Daily Readings – February 2018

In our daily Bible readings this month we are going to look in some detail at Paul’s letter to the Galatians.

Thursday 1st February
Galatians 1:1-5
This letter to the Galatians was probably the first to have been written by Paul. The first Christians were Jews, like Jesus himself. By the time this letter was written, however, Christianity had taken root beyond the Jewish community, among those who were known as Gentiles. This letter was written to some of these Gentile Christians. It was written for one main purpose. These Gentile Christians were in danger of losing the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ which they had received because of the bad influence of some Jewish Christians, who themselves had misunderstood the Gospel. These Jewish Christians (usually called the ‘Judaisers’) were saying that to be a Christian you must not only believe in Christ but you must also be circumcised and keep all the Jewish rules and regulations. Paul knew that this was wrong.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Rev Dr Peter Donald as he leaves Inverness to go to a parish in the central belt and pray for Crown Church as they seek a new minister.

Friday 2nd February
Galatians 1:1-5
One of the ways in which the Judaisers sought to undermine Paul’s message was to say that the Galatians should not listen to Paul because he was not one of the twelve apostles. That is why Paul begins the letter in this way: ‘Paul, an apostle – sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead’. Paul insists that he is an apostle, called and appointed by God. After all, he had met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Do you see what he was doing? Right at the beginning of his letter he defends his right to preach the Christian Gospel and to define what that Gospel is. What is his argument? Well, simply that he was sent by God to preach this Gospel. Paul is saying clearly that he is God’s ambassador, that his credentials are not in doubt and that he has been sent with a Gospel which must be taken seriously because it comes from God himself.

Prayer Point
Pray for all those who provide various kinds of service to our church, whether flower arranging, cleaning, repairs and maintenance, serving on a duty team or any of the myriad tasks that need to be performed.

Saturday 3rd February
Galatians 1:6-10
The Christian Gospel has often been misunderstood. Sometimes this has been the fault of Christians, who have not accurately presented the Gospel as we find it in the Bible. Sometimes, when the Gospel has been accurately presented, those who heard it have failed to grasp its key elements. The most common misunderstanding is that to be accepted by God, we have to do certain things and refrain from doing certain other things. In other words, many people believe that being a Christian is about keeping commandments, obeying rules and avoiding sin. That is what these Galatians were being taught. This, however, is not the Gospel. In this letter to the Galatians we shall see what the Gospel really is and also what it is not. The Gospel which Paul preached was centred on God. It said, ‘God in Christ has done everything necessary for your salvation’. The Judaisers’ gospel said, ‘These are all the things that you must do in order to be saved’.

Prayer Point
Pray for the ‘Away Day’ for Elders and Deacons, asking that God may give vision, encouragement and wisdom as we contemplate the work of the congregation.

Sunday 4th February
Galatians 1:6-10
In verses 6-10 we find Paul expressing astonishment that these Galatians should so quickly abandon the true Gospel and accept something else in its place. No wonder that Paul is astonished. How could these Galatians depart from a simple Gospel of grace and replace it with a huge burden of obedience and rules and regulations and religious practices and so on? The answer is that the human heart is very unwilling to accept the grace of God. The human heart is proud and says, ‘I am not a sinner and so I do not need grace and forgiveness’. The human heart says, ‘I can make myself right with God by doing all these religious acts’. The truth is that, until we recognise our true condition, we will never accept the true Gospel. These Galatians, like so many today, did not understand the Gospel because they did not understand their own condition before God. Paul speaks very seriously about the truth of his Gospel. Indeed he says that if anyone brings another Gospel they should be eternally condemned, even if this new Gospel should be brought by an angel from heaven! Strong words.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Minister as he takes morning and evening services today and for Ian Challinor who is taking the Raigmore service.

