The arrival of Jesus signaled the end to the Temple Model and the beginning of something entirely brand new. Gentiles flocked to this new message & approach to God. Many Jews did as well, but they had some mixed feeling about abandoning the old way. It was their history, their heritage, and their customs. So they attempted to do the natural thing - assimilate Jesus into the old Temple Model.
However, Paul comes along and makes the case that they can't blend & mix the old way with the new Jesus way. As Paul planted churches, he encountered a group of Jewish Christians, Judaizers, who would come behind him teaching these churches an assimilation approach. While many might think it's not a big deal to blend & assimilate Jesus with the Jewish Temple system, Paul would argue that it is a big deal.
In Galatians 5, Paul argued specifically against the need or importance of circumcision as it relates to following Jesus. These Judaizers instructed the Galatian Christians that they needed to become Jewish first, which would include being circumcised. Paul emphatically argued that circumcision is of no value anymore, while it is also foolish to think it is beneficial to obey just some of the Old Covenant.
Then in Galatians 5:6, Paul reminds all of us that...The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. It is not just about vertically asking God if you are good. It is about horizontally making sure you are good with other people.
Paul knew that if we blend or mix in even a small bit of the old way eventually...
- Leaders would become self-righteous.
- Followers would become hypocrites.
- Texts would be manipulated.
- People would be mistreated.
Paul knew that if we blend or mix in any part of the old way, we will eventually miss the main thing...love.
What does love require of you?