[Nederlandse versie]

Paul’s letter to the Galatians, chapter 5, verses 13-16.

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

‘Love’ is typical for Christianity, ‘righteousness’ characteristic for Islam. Whoever says so, must explain. Pretending that Muslims do not love, is unfair and nonsensical. And justice and righteousness are fully biblical words too. Muslims fear that trusting in the cross is a licence to sin. An excuse for social injustice. If he died for your sins, what does your behaviour matter? What a misunderstanding!

God gave freedom to the Galatians. Circumcision and food laws were unnecessary to belong to his people. But believers of Jewish descent did not need to fear that Christians with a pagan background would lapse to debauchery.

The love of God who gave righteousness in the sense of acquittal, in fact maximises obedience. She is the strongest ever stimulus to love God and the neighbour. Indeed, in this way believers have always had to understand God’s commands. When Jesus summarises all God’s commands with the well-known double command, he cites from the books of Moses (Matt. 22:37-40; Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18).

When righteousness gets hold on the community of believers in the sense of norms and rules, one will get mutual control, rivalry, intolerance and disputes. The Galatians had become messed up. That is not the Spirit of Christ. Where he gets the space, love flourishes. For the disposition of Christ Jesus marks the mutual social intercourse.

Does the doctrine of Christ’s peace offer lead to ungodliness? Think of the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s day 24, question 64.[1]
Psalm to sing: psalm 133:1

1 Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!
2 It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Running down on the beard,
The beard of Aaron,
Running down on the edge of his garments.
3 It is like the dew of Hermon,
Descending upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the LORD commanded the blessing—
Life forevermore.


[1] The Heidelberg Catechism is a 16th century protestant catechism. The translation of the word ‘catechism’ is ‘teaching.’ It’s written to teach christian beliefs to both churchmembers and newcomers. The document took the form of series of questions and answers, concerning Christian the faith. It has been translated into many languages and is one of the most influential of the Reformed catechisms. In many protestant churches questions and answers from this confession are explained during one of the Sunday services. Lord’s day 24, question 64, says: ‘Question: Does this teaching not make people careless and wicked? Answer: No. It is impossible that those grafted into Christ by true faith should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.(Mt. 7:18; Lk. 6:43-45; Jn. 15:5.)

An online version can be found at http://www.canrc.org/?page=31