what Paul warns the Galatians of?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 22 2022 Galatians 5:1–15 Post 1

I.
Take a moment to consider how Paul begins,

For freedom Christ has set us free.
Stand firm, therefore, and
do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

Let that be your guide to reading this passage. Take some time to slowly consider Paul’s words, guided by the above thoughts.

II.
Galatians 5:1-15 (New Revised Standard Version)

For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

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.

You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth? Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves!

For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

III.
So what does Paul have in mind?
Freedom? Slavery? Standing firm?

Read the passage again, paying attention to what you hear about “freedom.”

WIth “freedom” in mind, read the passage again and see what you hear not just about “slavery” but anything that can limit one’s freedom as a disciple of Jesus.

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 15 2022 Galatians 3:18–29 Post 3

VIII.
Returning to these words of Paul to a group of Jesus’ followers, take as your lens today “… and if you belong to Christ, then …”

IX.
Galatians 3:18-29 (New Revised Standard Version)

For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one.

Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

X.
What do you notice “… if you belong to Christ , then …”?

“If … then …” – how does one relate to “the law”?
“If … then …”“ … what was promised through faith …”?
“If … then …” – what is it to be “… children of God through faith”?
“If … then …” – what is your understanding of and experience of being “ … clothed … with Christ”?

XI.
“If … then …” – what is it like for there to be “ … no longer Jew or Greek … no longer … slave or free … no longer male and female … all of you are one in Christ Jesus”?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 15 2022 Galatians 3:18–29 Post 2

IV.
Let’s return to our listening to Paul speak of promises, law, and faith.

After you read the passage again and rest with Paul’s words for a few minutes, consider what word or words or concept you might use in the place “promise.”

Then read the passage again replacing “promise” with what comes to mind for you.

V.
Galatians 3:18-29 (New Revised Standard Version)

For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one.

Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

VI.
What word or words or concept came to mind for you as a replacement for Paul’s use of the word “promise”

?

Did you try hearing the passage with a couple different words/concepts?

VII.
Did any of these come to mind for you?

Salvation – redemption – freedom – abundant life – kingdom of God – heaven – the chosen people – God’s children – the elect – blessed – blessing – covenant – contractual obligations – perfected living

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 15 2022 Galatians 3:18–29 Post 1

I.
I have to admit the first sentence in this passage has me going in circles – “ … from the law … no longer … from the promise … but … through the promise …”

“Why then the law?”

Good question!

Let’s see if we can follow Paul into and out of this “maze” that involves “sin,” “promises,” a “disciplinarian,” “imprisoned” and even “faith.”

Do you suppose it would be a good idea to spend time with this passage reading it slowly several times?

II.
Galatians 3:18-29 (New Revised Standard Version)

For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring would come to whom the promise had been made; and it was ordained through angels by a mediator. Now a mediator involves more than one party; but God is one.

Is the law then opposed to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could make alive, then righteousness would indeed come through the law. But the scripture has imprisoned all things under the power of sin, so that what was promised through faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

Now before faith came, we were imprisoned and guarded under the law until faith would be revealed. Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.

III.
What do you hear Paul saying is the “strength” and what is the “weakness” of “the law”?

When Paul speaks here of “promise,” what comes to mind?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflection May 8 2022 Romans 8:18–30 Post 3

VIII.
What “calls”

of God have you noticed in your life?

IX.
Romans 8:18-30 (New Revised Standard Version)

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

X.
And, if and when you sense some “call” of God, what has been your response?

Please don’t dismiss the “call” of God in your life, thinking such is only for those who are “called to preach” or some other “church related vocation.”

After all, maybe it is for “those who love God, who are called according to his purpose…. to be confirmed to the image of his Son ….”

What “image” or probably more accurately, “images,” do you notice being at work in your life and your living?

What “image” do you most willingly give yourself to?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflection May 8 2022 Romans 8:18–30 Post 2

IV.
Let’s take up the phrase “… who are called …”

.

Might that give us a hint toward an unifying theme in these several paragraphs?

Today, let’s use “ … who are called …” as our lens to explore these words.

What do you find here that speaks of God’s call?

V.
Romans 8:18-30 (New Revised Standard Version)

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

VI.
Well, what stands out to you?

I guess we notice that “call” might relate somehow to “purpose.” And maybe to “foreknew,” “conformed,” and what about “firstborn”?

How would you express those relationships if you find them?

VII.
Let’s take it a little further.

Do you find any relationship between “call” and “creation,” “decay,” “adoption,” “freedom of the glory of the children of God,” “first fruits of the Spirit” or the “Spirit intercedes”?

Let’s read this passage again and pause for any word or phrase that speaks to you of God’s “call.”

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflection May 8 2022 Romans 8:18–30 Post 1

I.
If you ever came to some portion of Scripture and had a hard time finding something that caught your attention and provoked some questions for you, it would not be these sentences.

We have this week some words before us that bring with them centuries of theological baggage – foreknew, predestined, justified, and glorified. Oh, let’s not forget “… that all things work together for good…”

And that is our third paragraph.

First, let’s not let those words so draw us in, that we miss all the rest in our reading.

I encourage you to read this slowly and notice all that is before you.

You might even start by noticing the contrast Paul draws between “the present time” and “the glory about to be revealed.”

Then after reading and resting with the passage for a time, reread it and pay attention to what you sense draws the three paragraphs together.

II.
Romans 8:18-30 (New Revised Standard Version)

I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

III.
Shall we begin with this – Do you find a common theme (or themes) that you hear through this reading?

Is it the contrast between “the present age” and something that is yet to come? Or maybe already in the “process” of becoming?

Is it the work of God in all of creation across all of time?

Is it that he starts with a “big picture” of “creation,” and then brings the focus to something very personal?

Well, those are a few things I have taken notice of.

What are you seeing today?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}

ISSL Reflections May 1 2022 Romans 6:1–14 Post 3

VIII.
As you return to Paul’s words, look for what he tells us about how we are to be “alive to God.”

IX.
Romans 6:1-14 (New Revised Standard Version)

What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, do not let sin exercise dominion in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions. No longer present your members to sin as instruments of wickedness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and present your members to God as instruments of righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

X.
Consider for a moment,

  • Walk in newness of life
  • No longer enslaved to sin
  • Dead to sin
  • Death no longer has dominion
  • Brought from death to life
  • Instruments of righteousness
  • United with him in resurrection
  • Live with Christ Jesus
  • Alive to God in Christ Jesus

XI.
Where does Paul want you to live?

Can you walk toward that life?

Can you accept that life?

charles
{ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est}