What Kind of Persuasion?

For Freedom
Galatians 5:1 NIV

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Jesus Christ died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. This is the essence of the gospel message. He died on that cross to deliver us, to set us free from slavery (addiction) to sin, so that we might walk in his holiness in victory over sin.

When we truly trust in him to be our Lord and Savior, we die with him to sin, and we are resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Thus, we should stand firm in our faith, and not allow ourselves to come back underneath a yoke of slavery to sin.

Alienated from Christ
Galatians 5:2-6 NIV

Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

Yet, this freedom is not just freedom from sin, but it is also freedom from man-made religion and works-based salvation. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. No amount of good works will ever be good enough to secure for ourselves eternal life with God.

But, there is a flip-side to this, too. Just as we cannot add works of the flesh to the requirements God has established for our salvation, we also cannot remove from our salvation anything which God requires. Either one is still man-made religion, created by humans, and a departure from God’s plan.

Notice here that it says that the only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love, or faith effectually working through love, from beginning to end.

This faith is divine persuasion, i.e. being persuaded by God as to his will for our lives. And, this love is agape love, which is God-like love, which prefers what God prefers, i.e. what is righteous, holy, godly, pure, truthful, etc. Thus, this faith is a gift from God. We cannot even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless the Father first draws us to Christ. This faith, in other words, is supernatural, not of human origin. Thus, it, too, submits to God’s purposes and his will for us, meaning it dies to sin and lives to righteousness.

So, if we seek to be justified either by works of the flesh, or by human faith which does not submit to God, and which does not die with him to sin so that it might live with him to righteousness, we have been alienated from Christ and we have fallen from grace. For God’s grace instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.

Running the Race
Galatians 5:7-12 NIV

You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” I am confident in the Lord that you will take no other view. The one who is throwing you into confusion, whoever that may be, will have to pay the penalty. 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. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!

If we add works of the flesh on to our salvation, or if we adopt a salvation message that is of the flesh, and not of God, then we are not obeying the truth. And, it is of the flesh if it teaches that our salvation from sin is brought about by a mere acknowledgment of who Jesus Christ is and a mere acceptance of his forgiveness of sins, but it does not teach that our salvation means death to sin and living to righteousness.

The kind of persuasion that comes from the one who calls us is divine persuasion toward godliness, holiness, righteousness, honor, truthfulness, morality, and purity, etc. This results in genuine faith, and a transformed life of the Spirit of God. The kind that comes from the devil and from his messengers says that we don’t have to turn from our sins and we don’t have to obey Jesus Christ, and we can remain addicted to sin, especially sexual sin, and still have forgiveness of sins and the hope of eternal life with God.

Those who are preaching the truth, that salvation means we die with Christ to sin so that we might live with Christ to righteousness, are the ones who are being persecuted. And, they are being persecuted because the cross (death to sin) is an offense to those who are perishing, and it is an offense to those who are trying to win over the people of the world via clever lies and deception, too. That is why they are persecuting the Lord’s servants and messengers, because they are the ones exposing the lies and telling the truth.

Flesh and Spirit
Galatians 5:13-21 NIV

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. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Our freedom in Christ is NOT freedom to continue in willful sin addiction, without guilt, while still claiming heaven as our eternal destiny. When we sin against others, we do them harm, and willfully harming others is prompted by hate, not by love. If we say we love God and that we love others, and yet we willfully and habitually do what is harmful to others, we do not love God or other humans.

Men, no matter how much you tell your wives you love them, if you are regularly giving in to the temptation to view porn, that is not love. It is adultery, and it is hate. It proves, not only that you don’t care that you are hurting, betraying, using, lying to and committing adultery against your spouses, and that you are being utterly selfish, but that you are actually knowingly working against your spouses and your marriages. You have made yourselves into enemies of God and of your spouses by knowingly and willfully doing what you know is going to destroy the ones you claim to love.

But, if we walk (in lifestyle, in daily practice) by the Spirit of God, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For, it is those who are being led by the Spirit of God who are the true children of God, not those who make a mere profession of faith in Jesus Christ. For, if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, not have the hope of heaven when we leave this earth.

Fruit of Spirit
Galatians 5:22-26 NIV

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

If the Spirit of God dwells within us, by divinely persuaded faith, which is of God, then the outgrowth (fruit, produce) of the Spirit of God will be evident in our lives, as well. The more we yield our lives over to the Lord, and the more we fill our minds and hearts with the things of God, and we walk in obedience to his word, and to his ways, and we put to death the deeds of the flesh, the more this fruit will be evident in our lives.

This is not saying that we will never sin or that we are no longer capable of sin, for if that were true, we would not have all these warnings in scripture written to the church, and all these instructions written to Christians as to what they must put out of their lives and as to what they must put on. As long as we live in flesh bodies, we will still be tempted to sin, and we will still have a propensity toward sin. BUT, because Jesus put sin to death on that cross, we can walk in freedom from slavery to sin. Sin is no longer our master. We are mighty conquerors through faith in Jesus Christ. Amen!

I Pray for Them
An Original Work / June 4, 2013

Based off John 17

“Glorify Your Son, that Your Son
May glorify our God in heav’n.
Father, You granted Him all power
And all authority over men,
That He might give eternal life
To all those whom now
You have given Him.”

“This now then is eternal life:
That they may know You,
Father, and Your Son;
That they may know the only true God,
And Jesus Christ whom the Father sent.
I have brought You the glory by
Finishing the work that You’ve given Me.”

“I have shown You to those whom
You gave to Me out of the world;
They were Yours. You gave them to Me
And they have obeyed Your words
And they accepted them. They knew
That I came from You, and they believed
With certainty, I was sent.”

“Holy Father, I pray for them by the
Power of Your name: Protect them,
So that they may be one as we are,
For they are still living in this world.
I have given them Your word;
Because of Your word, the world
Has hated them.”

“I pray they may have the full measure of
My joy now living within them.
Father, I pray You sanctify them
By Your word; truly Your word is truth.
As You sent Me into the world,
I send them to tell the world to repent.”

Monday, March 19, 2018, 6:11 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. I pray you make them real to our hearts.

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