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When Believing Leads to Belonging

From the earliest days on earth, children tend to become like a sponge, soaking up everything they see and hear. When what adolescents come to believe deviates from the Bible, this is defined as an ungodly belief. In the film Rudy, following the death of his best friend, Rudy goes to a bus stop, about to leave for Notre Dame to follow his childhood dream. Afraid his son is about to make a big mistake, Rudy’s father tries to talk him out of going. Within the attached scene, Rudy is told about the limitations of the Ruettiger family lineage. Rudy is told he’s not big enough or smart enough and that he doesn’t belong at Notre Dame.

I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ (the Messiah) lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. 21 [Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace (unmerited favor) of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ (the Messiah) died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous,] Galatians 2:20-21.

The Church at Galatia had their own ungodly beliefs to overcome. However, this time adult Christians who could not let go of their Jewish upbringing would not let go of following the Torah. Subsequently, a religious sect known as the Judaizers were forcing Gentiles to become circumcised. As their doctrine developed over time, Judaizers were equating the act of circumcision with a necessary step to be saved. According to the apostle Paul, Barnabas and Peter were led astray by this teaching as they began to separate from non-Jewish Christians. This is not the type of belief consistent with Jesus’ teaching.

But now that the faith has come, we are no longer under a trainer (the guardian of our childhood). 26 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. 27 For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, the Anointed One, the Messiah] have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ. 28 There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male [b]and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus, Galatians 3:25-28.

One of the inspirations for writing Galtians is to address and correct this spiritual lie. The two passages above highlight the importance of faith. First, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Paul uses similar language in Colossians 3:1-9 where Christians are called to leave their old self and practices. Until human beings purge and put to death the addictions and bad habits of their past, belief in God is hard to maintain. However, as Christians begin to live by faith by putting on spiritual attributes of Jesus, a sense of belonging and purpose enters your life. When you join a church body, believing leads to belonging.

by Jay Mankus

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