Thought for the Day: Paul was always harsh on the whole circumcision thing which seems a bit odd since he was circumcised. Paul appears to be a slippery slope kind of person, fearful that if someone takes that one step in the wrong direction there will be no turning back. For that reason, Paul would often use startling language hoping to halt one’s movement toward what Paul perceived as a pretty steep slope. At the same time, Paul did not say that Christ would abandon or be angry with those who chose circumcision. Instead, he spoke of no benefit. A question comes to mind: How was circumcision being presented to new followers of Jesus? It appears that there were some leaders in the early church who were making circumcision a requirement, a test of sorts before a person could enter into a relationship with Jesus. For Paul, anything that suggested a barrier or obstacle between a person and the love of God in Jesus was missing the point of Jesus. You can’t speak of grace and have a bunch of conditions and stipulations on that grace. It’s like someone saying, “I love you, but I will require…” (and then giving a lengthy list of requirements). Christ will be of no benefit if someone does not understand and accept grace for what it is. In suggesting a bunch of prerequisites to grace would undermine the whole point of grace. If the benefit of Christ is grace, then it seems to make sense that we not get stuck in conditions that others are attempting to impose on grace – because conditional grace is not grace.
Prayer: You offer a free gift, yet it is the tendency of human beings to add a surcharge to that gift. Gracious God, why is it that we seek to limit what you freely give, and give in abundance? Why do we hide and horde your unconditional love made real in Jesus? Free us, O Gracious One, so that we can truly benefit from the life-giving capacity of your gift. Amen.
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