“For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.” – Galatians 5:6 (AMP)
Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians because they were struggling. After having a salvation experience based soley on their faith in Christ, many were regressing back to the habit of keeping the Law – and encouraging others to do the same. In Galatians 1:6 Paul writes, “I am surprised and astonished that you are so quickly turning renegade and deserting Him who invited and called you by grace.” Paul was clear. Acts of religion will get us nowhere when it comes to living the Christian life. Only faith will do.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am familiar with a little epistle written by our friend in the faith, James. I know he told us faith without works is dead (James 2:17). But it’s really about where the impetus for those works comes from. Are we doing good works because we believe they will obtain salvation for us, or are our works flowing out as a result of our faith in Christ? It has to be the latter. It has to be faith first.
Paul writes about a specific kind of faith here. He speaks of one that is activated by love, energized by love, expressed by love and working through love. The word for love used here is the “big one” – agape. Our faith is activated, energized, expressed and made to work through the agape love of Christ. Faith is grown and nurtured when we experience the love of Christ in our hearts. It’s the precursor to effective faith.
If we look at God as a Father, we can see a comparison starting to take shape. Are we fearful of the rod our Father holds, and therefore acting out of a fear of punishment? Or are we marinating in the love of our Daddy, and having good works flow out as a response to that kind of love? Faith finds it’s effectiveness working through love.