The last two chapters of Galatians illustrate the contrast between those who put all the emphasis in their living (to observe the Law of Moses) and those who belong to Christ, for “in Christ Jesus”, writes Paul, “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love” (5:6). We are generally not affected by any advocating adherence to the law and circumcision today. When writing to the Colossians Paul advised “… Let no one pass judgement on you in questions of food or drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath” (2:16).

Our salvation does not depend on the observation of rules or days, other than the simplicity and wonder of remembering that Christ died for us. Baptised believers are to meet in remembrance of his death in the way Jesus instituted. By meeting to partake of bread and wine (Luke 22:14-20) we remember “the new covenant in my blood” replaces the old under the law of Moses. There is no command about which day of the week this was to be observed, but initially believers met “day by day … breaking bread in their homes” (Acts 2:41,46). Acts 20:7 tells us that they met to break bread on “the first day of the week” – but there is no command about this.

Paul told the Galatians they should be “led by the Spirit, you are not under the law” (5:18) and that “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (verses 22,23). To produce good fruit a tree needs pruning, tending, watering, and protection from predators. There is a parallel to this in the spiritual realm if we are to produce spiritual fruit. The next verses say, “And those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires”. This does not happen automatically, we need to feed on God’s word every day and to pray. Paul told the Colossians, “we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit …” (1:9,10).