Keep Your Freedom
1 We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong in that freedom. Don’t go back into slavery again. 2 Listen! I, Paul, tell you that if you start following the law by being circumcised, then Christ cannot help you. 3 Again, I warn everyone: If you allow yourselves to be circumcised, then you must follow the whole law. 4 If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is finished—you have left God’s grace. 5 I say this because our hope of being right with God comes through faith. And the Spirit helps us feel sure as we wait for that hope. 6 When someone belongs to Christ Jesus, it is not important if they are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith—the kind of faith that works through love.
You were doing so well. Who caused you to stop following the truth? 8
It certainly wasn’t the one who chose you. 9
Be careful! “Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise.”* 10
I trust in the Lord that you will not believe those different ideas. Someone is trying to confuse you. Whoever it is will be punished.
My brothers and sisters, I don’t teach that a man must be circumcised. If I do teach circumcision, then why am I still being persecuted? If I still taught circumcision, then my message about the cross would not be a problem. 12
I wish those people who are bothering you would add castration†
to their circumcision.
My brothers and sisters, God chose you to be free. But don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful selves. Instead, serve each other with love. 14
The whole law is made complete in this one command: “Love your neighbor‡
the same as you love yourself.”✡ 15
If you continue hurting each other and tearing each other apart, be careful, or you will completely destroy each other.
The Spirit and Human Nature
So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants. 17
The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do. 18
But if you let the Spirit lead you, you are not under law.§
19 The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: committing sexual sin, being morally bad, doing all kinds of shameful things, 20 worshiping false gods, taking part in witchcraft, hating people, causing trouble, being jealous, angry or selfish, causing people to argue and divide into separate groups, 21 being filled with envy, getting drunk, having wild parties, and doing other things like this. I warn you now as I warned you before: The people who do these things will not have a part in God’s kingdom. 22 But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their sinful self. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do. 25 We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit. 26 We must not feel proud and boast about ourselves. We must not cause trouble for each other or be jealous of each other.