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Keep Your Freedom

5 1We have freedom now. Christ made us free. So stand strong. Don't change and go back into the slavery [of law]. 2Listen! I am Paul. I tell you that if you [go back to law] by being circumcised,* then Christ is no good for you. 3Again, I warn every man: If you allow yourselves to be circumcised, then you must follow all the law [of Moses]. 4If you try to be made right with God through the law, then your life with Christ is finished--you have left God's grace (kindness). 5I say this because our hope of being made right with God comes through faith. And we are waiting for that hope by the Spirit.* 6When a person is in Christ Jesus, it is not important if he is circumcised or not. The important thing is faith--the kind of faith that works through love. 7You were running a good race. You were obeying the truth. Who persuaded you to stop following the true way? 8That persuasion does not come from the One (God) who chose you. 9[Be careful!] "Just a little yeast* makes the whole batch of dough rise."* 10I trust in the Lord that you will not believe those different ideas. Some person is confusing you with those ideas. That person will be punished, whoever he is. 11My brothers [and sisters], I don't teach that people must be circumcised.* If I do teach circumcision,* then why am I still being persecuted? If I still taught that people must be circumcised, then my telling them about the cross would not be a problem. 12I wish those people who are bothering you would add castration* [to their circumcision]. 13My brothers [and sisters], God called you to be free. But don't use your freedom as an excuse to do the things that please your sinful selves. But serve each other with love. 14The whole law* is made complete in this one command: "Love other people the same as you love yourself."* 15If you continue hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful! You will completely destroy each other.

The Spirit and Human Nature

16So I tell you: Live by following the Spirit.* Then you will not do the evil things your sinful selves want. 17Our sinful selves want things that are against the Spirit. The Spirit wants things that are against our sinful selves. These two different things are against each other. So you don't do the things you really want to do. 18But if you let the Spirit lead you, then you are not under law.* 19The wrong things our sinful self does are clear: doing sexual sins, not being pure, doing morally bad things, 20worshiping false gods, doing witchcraft,* hating, making trouble, having jealousy, being very angry, being selfish, making people mad at each other, making divisions, 21having envy, being drunk, having wild and wasteful parties, and doing other things like this. I warn you now like I warned you before: The people who do these things will not be in God's kingdom. 22But the Spirit* gives love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control. There is no law that can say these things are wrong. 24Those people who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified (killed) their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. 25We get our new life from the Spirit. So we should follow the Spirit. 26We must not be vain (conceited). We must not make trouble with each other. And we must not be jealous of each other.

circumcised, circumcision Cutting off the foreskin. This was done to every Jewish baby boy. It was a mark of the agreement God made with Abraham (Gen. 17:9-14). Spirit, Holy Spirit Also called the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ, and the Comforter. Joined with God and Christ, he does God's work among people in the world. yeast Used here as a symbol of evil or bad influence. "Just ... rise" A proverb meaning that a small thing (like a little wrong teaching) can make a big problem or that just one person can have a bad influence on the whole group. castration To cut off part of the male sex organs. Paul uses this word because it is like "circumcision." Paul shows that he is very upset with the false teachers. law God's law. It is represented in the law of Moses. "Love other people ... yourself" Quote from Lev. 19:18. law A law system, like the law of Moses. witchcraft Using magic or the power of Satan.

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