A Faith Which Works By Love

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Galatians 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

The Church at Galatia was largely a Church composed of Gentiles who had received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Just like the Pharisees did with Jesus, the Pharisees came to Galatia and began to teach the people that they weren’t really saved if they didn’t keep the Law of Moses. A Gentile who was uncircumcised was certainly NOT a Christian, because true believers are supposed to be circumcised.

What is circumcision, and why did the Pharisees believe it was necessary for salvation? God established circumcision as a Law within Israel in Genesis 17. In that text God told Abram:

Genesis 17:4-8 As for Me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. 8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.

God promised several things to Abram that day. God promised that Abram – renamed Abraham – would be father of many nations. But God also promised Abraham that he would father a specific nation that would inherit all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. Abraham and his seed, his progeny, would be given title to Canaan in perpetuity. So in Abraham there was promised a specific nation that would be his descendants, and many nations that would be blessed by him.

Then God established the rite of circumcision. God said:

Genesis 17:10-13 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

Circumcision was a covenant that God established with the House of Abraham. It only applied to Abraham’s direct descendants, and to servants indebted to the House of Abraham. It only applied to males. When God first established this requirement, every male in Abraham’s household was to be circumcised. In later years when children were born, the male child was circumcised on the eighth day.

Circumcision never had anything to do with salvation. How do we know this? Because only males of the House of Abraham were circumcised. Females were exempted. If circumcision were necessary for salvation, then women who were not circumcised were consigned to hell! We know that’s not right, as

our God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him” (Acts 10:34-35).

God never made circumcision a requirement for salvation. What did God say was the punishment if a member of the House of Abraham refused to be circumcised?

God said, “… the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant” (Genesis 17:14).

God did not say that the one who refused circumcision would be cut off from Heaven. No. God said that the man who refused circumcision would be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant. That man would be disinherited from Israel the nation. His family would shun him. He would lose his part of Canaan, the Promised Land. But circumcision – along with the other rites of the Law – had nothing to do with salvation.


God has never required a rite or a ritual to be a part of salvation. Salvation has always been by faith in the Lord. The Bible says in the Old Testament:

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.

Abraham was not saved by God because he was circumcised. The rite of circumcision set Israel apart from the rest of the nations of the earth. It was God’s intent to bring the Messiah through Abraham’s lineage, through Israel. Circumcision was a token sign that the males of the Household of Abraham were OF the Household of Abraham. Salvation from sin and death has always been through faith in the Grace of God. We are told that Abraham was saved because:

Romans 4:3 … Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Galatians 3:6 … Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

James 2:23 … Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

When the Scripture tells you something but once, it is absolutely true. When the Scripture repeatedly tells you something, then it is truth that God demands we understand. Rituals and rites do not save a soul. What saves a soul is faith in God.

The Bible says of Noah: (Genesis 6:8) Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.

God told Moses: Exodus 33:12-17 I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in My sight. … 17 … for thou hast found grace in My sight, and I know thee by name.

There is nothing you or I can do to earn or deserve a place in the Household of God. Salvation is entirely of faith in God. When God, in His infinite love, reaches out to we who are drowning in trespasses and sins, and offers His hand of salvation – if we, in loving response, grab His nail scarred hand, we are saved.

Circumcision was a rite, a signature on an Abrahamic Covenant, that applied only to Israel.

Why am I making a big deal out of this? You might say, “Brother David, we don’t care about this circumcision thing. It has no application to us.” Beloved, it does have application. There are other rites and rituals that have crept into the Churches today that are on par with circumcision. For instance, I came across this bit of news the other day.

Illustrate: I quote “A Phoenix {Catholic}priest has resigned from his parish after church officials said they discovered he performed thousands of baptisms incorrectly in Arizona and California. The problem? The priest changed a pronoun in the baptism ceremony that could change the lives of countless Catholics. Father Andres Arango of Phoenix’s St. Gregory Catholic Church said “We baptize you,” during the ceremonies. Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Diocese of Phoenix, in consultation with the Vatican, determined that Arango should have said, “I baptize you.” Father Arango went on to say, “It saddens me to learn that I have performed invalid baptisms throughout my ministry as a priest by regularly using an incorrect formula,” Arango said in a statement. I deeply regret my error and how this has affected numerous people in your parish and elsewhere.

The Catholic Church considers water baptism to be a sacrament and not an ordinance. A “sacrament” is something absolutely necessary for salvation, whereas an “ordinance” is a command of our Lord that should be obeyed. Since Catholics believe baptism is a sacrament, babies are baptized, just as among the Jews babies were circumcised. Since this Priest said “We baptize” instead of “I baptize”, then to the Catholic every person previously baptized – according to the Priest thousands of baptisms – those people are in danger of hell. If they die before they get a do over, they are lost forever.


The Bible is clear that salvation is attained …

Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Should Christians be baptized? Absolutely! Jesus commanded baptism. Jesus said,

Matthew 28:19 … Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy {Spirit}

God said, (Exodus 20:6 I show) mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

Jesus said, (John 14:15) “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 15:10) “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love.