Monday 5th February
Galatians 1:11-17
In the final section of the chapter, Paul tells his story – and what a fascinating story it is. He tells of how he was a zealous Jew who persecuted the Christian church (verses 13-14). But then God called him and he became a Christian and a preacher of the Gospel. He doesn’t give the details here in this chapter but we know from Acts 9 that he was on the road to Damascus to arrest Christians and take them to Jerusalem for trial when God stopped him in his tracks and changed his life. Why does Paul take time to tell his story? The answer is in verses 11-12: ‘I want you to know, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not something that man made up. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.’ Do you see the point? Paul tells his story to underline the point that his Gospel came directly from God. It was revealed to him. He did not learn it from Peter or the other apostles, he received it directly from God.

Prayer Point
Pray for Jack Macdonald working as Pastoral Assistant at Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh.

Tuesday 6th February
Galatians 1:18-24
Paul tells of his meetings with the apostles and other Christians but emphasises that he had by that stage already received the gospel from God by direct revelation. This underlines his authority and underlines the truth of his Gospel. In fact, Paul’s evangelistic ministry astonished these Judean Christians. As Paul records in verses 23-24, these Christians were saying, ‘The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy’. The result was that they praised God for Paul’s conversion and his ministry. It is truly a remarkable story, that an enemy and persecutor of the church should be converted to Christ and become a great and famous evangelist. God be praised, he can turn any life around.

Prayer Point
Pray for the important Presbytery meeting tonight to consider the Presbytery Plan and pray for the minister’s leading of the meeting, as Moderator of Presbytery.

Wednesday 7th February
Galatians 1
We have read the whole of chapter 1 again today, in order to sum up its message. The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ which Paul preached was not of human origin but came directly from God by revelation. It is a simple Gospel, calling men and women and children to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. When we come to Christ in faith, we are pardoned and accepted by God and enter into a right relationship with God. Once that has happened we will want to keep God’s commandments and obey the teaching given in his word but salvation itself does not come by obeying commandments, it comes by grace through faith. May God help us to trust in Jesus Christ and so enter into the experience of salvation

Prayer Point
Give thanks to God for the gift of prayer, thanking him for the way he answers prayer; and pray that a good number will come to the two prayer meetings today.

Thursday 8th February
Galatians 2:1-10
The Christian Church today is deeply divided. There are believers who describe themselves as Eastern Orthodox, Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals and so on. Even within these groupings, there are divisions. There are, for example, seven Presbyterian denominations in Scotland alone. Many of the things that divide us are trivial and we ought to be ashamed that we have allowed such matters to break our fellowship. Other divisions, however, are serious, concerning the very heart of the gospel. Divisions in the Church are not new. In the earliest days of the Christian Church, there was a division among the believers. The passage of Scripture which we have just read describes a visit to Jerusalem by Paul and Barnabas to resolve this division.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Senior Citizens’ lunch at Raigmore today and for the message that will be given from Scripture.

Friday 9th February
Galatians 2:1-10
When the Christian Church began, on the Day of Pentecost, the evangelism of the Church was focused on reaching the Jews. After all, Jesus was himself a Jew, he said that he came first to the Jews and his earliest disciples were all Jews. Peter was the leader of this part of the Church and the primary evangelist to the Jews. But God had also called Saul of Tarsus to be an evangelist. He became known as Paul the Apostle and God sent him to reach the non-Jews, the Gentiles. He was reluctant to do this at first since he was a passionate Jew. In his letter to the Philippians he describes himself in this way, ‘of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee’. Nevertheless, God showed him clearly that he was not to call ‘unclean’ what God regarded as ‘clean’ and that he was to go to the Gentiles with the gospel and so he did.

Prayer Point
Pray for Fraser & Dawn Jackson in South Africa and Fraser’s work in helping to provide library resources to a number of different institutions.

