Paul told the Galatians, and us, in Galatians 5:5 that we “by faith” await the hope of our perfection when the Lord returns. He then adds more to that though in Galatians 5:6. He writes, “For in Christ Jesus neither 07 faithcircumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” The works of the law, i.e., “circumcision” count for nothing. The absences of the works of the law, i.e., “uncircumcision,” count for nothing. The only thing that really matters is faith expressed through love! But what does Paul mean by “Faith?”

In his famous speech on the foundation of American Democracy in 1954, Dwight Eisenhower said that our “Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith—and I don’t care what it is.” Paul cares—and he is convinced that God cares. Eisenhower seems to be referring to is faith in faith. It’s not faith in faith that Paul is referring to, it’s faith in Christ. In a gathering of pastor from liberal churches in Stockholm, a speaker urged his colleagues to preach the actual resurrection and actual life after death as the hope of man and the world. Following his presentation, a friend asked him in astonishment, “I didn’t think you believed in life after death, from what you have told me personally. Why are you so insistent on this message in the pulpit?” “Oh,” he replied, “I do not preach my personal faith, but the faith of the Church.” In my opinion that’s ridiculous. He would not be comfortable in Paul’s company. The only thing anyone can truly preach is a personal faith. Giving lip service to traditional values, as many churches do today, is of no more value than circumcision or uncircumcision. Lawson rightly adds, “What matters is honest faith in Christ. The outward paraphernalia of religion—circumcision, dietary laws, Sabbath observance, or the mere mouthings of doctrine—can’t save us.” Only Christ can save us.

Richison summarizes this verse well. He writes, “Christians who work and struggle in hope that somehow they will gain merit with God, ultimately end in futility. They never arrive or achieve their aim because they cannot live up to perfection. Religious rites cannot produce spirituality for only God can take us to perfection. However, God’s love working in our faith will produce what we need. God does the providing. God’s love provides what we do not earn or deserve.”