Here is one of the more over-interpreted Epistle readings, and the fact is that it is really very straightforward. For all of the extra “stuff” some might want to add, the answer is simply to use the protection you have been given to keep yourself from danger.
Understand that sin is really about, and you’ll understand. We don’t want to replace something that’s worth the effort with some “quickie” that only brings brief gratification.
Let’s begin at the ending. Why? Some of us are known for taking a peek at the end of a novel to see how the story ends! Why not? It gives us some idea of what to look forward to, and perhaps a glimpse of the fate of certain characters. And since people are trying to persuade us to follow what’s in this book, we need to know who it ends.
The gate is open wider than some would have you believe.
In college, I learned quickly that if a professor repeats a point again and again, I’d be seeing it again, on an examination and perhaps in real life! And once again, the writer of the epistle places emphasis on what it is we are going to gain by completing all of this.
He also mentions the love of Christ, which “passeth knowledge”. This is a concept for us to understand, because it shows something waiting for us beyond our current comprehension.
CONTROVERSY ALERT! I feel tempted to add that because the lesson in today’s Epistle is almost identical to one we face today. In Paul’s day, some people were trying to pressure the Galatians to accept circumcision, even though Peter’s encounter with the centurion Cornelius proved it unnecessary.
Paul’s point here is telling people to stop being hung up on what is no longer necessary, and focus on the current reality of salvation through spirit.