Saturday 10th February
Galatians 2:1-10
The Mission to the Jews led by Peter and the Mission to the Gentiles led by Paul, went on in parallel and there was not much contact between them. Unfortunately, some of the Jewish Christians did not understand what God had explained to Paul and they believed that to be a Christian you must first become a Jew. They began to insist that Gentile Christians must be circumcised and must keep the whole Jewish law and obey all the traditions and practices of the Jewish people. They seemed to believe that salvation was only possible for those who were Jews. This was a serious problem for the Church and it had to be resolved. For this purpose, a great Council of the Church was held in Jerusalem. It is described for us in Acts 15. It seems likely that the visit to Jerusalem described in the passage from Galatians, refers to Paul and Barnabas attending this great Council in Jerusalem. It is clear from the passage that the matter was settled amicably. Paul and Barnabas were given the right hand of fellowship and returned to their evangelistic ministry. The issue was very serious and went to the heart of the gospel. It is also the issue that lies at the heart of this letter to the Galatians: how can we find salvation? Paul’s answer was very clear: by faith in Jesus Christ. Anything which challenged this simple truth or undermined it, must be resisted.

Prayer Point
Pray for Hector Morrison and all the staff of Highland Theological College. Pray too for the new HTC campus in Paisley.

Sunday 11th February
Galatians 2:11-13
When we looked at the first half of Galatians 2, we read of the great Council at Jerusalem when it was decided that Peter should continue with his work among the Jews, and Paul was given the blessing of the Jerusalem Church for his work among the Gentiles. This was a happy, friendly conclusion and they parted having given one another the right hand of fellowship. (verse 9). Our verses today, however, tell a different story. Here we find division, hypocrisy, separation and ‘factions’. What caused this? Well, it was Peter and the picture we have of Peter in this chapter does him little credit. As we see in verses 11-13 Peter was happy to eat with the Gentiles until certain people came from Jerusalem. Then he stopped doing so, obviously worried about what these Jewish Christians might say. Peter was weak, afraid, hypocritical and wrong. He was more concerned with what other people thought than with what was right.

Prayer Point
Pray for the minister as he takes the morning and evening services today, for Bill Flett as he takes the Raigmore service and for the Rev Norman Maciver as he takes the Gaelic service.

Monday 12th February
Galatians 2:14-16
We saw yesterday that Peter was in the wrong because he was anxious about what people might think. Today we consider Paul’s response to the situation. Paul was afraid of no-one and was concerned only with the Gospel. Once again, the issue was about Jews and Gentiles. It seems as if Paul was the only one who had truly grasped the significance of the Gospel. This confrontation between Peter and Paul was really the confrontation between the Gospel and half a Gospel. Peter was in danger of falling into the heresy that salvation comes partly by God’s grace and partly by following rules and regulations. Paul was clear that this was impossible and he spells it out in verses 15-16 of our passage. It would be very easy for someone to write off this whole argument between apostles as just a ‘squabble’ over words! Such a person couldn’t be more wrong. This confrontation between Peter and Paul takes us to the heart of the Gospel and the Christian faith.

Prayer Point
Pray for former Probationers: Ross Macaskill, Scott McRoberts and Dougie Wolf.

Tuesday 13th February
Galatians 2:17-21
We might say that Peter had grasped the fact that the believer is dead to sin, but he had not grasped the fact that the believer is also dead to the law, as Paul says here in verse19. Paul himself sums up the believer’s new condition in verse 20: ‘I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’. Do we understand what this verse is saying? When Christ died on that cross on Calvary he took my sins upon himself and it is as if I had been crucified myself. My sins were dealt with then, 2,000 years ago. This is the Gospel. Nothing to do with circumcision or keeping the commandments. Nothing to do with laws and rules and regulations. It is simply about a man hanging on a cross in our place. Peter had seen the man hanging on the cross with his own eyes but he hadn’t fully grasped what it meant. Have we grasped what it means? Peter later learned his lesson and preached the same Gospel as Paul.

Prayer Point
Pray for our organist Jim Fraser, for the Music Group and for the Multimedia Team who do so much to enrich and enhance our worship.

Wednesday 14th February
Galatians 2:17-21
We read these verses again today in order to underline what Paul says here in verses 20-21: ‘The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ These three words, ‘faith’, ‘grace’ and righteousness’ take us to the very core of Christian theology. Only by the grace of God can we be saved. That grace operates by faith. When, by the grace of God, we exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we receive Christ’s own righteousness as a free gift and, being clothed in his righteousness, we are justified in God’s sight. This is the doctrine of justification by faith.

