We are reading and studying the letter to the Galatians, and we reach Chapter 5 and verse 4. Were there some people already insisting on parts of the law?

If so - then Paul writes strongly to these men - alienated from Christ - and you have fallen away from grace.

From then on what would matter is trying rather than trusting - and no matter how hard you try - that will never make anyone acceptable to God.

If anyone says to you - you must do this - or - you must do that - to be righteous in the eyes of God - any rules and regulations which Christ has not commanded - that is bondage and legalism. It will cause guilt to grow, and we must reverently and lovingly and courageously but firmly, say "NO".

It is either all the way by your own effort - or - all the way by the Grace of God.

Verse 5 - By faith - by obediently believing - by believing obediently - we eagerly await - through the Holy Spirit - the righteousness for which we hope.

This word HOPE means SURE - ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN.

How many people do we meet who have no hope – no certainty – no assurance of their salvation – no reassurance that they belong to Almighty God, through faith in Jesus Christ, and through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ?

In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. This was part of the spiritual battle Paul was addressing.

When you are in Christ Jesus - being a Jew, or not being a Jew - that no longer matters. What does matter - what does count is - Faith - Obedience to Jesus - expressing itself through LOVE.

There are those who look at these verses and think that everyone in all the ‘churches’ is therefore ‘all right’. Note that the Scripture refers to those who are in Christ Jesus.

All of sudden, in verse 7, in this rather heavy section, Paul refers to sports or races.

You were running so well - you were running a good race - you made a good beginning. Who has cut in on you?

There has to be a good continuing, and what I am hearing causes me concern and perplexes me. You are not going on in the same way as you begun. You began by relying upon Jesus - depending totally upon the Holy Spirit - but now I hear that you are going back to the ways of men.

Who cut in on you as you were going round the track? Who has pushed you out of your lane? Who has prevented you from obeying the truth? Paul expects an answer.

Many start the race fast - they run well for a time - the first year - two years - and then other influences come along - other demands place a claim upon your life and time and commitment - and these can trip you up as you run for Christ Jesus.

Paul is quite explicit - such people who trip you up and cut in on you - do NOT come from GOD.

Well there is only one other source when it comes to spiritual matters - and that is serious.

“Loving God, help me to run this race right to the very end. Do not let anybody cut in on me, and push me out of the lane You have prepared for me. Help me to run faithfully and courageously, and lovingly, strengthened by the Holy Spirit, and with the light of the risen and living Jesus.” Amen