It is love for our God that causes us to keep His commandments, and His commandments are NOT grievous (1 John 5:3). Salvation is a matter of relational love. God loves us, and we love Him. God calls us, and we in faith come to Him, and do as He bids. Saved, I no longer belong to myself. I belong to God, and beloved, if you are saved YOU belong to God.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

The Apostle tells the Galatians:

Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

The Pharisees were trying to put requirements on the Galatians, requirements that were given only to the House of Israel. The rituals of circumcision and animal sacrifice, of festivals and feasts, were things that God gave to Israel to teach them (and us) about the Coming Messiah. When that which is perfect is come {our Lord Jesus}, then that which is in part shall be done away {the animal sacrifices, the feasts, the rites, the circumcision}” (1 Corinthians 13:10).

Illustrate: There is an interesting story in the Book of Acts. Right after God knocked Saul (who would soon be the Apostle Paul) down on the Damascus Road (Acts 9), God began to reach out to the Gentiles. God said of Saul:

Acts 9:15 {Saul} is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

God has been reaching Jews, now He reaches out to Gentiles. In Acts 10 we read:

Acts 10:1-5 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:

Cornelius is an Italian, a Gentile, one who was uncircumcised. He called for Simon Peter to come to him. As Cornelius is having his vision, Peter was praying, and saw:

Acts 10:11-16 … heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending upon him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of four footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

Right after this vision, Cornelius’ men get to Simon Peter’s home, and ask him to come and share the Gospel with Cornelius. What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. It is God Who cleanses, God Who saves through the Blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. As Peter shared the Gospel with the House of Cornelius, “the Holy Spirit fell on them which heard the Word of God” (Acts 10:44). Peter said:

Acts 10:47-48 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy {Spirit} as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Peter commanded that these Gentile believers be baptized – but never ordered them be circumcised. Circumcision is a Jewish rite. It cannot save. Only faith in the Lord Jesus Christ saves!

The Christian Is To Live By
Faith Which Worketh By Love”

Galatians 5:2-4 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised {that is, if you are relying on circumcision for salvation}, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised {you believe salvation can only come through this ritual}, that he is a debtor to do the whole law {you cannot cherry pick rituals}. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

The means by which God has ALWAYS saved people is by Grace. The Pharisees always think that you must strive to be saved. They make salvation into a wrestling match, into a competition. They dress a certain way. They talk a certain way. Certain rituals and rites are what they are proud of doing.

They have FALLEN from GRACE.
Grace is the only means of salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The Christian is empowered by following the Spirit of God and the Word of God. A genuine faith in God loves God, and follows God. We read:

Galatians 5:5-6 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

A genuine faith is a faith that worketh by love. Genuine faith does not work FOR our salvation. It lovingly works FOR God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ because we love Him. It worketh by love.

  • Faith that saves is not inherited. We cannot get to Heaven because of our parents. GOD HAS NO GRANDCHILDREN! The Pharisees were fond of speaking of “our father Abraham” (John 8:53). They put their hopes and dreams on their heritage. “We are not born of fornication. We have one Father, even God” (John 8:41). This is what they claimed. They claimed that they were children of God, but their hope was in Israel, in being of the line of Abraham, in being great ritualists. But the Pharisees missed the most important thing. They were not IN CHRIST JESUS, and were fallen from Grace.
  • Faith that saves is not in an institution. There are some Churches who teach that, if you are not part of their entity, that you are not saved. The Catholics believe this. The Church of Christ believes this. There are other Church groups that believe this. Yet the Scripture will not support these claims. The Bible tells us that – upon your profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – that (1 Corinthians 12:13-14) “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.” We do not add ourselves to the Church. God the Holy Spirit does this. Acts 2:47 tells us that “the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved”. The Baptist Faith and Message states:

VI. The Church: “A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

Every believer is a member of Christ’s worldwide Church, but every believer is encouraged to become a part of a local Bible believing Church. Christians are called together into local Churches so that we can love and grow in love.

We are saved from death and hell so that we can lovingly serve Jesus and one another!

The Apostle warns us that we were saved for a RIGHT purpose. He says:

Galatians 5:12-16 I would they were even cut off which trouble you. 13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The Christian is saved by the love of God so that we can practice loving one another. What is Christ’s standard? By love serve one another. Not serve yourselves. Not puff yourselves up. No, Beloved, we are to love other Christians as members of His Body. We are to love the lost as prospective members of His Kingdom.

We are to seek to daily Walk in the Spirit, surrendered to God in all that you say and do. We fulfill the Law of God by obeying Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Treat others around you as you would be treated. There was a time when …

Titus 3:3 … we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

That is the way of darkness, the way of the world. As Children of Grace we are commanded:

1 Corinthians 14:20 … in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

In these dark days of America, Christ’s Church must band together in love. We are not to justify the “works of the flesh”.

Galatians 5:19-21 … the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

This verse is so close to what I preached this morning out of 1 Corinthians 6:9. If you do not Walk in the Spirit, if you do not have faith which worketh by love, then Beloved, you may not be saved. The Church is under command to not bite and devour one another. The Church is under command not to live “by the works of the flesh”. We are called to manifest the fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 … love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

May God the Holy Spirit and this His Word go deeply into our hearts, and impact our lives. For Christ’s sake, and the glory of the Father. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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