Galatians 5:1, 13-15 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…
For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
Anytime that I have read through the Books of Law in the Old Testament, I have felt eternally grateful that I was born under the times of the New Covenant, and not under the Old Covenant. For they had all these rules and regulations to follow about just about everything. They had ceremonial laws and purification laws, and the men had to be circumcised, etc.
None of this saved anyone, mind you, for they were saved by faith, too, but they still had to abide by all these things that they had to do, which God required, because obedience to the Lord was part of saving faith back then, too. For, the Lord associated unbelief back then with disobedience, just like he does now (See: Heb. 4:6-11; Heb. 5:9; 1 John 2:3-6; Rom. 6:16).
So, when the New Covenant came, God did away with all those old ceremonial regulations, and believers in Jesus Christ were not required to follow all of those. But, he never did away with his moral laws. In fact, he reinforced them over and over again in the New Testament, and he also summarized them into two commandments – to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
But, there were people back then as there are today who tried to bring the believers back under slavery to these ceremonial laws, which had been done away with. But, for those of us who were never under that, we weren’t delivered from that in the same way. But, we were under slavery to sin, and Jesus did free us from that bondage, and we are not to go back under a yoke of slavery to sin or to legalism, both of which are of the flesh.
For, freedom in Christ is not freedom to indulge in the flesh, either through legalistic requirements that have no impact on anyone’s salvation, or through liberalism which says that we can live however we want and still be saved. Both of these are of the flesh and are not of God. But, if we follow the law of love, we will walk in the freedom that God has given to us.
Galatians 5:16-21 ESV
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
So, even though the new believers in Jesus Christ back then were now free from under the bondage to all those ceremonial and purification laws, and circumcision was no longer required, they were not free from God’s moral laws to go out and sin all they wanted. For, if they practiced these things listed here, they were warned that they would not inherit eternal life with God, no matter what profession of faith they made with regard to Jesus Christ.
And, added to that, we read in Romans 8 that the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk, not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For, it says, that if we conduct our lives in this way, according to the flesh, and we make a practice of such sins, we will die in our sins, not have eternal life with God (See: Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 6:7-8).
For, freedom in Christ is not freedom to practice sin or to live however we want. That is slap in the face to Jesus Christ who suffered and died a painful death so that we might be free from that slavery to sin, and so we can now walk according to the Spirit, and so we no longer live to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh.
Yesterday we read John 8:12 which says that if we follow (obey) Jesus Christ, we “will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” And now today we read Galatians 5:16 which says that if we walk by the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh. They are both saying the same thing.
Basically, if we follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his Word, and we do what he says to do, and we don’t do what he says not to do, and we make this our practice, in the power of God’s Spirit within us, we will not conduct our lives in sin. We won’t live to gratify the desires of the flesh.
The reason so many people today, including many professing Christians, struggle with sinful addictions is because their lives are not given over to Jesus Christ to walk in his ways and in his truth, but their lives are given over to gratifying the desires of their flesh, instead. And, the Spirit is going to battle against the flesh. And, the one that will win out is the one we give the most attention and allegiance to.
So, if we want victory over sin and the assurance that we have eternal life with God in heaven, we must forsake our former lives of living to sin and self, and we must surrender our lives to Jesus Christ to follow him in his ways. Not saying we will never sin again, but if we walk in the ways of the Lord, we will not walk in the darkness. It is just simple mathematics.
Galatians 5:22-26 ESV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
When we walk according the Spirit and no longer according to our flesh, then the fruit we will produce consistently, as a matter of course, will be this fruit of the Spirit.
Again, this is not saying we will never sin again or that we will live perfect lives from this point forward. For, our salvation is a process of sanctification, and we will always be growing, learning, maturing and changing as daily we, by the Spirit, are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we are putting on the armor of God to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us.
But, lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for willful and persistent sins against God. For, those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
But, again, there are many people out there today within the gatherings of the church who would have you to believe that your freedom in Christ is merely freedom from the punishment of your sin, but that you don’t have to repent of your sins, and you don’t have to obey Jesus Christ. But, this is just not biblical! For, our freedom in Christ is freedom from slavery to sin, and it is freedom to walk by the Spirit in the power of the Spirit within us.
So, don’t get caught up in the lies which tell you that you can pray a prayer or make a profession of Christ as Savior of your life and that you have eternal life with God guaranteed while you continue in your sinful lifestyles. This passage of scripture alone nullifies that notion, as do many others.
If we walk in sin, we will die in our sins. If we walk according to the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of our flesh, and we will have eternal life with God. So, know the truth, and live the truth, for the truth will set you free (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
Awaken the Dawn
An Original Work / January 15, 2013
Based off Psalm 57 (NIV 1984)
O my God, have mercy on me!
In the Lord, my soul takes refuge.
In the shadow of Your wings, Lord,
I find shelter till the storms pass.
I cry out to my God Most High.
He fulfills His purpose for me.
He sent His Son to die for me,
So I could be saved.
I am in the midst of lions;
Men whose teeth are spears and arrows;
Whose tongues are sharp; words accusing.
They spread a net, my feet to catch.
They dug a pit, in hopes I’d fall.
O God, be exalted o’er all.
Let Your glory shine to all men,
So they may be saved.
Steadfast is my heart, O my God;
I will sing of all Your wonders.
Awake, my soul! Sing praise to God!
Early I will rise and praise Him!
I’ll praise God among the nations;
I will sing among the peoples.
God’s love reaches to the heavens,
So we may be saved.
Wednesday, January 16, 2019