Galatians 5:1 NASB
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.
We who believe in Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior of our lives, were called to freedom from slavery to sin and from man-made religion. Therefore, we are neither to add on to God’s grace nor are we to subtract from his grace.
Legalism was once a huge hindrance to spiritual growth. Now the pendulum has swung the other direction, and libertinism is the huge hindrance to our walks of faith with Jesus Christ. For, many people these days are teaching a half-truth gospel which sanitizes the true gospel in order to make it more appealing to human flesh, and less offensive.
So, if we return to trying to earn our own salvation, via works of the flesh, in the flesh, or to walking in sin, according to the flesh, thinking we are free to do that now, without guilt, then we must know that either path is NOT walking in freedom, according to the teachings of scripture.
So, since Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, we are to walk in the freedom that he has given to us to die daily to sin and to daily live to him and to his righteousness, for this is truly what our freedom means (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Who Hindered You?
Galatians 5:7-12 NASB
You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.
If we are truly in Christ Jesus, by genuine faith in him, we believed in him with childlike faith, divinely persuaded of God as to his will and purposes for our lives. We submitted our lives to God, surrendered to his will and purposes, and yielded our lives to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Thus, we died with Christ to sin and we were raised with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
We were “born again” of the Spirit of God, transformed in heart and mind away from living in sin to walking with Christ in his holiness and in obedience to his commands (to his instructions to us). So, we began well, by walking according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh.
But, since we still live in flesh bodies, we are still susceptible to the temptations of the flesh, so we must guard our hearts in Christ Jesus from being vulnerable to temptation so that we are not easily persuaded to go back to those old ways.
For, there are many things and people which or who will tempt us to stray from our pure devotion to Christ, and will try to get us to return to walking by the flesh, instead of by the Spirit. So, we must be on our guard, daily resisting Satan, and fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God.
For the Flesh
Galatians 5:13-15 NASB
For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
God’s grace to us is not a free license to continue in willful sin against God free from guilt and remorse. Yes, we are forgiven of our sins, if truly we are in him, by genuine faith in him. But, we are not free to keep indulging in sinful behaviors. Jesus delivered us from our slavery (addictions) to sin so that we could now walk in that freedom and in victory over Satan.
If we do sin, we confess and repent of the sin, and we keep walking by faith in the Spirit of God and in holiness, all in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us. And, we make no provision for the flesh. We, instead, cut out of our lives those things which lead us to sin against God.
For, God’s grace, which brings salvation, 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 soon return (Tit. 2:11-14).
But, we don’t just put off evil deeds, but we put on love. If we have been stealing, we work with our hands, and then we give to others as they have need. If we have been lying to others, then we now make it our practice to always tell the truth. If we have been committing adultery against our spouses via porn, or lusting after others, or via having extramarital romantic or sexual affairs, etc., then we need to cut off all those relationships. But, then we also need to pursue our spouses and love them as we ought to love them, as Christ loves us and gave his life up for us.
Walk by The Spirit
Galatians 5:16-26 NASB
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.
Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God (Rom. 8:14). If we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins, but if, by the Spirit, we are walking according to the Spirit, and we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live with Christ for eternity (Rom. 8:1-17).
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7-8).
So, if we are walking (in lifestyle, the way we conduct our lives) by the Spirit, then we won’t be carrying out the desires of the flesh. This is not saying we will never sin, but that we will not be those who make sin our practice. We won’t live in sin. For, if we make sin our practice, we will not inherit eternal life, even if we prayed a sinner’s prayer one day, and even if we have made a profession of Christ as Savior of our lives.
If we are truly walking according to the Spirit, then a different kind of fruit should be central in our walks of faith, other than that produced by our flesh. Now, what should be evident in our lives is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.
But, this is all a process of sanctification in our lives. Daily we die to sin and self. Daily we put on the armor of God. Daily we resist Satan and flee temptation and we yield to the Spirit of God. And, some days we may fail. But, the longer we walk in freedom, and the more we flee temptation and we obey our Lord, the more our lives will be given over to Christ, and the less that our flesh will be able to have any influence in our lives.
So, we need to allow the Spirit of God to take us deeper into putting our absolute faith and trust in our Lord in all areas of our lives, to where we truly yield every aspect and every situation of our lives over to the Holy Spirit’s control, and to where we keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not on the waves crashing all around us. And, it is here that we will truly know peace.
Oceans / Hillsong United
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior…
Tuesday, May 22, 2018, 6:00 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from your word, and for all the encouragement it offers us in our walks of faith with you, one day and one moment at a time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.