The Measure of Your Life
Here in chapter 6, Paul is ready to conclude his letter to the Galatian churches, but the task of living faithfully remains in front of all who call on the name of Jesus. You see, Paul has given the Galatians a clear directive all throughout this letter. It is not the following of religious customs, such as circumcision, that leads to life with God and freedom from sin in our lives. It is nothing but the mercy of God put on display through the cross of Jesus. That is the starting point for a life lived with God. The starting point cannot be something that is accomplished by human means. It is not a rite or a symbolic event. It is not a holy service or an offering. The life of faith starts at the cross. It begins with the work of Jesus for salvation. And the work that Jesus has begun is bringing a new creation to the world.
New creation: Paul says that this is what freedom leads us to (in verse 15). This is what matters. This is what the Gospel is trying to show us and give us. Newness of life. Freedom from the bondage of the old life with its snares and traps. Freedom to live in the creation that is ordered and held in motion by God’s very self.
And of course this is good news! That is what the Gospel literally means, after all. It is good news because we now have hope and peace. It is good news because of the forgiveness of sins and the mercy to begin again in life and communion with God our creator. And it is good news because we have the opportunity to live according to the will of God–the best way to live in this world.
This is what Paul means in verse 16 when he says, “May peace and mercy be on whoever follows this rule and on God’s Israel.”
This “rule” is the will of God. It is what we see in the heart of the Law and the Prophets of the Hebrew Bible. It is what we see lived out in the teachings and life of Jesus. It is what we see displayed for us in the sacrificial giving of Jesus’ life for ours at the cross. It is the ruler by which we measure our lives. It is the canon by which we choose to live. It is the standard by which we are known. It is the ruler by which we measure our lives.
We are measured by the actions which follow the example of Christ. And remember, the good news that is the Christian Gospel means that this measure is first and foremost about Christ, not about us. This is not a means to say that we earn our salvation by our actions. Instead, it is to say that we are new creations, and we are working to help bring God’s new creation to this one. We are co-workers in the Gospel who seek to bring the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven.
At Skillman, it is our goal to be known by our love. We believe that the key Christian virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love are so meaningful that we want to be synonymous with them. We want for all people to know that we follow Christ and are people who display these characteristics in our daily lives always. Paul’s words here to the Galatians speak not only to our fellow believers from 2,000 years ago, but to us as well. May we be measured by our Faith, Hope, and Love. May we be measured by the teachings and life of Jesus. And most importantly, may we be measured by the cross of Christ which encourages us and gives us the example to take up our own crosses daily so that we can live faithful lives in Jesus’ name.