Grace and Truth (Part 60): Religion Promotes Competitive Jealousy

by Rick

Today we continue our series entitled, “Grace and Truth” by continuing to look at by continuing to look at The Law given under Moses vs. the Grace provided by Jesus.  Our main scriptures are John 1:14 & 17.  Let’s look at them again.

(John 1:14 New International Version)

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

(John 1:17 New International Version)

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

In this series we studied Galatians 3, 4, and 5.  A couple of days ago we got to chapter 6. When we did, I skipped over Galatians 5:26.  I was not led to deal with that verse at the time. Today I am led to go back to it. So let’s read the passage we have been looking at, Galatians, 6:12,13, and let’s also read Galatians 5:26 and then get into the message.

(Galatians 6:12,13 The Passion Translation)

12 All those who insist that you be circumcised are recruiting you so they can boast in their own works. They are attempting to avoid the persecution that comes with preaching the liberating message of the cross of Messiah!

13 Not even those who are circumcised keep every detail of the written law. Yet they push you to be circumcised so that they can boast that you have become like them.

(Galatians 5:26 The Passion Translation)

So may we never be arrogant, or look down on another, for each of us is an original. We must forsake all jealousy that diminishes the value of others.

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Many who focus on works are doing so to highlight/showcase their own works.

a)  The Apostle Paul was very upset about the fact that Jewish converts to Christianity were attempting to coerce Gentile (non-Jews) converts to Christianity to get circumcised.  Paul knew that once you are in Christ, being circumcised or not being circumcised means nothing. The only thing that matters is the fact that you have made Jesus your Lord. Paul drove him this point over and over again in his letter to the believers in Galatia.  The Apostle used circumcision as an example of people being religious and focusing on works, instead of faith in Jesus. Towards the end of his letter, he made the point that they were only doing this, so they could put an emphasis on their own works. They wanted non-Jews to subject themselves to the requirements of The Law of Moses because it would help them feel better about themselves and their dogged determination to focus on works.  In other words, by saying, “You must do what I do,” or “You must do what I have done,” it helps them feel better about what they do and what they have done. Paul’s point is that none of this really matters once you are in Christ. Paul said, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (Galatians 5:6).

b)  Paul said, “All those who insist that you be circumcised are recruiting you so they can boast in their own works.” (Galatians 6:12).  His point is that religious people like to focus on works, so they can boast in what they do and/or what they have done.  People who live this way find validation on their performance and they are condescending towards anyone who does not seemingly perform on their level.  In short, religious people drive others away from Jesus, because no one wants to be looked down upon or talked down to. Don’t let this be you. Embrace God’s grace.  Walk-in His love. If you do, you will draw the world to Jesus and not drive them away.

c)  It boils down to this: The Law required and Grace provides.  Under the Old Covenant, things were required OF us. Under the New Covenant God has already provided FOR us.  It’s really that simple.    

2.  When you fully embrace the grace of God you see no need for competitive jealousy.

a)  Paul said, “So may we never be arrogant, or look down on another, for each of us is an original. We must forsake all jealousy that diminishes the value of others.” (Galatians 5:26). 

b)  When you understand God’s grace and you are free to be the man/woman you are called to be, you see no need to compare yourself to anyone else.  Because you know you are an original. No one else has your assignment. No one else has your destiny. No one else, on this entire planet, is called to do what you are called and graced to go.  So embrace the freedom and grace to be YOU!

c)  When you are secure in who you are and what you are called to do, you are so FREE that you can celebrate the diversities of giftings and callings without jealousy.  You can sincerely celebrate others because you know that building them UP does not tear you DOWN. Insecure people are afraid to celebrate others because they think that valuing someone else means DE-valuing yourself.  This is a lie. But if you believe a lie, you will live the lie you believe. The devil has convinced many people to think that the only way they can be BUILT-UP is by TEARING other people DOWN! And the sad truth is that this happens in the church.  Don’t let this be you. Embrace the grace to be YOU, celebrate others genuinely, and know that it takes ALL of us to be the church God has called us to be.      

Declaration of Faith

Father, I fully and freely accept Your grace.  I see no need to compare myself to anyone else.  You will never judge me by someone else’s assignment.  When I get to heaven and stand before You, You will judge me according to the measure of my purpose that I was able to complete before I died.  That’s it. No one else has my assignment. No one else has my destiny. This frees me to be ME. It also frees me to allow others to be the men and women You have called them to be.  Valuing others does not devalue me. So I celebrate my brothers and sisters. I have no need to be jealous. I am an original and I walk into this day as Destiny’s Child! I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

This is Today’s Word.  Apply it and prosper!

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