Prayer Point
Pray for the minister as he takes an Assembly at Raigmore School this morning.

Thursday 15th February
Galatians 3:1-5
Yesterday we saw the doctrine of justification by faith as spelled out by Paul in chapter 2. Now he goes on in these verses to defend that doctrine. He wants to convince the Jewish Christians that justification by faith has always been God’s designated way of bringing men and women to salvation. In doing so, he asks the same question in two ways. First in verse 2: ‘Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?’ Then in verse 5: ‘Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?’ Clearly the answer to both questions is that they received the Spirit by believing. Faith is the way of salvation, not the law.

Prayer Point
Pray for The Gathering taking place in the church hall this morning. Pray for good fellowship.

Friday 16th February
Galatians 3:6-14
Having given the past experience of the Galatians as proof of justification by faith (‘you believed’), he now turns to give the example of Abraham. For a Jew, the authority of Abraham was decisive and so Paul demonstrates that Abraham was justified by faith and not by law. He then makes a statement in verse 7 which was very controversial: ‘Understand, then, that those who believe are children of Abraham’. Do you see the point? The Jews believed that they (and only they) were the children of Abraham. Instead, Paul insists that Abraham is the father of all who believe. In other words, he is the father of all those who have faith. Thus Paul can conclude in verse 9: ‘So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith’. Paul makes this same argument about Abraham in Romans 4. He makes it quite clear that Abraham was justified by faith and not by keeping the law.

Prayer Point
Pray for Sheila Murray, our church secretary, asking that God would give her joy and encouragement in the work of the congregation.

Saturday 17th February
Galatians 3:15-25
In these verses Paul is asking the question: what is the relationship between God’s covenant with Abraham and the giving of the law through Moses? In other words, what is the relationship between the covenant and the law? Paul understands the problem. If God made a covenant with Abraham and that covenant was the basis for the relationship between God and his people, then what happened when the law was given through Moses? When God give the law, did that cancel the covenant? Is there now a new situation, so that salvation is not by grace but by law? It could easily seem that way. In fact, Paul shows that the giving of the law did not cancel the covenant. God says to Abraham, ‘I will be your God and you will be my people’. Then through Moses he gives the law and tells the Jews that, since they are his people, this is how they should live.

Prayer Point
Pray for the housebound in the congregation and those in care homes. Ask that God would give them all that they need and especially that he would strengthen their faith and encourage them in Christ.

Sunday 18th February
Galatians 3:26-29
The key theme in these verses is the idea of ‘sonship’. Paul tells the Galatians in verse 26, ‘You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus’. This is a marvellous description of the status of the Christian believer. We are the children of God and we have all the rights and privileges of children. Paul is concerned that, having become the children of God and been set free from everything that held them back, they were now going back to their old ways. Paul wants them to understand their new situation, as those who have faith in Christ. He spells this out in 3:27-29. Notice two important points which Paul makes in these verses: First, the Galatian believers are ‘clothed with Christ’. Second, Paul tells the Galatian Christians that they are ‘all one in Christ Jesus’. In other words, whether they were Jews or Gentiles before, when they became Christians those distinctions were abolished and they were united together in Christ.

Prayer Point
Pray for the minister as he preaches in Ardersier and Petty this morning, as Moderator of Presbytery. Pray for Fraser Turner as he takes the morning service and the minister as he returns to take the evening service. Pray for Iain Macdonald as he takes the Raigmore service.

Monday 19th February
Galatians 4:1-20
In the first 3 verses of chapter 4, Paul gives an illustration to explain this new status: it is the difference between being a slave and being a son. This idea of being a child of God by faith in Jesus is very important in the New Testament. Among other places, we see it in 2 Corinthians 6:18, 1 John 3:1-2 and in Romans 8:14-17. No wonder, then, that Paul spends the rest of our passage demanding to know why the Galatians, having once known the glories of being the children of God are now returning to slavery. He is deeply concerned for them. The Church is supposed to be a family. We are all children (as believers) of one Father. This is by grace through faith. It is neither earned nor achieved. Are you a child of God today? Like the prodigal son, coming home to the Father is the key to understanding what God has done for us. James Philip, former minister of Holyrood Abbey church, once said that ‘Homesickness is the spiritual condition of mankind’. God’s love for us in adopting us as his children should always be emphasised.

