Christ Sets Us Free
1Christ has set us free to enjoy our freedom. So remain strong in the faith. Don’t let the chains of slavery hold you again.
2 Here is what I, Paul, say to you. Don’t let yourselves be circumcised. If you do, Christ won’t be of any value to you. 3 I say it again. Every man who lets himself be circumcised must obey the whole law. 4 Some of you are trying to be made right with God by obeying the law. You have been separated from Christ. You have fallen away from God’s grace. 5 But we long to be made completely holy because of our faith in Christ. Through the Holy Spirit we wait for this in hope. 6 Circumcision and uncircumcision aren’t worth anything to those who believe in Christ Jesus. The only thing that really counts is faith that shows itself through love.
7 You were running a good race. Who has kept you from obeying the truth? 8 The God who chooses you does not keep you from obeying the truth. 9 You should know that “just a little yeast works its way through the whole batch of dough.” 10 The Lord makes me certain that you will see the truth of this. The one who has gotten you all mixed up will have to pay the price. This will happen no matter who has done it. 11 Brothers and sisters, I no longer preach that people must be circumcised. If I did, why am I still being opposed? If I preached that, then the cross wouldn’t upset anyone. 12 So then, what about troublemakers who try to get others to be circumcised? I wish they would go the whole way! I wish they would cut off everything that marks them as men!
Living by the Holy Spirit’s Power
13 My brothers and sisters, you were chosen to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to live under the power of sin. Instead, serve one another in love. 14 The whole law is fulfilled by obeying this one command. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) 15 If you say or do things that harm one another, watch out! You could end up destroying one another.
16 So I say, live by the Holy Spirit’s power. Then you will not do what your desires controlled by sin want you to do. 17 The desires controlled by sin do not want what the Spirit delights in. And the Spirit does not want what the desires controlled by sin delight in. The two are at war with each other. That’s why you are not supposed to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the authority of the law.
19 The result of sin’s control in our lives is clear. It includes sexual sins, impure acts and wild living. 20 It includes worshiping statues of gods and worshiping evil powers. It also includes hatred and fighting, jealousy and fits of anger. Sinful desire is interested only in getting ahead. It stirs up trouble. It separates people into their own little groups. 21 It wants what others have. It gets drunk and takes part in wild parties. It does many things of that kind. I warn you now as I did before. People who live like this will not receive God’s kingdom.
22 But the fruit the Holy Spirit produces is love, joy and peace. It is being patient, kind and good. It is being faithful 23 and gentle and having control of oneself. There is no law against things of that kind. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed their sinful desires to his cross. They don’t want these things anymore. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become proud. Let us not make each other angry. Let us not want what belongs to others.