Brothers and sisters, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. Galatians 5:11
In a world of so many dogmas, specifically when it pertains to Christianity or even around the concept of God the Father, it is just so hard to know what to believe. What do we teach our children? Moreso, what do we believe is okay and not okay? Is circumcision the right thing to do or can we ignore it? That was the big issue in Paul’s day. And he was persecuted by his fellow Jewish pals for preaching against circumcision. Do you know what that meant? It’s kind of the same as the debate of worshipping on Saturday versus Sunday. Or, dare I say, whether Jesus died and rose again as God or was Jesus just a prophet that was taken up by God? I mean, these are really tough questions. How do we know what is right or wrong? And does all these questions matter?
I must say that I have been a girl with many questions as long as I knew myself. Before I was 14 years old, I was intrigued with gaining knowledge. But, when I acquired the knowledge and was trying to make sense of all of it, I had questions about parts that didn’t add up in my little brain. At first, these were little questions. And even if the answers didn’t make too much sense, I accepted it anyway. But, then I grew up and started attending university. At 18 years old, I was already in my second year, and had read so many complicated constitutional and philosophical books- considering my majors were Political Science and Criminology. I went back to Sunday school with grander questions. Now that I had studied Socrates, Marx, Aristotle and others, I too appreciated the socratic method, and confidently asked more questions expecting detailed answers to my misunderstandings. You see where I am going with this…
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The more worldly knowledge I got is the more questions I had, and the less Faith was making sense. I believed more in logic than Faith. The one logic that got me off course of my christian beliefs was learning that the disciples or prophets were mere men who wrote the bible, not God himself, which was what I believed as a child. Now, in truth the bible never said God wrote the bible, rather, 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…” These doubts poured into my brain so much so that by the time I was 19 years old, I was in total confusion. To further clarify things for myself, I decided I would take a Christian history course in my third year. Sure, it was interesting to learn about the history, but I didn’t realize what I was doing: Trying to make sense of my Faith, using history and logic to prove what I had been taught as a child. I have to tell you, it was a lot of mental work. Satan has a way of planting seeds of doubt and confusion that is so subtle, that you don’t think much of it, until you are in the deep end.
In our Criminal Justice system, the defence counsel only need to prove that there is doubt in the crown’s argument to unravel a case, and to free the accused of his charges. In the case of our christian walk, one small doubt, is all I needed to question every tenet of what I had learnt about God. At 19, I questioned God’s very existence. The lie satan asked me is this, if the church is wrong about so many things, how do I know that there really is a God? I won’t answer that question today. However, my belief is that, that was how the Jewish men felt about Paul’s views on circumcision. Moses was the one that gave the Jewish people circumcision, and who is greater than Moses? Therefore, Paul’s apparent new age beliefs had no place with the Jews.
Whether the Jewish people believed in circumcision or whether the Gentiles abstained from circumcision, that was not the big picture. “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6). Satan, however was in the middle of this debate. Paul was placed in a position where he had to defend himself to two sects. Could the gentiles trust Paul since he might actually still believe in circumcision? So, Paul makes it very clear where he stood. He was still being persecuted by the Jews who thinks he is against circumcision which means, obviously Paul is is not preaching circumcision!
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Paul knew the truth. He defended himself because Christ came to die on the cross, for such a reason, “You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace” (Galatians 5:4). But, a little doubt in Paul is all the people needed to stop thinking about the big picture; which was the fact that Christ died and rose again. That is what is important.
I have been long winded in this article to say this: Questions has a way of turning our beliefs into doubts, and moving us away from the truth. When we stop focusing on the little details of religion, and look to God, our Father in Heaven, (who is dying to have a relationship with us- pun intended), and believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the biggest sacrifice ever made on earth, we can truly trust that NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.