Prayer Point
Pray for the minister as he attends an important meeting of the Council of Assembly in Edinburgh. The Council must finalise its report to the General Assembly.

Tuesday 20th February
Galatians 4:21-31
As we saw near the beginning of these readings, this happened because a group called the ‘Judaisers’ began to teach that to be Christian one must first become a Jew, be circumcised, and keep the Jewish law. This infuriated Paul. In order to prove that these Judaisers were not true sons of Abraham, Paul takes a story from the Old Testament and uses it as an example of a spiritual truth. What he says is this: it is all very well to call yourself a ‘son of Abraham’ but in Genesis we see that Abraham had two sons – and they were quite different! In other words, there are two ways of being a son of Abraham: you can be an Isaac or you can be an Ishmael. Paul takes Ishmael to represent the Judaisers. God had promised Abraham a son, but instead of waiting for his wife to bear him a son he sinfully tried to bring the promise to fulfilment himself! Ishmael, then, represents those who seek to establish God’s kingdom (and enter that kingdom) by their own efforts. Instead of waiting for God to fulfil his promise and bring salvation, the Judaisers wanted to earn it themselves by keeping the law. Over against all this, however, stands Isaac, and Paul uses him to represent all true believers who know that they can never earn salvation and simply trust God and his grace.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Girls’ Brigade and particularly for Jennifer Morrison and Sheena Fraser as they transition into leadership.

Wednesday 21st February
Galatians 5:1-15
The theme of these verses is freedom. This is well expressed in the first verse of the passage: ‘It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery’. Paul is concerned that these Galatian Christians, who had found freedom in Christ, were now placing themselves in bondage again. The Bible tells us that we are all slaves to sin and that only in Christ can we be set free. Listen to the words of Jesus in John 8:31-36: ‘To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. 32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 33 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” 34 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. 35 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. 36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed”’ We must seek true love and true freedom, which come from God.

Prayer Point
Pray for the young people of our congregation who have left home to study or to work. Ask that God would watch over them and would sustain their faith.

Thursday 22nd February
Galatians 5:16-18
In these verses we see that the desires of the flesh are in opposition to the desires of the Spirit. This is because human beings are made up of body and soul, and because we are fallen creatures. Often the natural desires of our physical beings are contrary to what God desires of us. Paul speaks of a conflict between the flesh and the Spirit, between what God would have us do, and the things we actually find ourselves doing. That was Paul’s own experience, as we read in Romans 7:15: ‘I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate’. We tend so often to choose the way of the flesh, to spend our time and our money on things which we enjoy, and which gratify our desires, instead of doing the will of God. This however doesn’t mean that we mustn’t enjoy ourselves, in fact, real joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit (verse 22). Christian life is real life and real joy but it is against the principles of the bible to have enjoyment in a worldly sense as our aim in life. Our aim in life is to glorify God and to enjoy him for ever. This means that everything we do must be done to the glory of God and by so doing we will really enjoy ourselves.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Sunday School and the Ark Sunday Club. Pray too that we might be able to identify leaders for our youth fellowship.

Friday 23nd February
Galatians 5:19-21
Paul now, in verses 19-21, states exactly what the works of the flesh are: ‘sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like’. He then says that the people who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. This is a serious warning to us, because this list includes, not only sins like idolatry and witchcraft, but also simple things like jealously, anger and selfishness. We must get rid of these things in our own lives and live only for God, because there is no difference between big sins and little sins. Anything which goes against the will of God or anything which comes between us and God, is sin, and must be got rid of immediately.

Prayer Point
Pray for Open Doors today, asking that we might be able to help those who come in and also that the Gospel will change lives.

Saturday 24th February
Galatians 5:22-26
Having given us the bad side, Paul then goes on to tell us in verses 22-23 about the fruit of the Spirit: ‘love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control’. Do we have these in our lives? Do we have a real and genuine love for people and for God, a real joy which is deep down and comes from the knowledge of God’s Salvation? Do we really exercise all these other fruits of the Spirit? We can only stand on one side, the side of the flesh or the side of God. God demands and indeed deserves all of our lives and we must, as we read in verse 24 ‘crucify the flesh’. Christ will never own those who are servants of sin. It is not enough to stop doing evil, we must actively do good. Our Christianity teaches us not only to get rid of the desires of the flesh, but to bring out the fruit of the Spirit. We are not left to do this on our own, however, we are to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’ (verse 25). He enables us to be what, in ourselves, we could never be.

Prayer Point
Pray for the MacDonalds in Zambia, praying especially for Christine as she continues to receive medical treatment for serious health issues.

Sunday 25th February
Galatians 6:1
Much of what we have seen in this letter has been quite theological but in this last chapter, Paul becomes more practical. The first verse of the chapter says, ‘Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted’. The situation envisaged here is of a person who, without deliberating intending to pursue a course of sin, falls into some wickedness. How is the Church to deal with that? The key to solving the problem is the word ‘restore’ – that is the ultimate purpose of all Church discipline. The word used for ‘restore’ is the same word used in the New Testament for mending nets. The elders who are skilled (spiritually experienced) must ‘bring back to wholeness or soundness.’ Too often in the past this has been forgotten and the Church has been guilty of punishing and destroying, rather than ‘restoring’. Worse still, often the Church has ignored the sin. The message is clear: restore the fallen in a spirit of gentleness, ‘But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted…’

Prayer Point
Pray for the minister as he takes morning and evening services today and Alex Stephen as he takes the Raigmore service.

Monday 26th February
Galatians 6:1-6
There are many themes in these verses, let’s highlight two of them. First, in verse 2, Paul says this: ‘Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ’. This does not mean ‘put up with each other’ or ‘tolerate each other’ but ‘jointly shoulder each member’s burdens’. The way of Christ is the way of love. It is the kind of example Jesus showed when he washed the disciples’ feet. In verses 3-5 Paul speaks of the kind of attitude which prevents Christians from sharing one another’s burdens, verses which are deeply challenging. We each have our own burdens. Ours may be lighter than someone else’s therefore comparisons are unfair. The second theme is in verse 6: ‘Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor’. This is recognised in the Church of Scotland as the responsibility of a congregation to care for their Minister. Today we have a system… stipend, manse, but the responsibility to care and share is still there.

Prayer Point
Pray for the elders of the church. Ask that God would give them wisdom in all their work and decision-making. Pray especially for their pastoral care of the congregation.

Tuesday 27th February
Galatians 6:7-10
In verses 7-9 there is a warning: ‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’. Notice the danger of ‘sowing to please the sinful nature’ instead of ‘sowing to please the spirit’. The warning is that there will be a day of judgment. How should we live in response to this warning? The answer is in verse 10: ‘Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers’. This is a high bar which is being set up. We are to do good to all people. Perseverance in doing good is a fruit of grace. Notice: ‘especially to those who belong to the family of believers’. Just as each of us is given by God special responsibility for our own families, so now we are part of a new spiritual family and that brings with it responsibilities.

Prayer Point
Pray for the Word at One service today.

Wednesday 28th February
Galatians 6:11-18
The last eight verses of the passage contain a summary of the whole letter. This is summed up in verses 14-15: ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation’. As we come to the end, it might be useful to highlight the key issues in the letter:

1 There is no other Gospel except the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (1:1-10)
2 This Gospel was not made up by men but revealed by God. (1:11ff)
3 Justification is by faith not adherence to law or custom. (2)
4 We must not begin with the spirit and then go back to law. (3)
5 We are the children of God by faith, children of promise. (4)
6 Christ has set us free from all that binds us. (5)
7 In this freedom the fruit of the Spirit is seen. (5)
8 Exercise this fruit in practical Christian living. (6)

May God help us to understand this teaching and to live it out.

Prayer Point
Pray for the United Prayer Meeting to be held this evening in Inshes Church, the first of several to be held, the next one to take place in our church.