“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.” Galatians 5:13-15 ESV
Jesus Christ died on that cross a long time ago that we might die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for Him who gave his life up for us; that we might leave our old lives of living for sin and self to now follow our Lord in obedience to his will for our lives (1 Pet. 2:24; Rom. 6:1-23; 2 Co. 5:15; Eph. 4:17-24).
He set us free from the “law of sin and death,” and he set us free from the punishment of sin and from our slavery to sin, too. So, this freedom that he provided for us is not freedom to give opportunity to the flesh. It is not freedom to keep on in willful sinful practices without guilt and without remorse. Yet, many people view it that way exactly.
For, to love God is to obey his commandments, and to love others is to not sin against them. And it is to do good to them, as God defines good, which is to do for them what is healthful and beneficial to them, as God defines healthful and beneficial, and to not do to them what will cause them harm. For, if we do evil to others, we are not acting in love to God or to them.
“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.” Galatians 5:16-18 ESV
If we want to not gratify the desires of our sinful flesh, then we need to walk by the Spirit. And, this means that we make righteousness, holiness, purity, honesty, and the like, our habit, our practice, by the Spirit of God. For, one cancels out the other, since they are opposed to each other, meaning that if we follow our Lord in obedience then we are not going to live for our flesh.
But, also we need to see here that the Spirit is against the flesh and the flesh is against the Spirit. So, Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to free us from the punishment of sin while leaving us still under slavery to sin. He didn’t free us so we could continue in sinful practices without guilt. The Spirit of God has always been and still is opposed to our sinful flesh.
So, what is meant here by “law,” and how does that fit with “law” mentioned in this first section of scripture?
The law is fulfilled in one word (command), which is for us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and through love we are to serve one another, not sin against one another. So, the “law” that we are NOT under is the “law of sin and death.” And, it is the Old Testament ceremonial and purification laws. But, we are not free from God’s moral laws, for he reinforces those over and over again in the New Testament.
“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.” Galatians 5:19-21 ESV
Too many professers of faith in Jesus Christ these days are living just like this, making these things their practice. Some have tried, in the flesh, to conquer their sinful habits unsuccessfully, while others haven’t tried at all. Pride stands in the way of their ability to be victorious over their sinful practices as well as does the lusts of their flesh.
Their minds are set on the flesh. Many of them have enormous fleshly (lustful) appetites which they are never able to fully satisfy, and so they keep going after more and more, taking it up a notch here and there in order to make it more exciting to their flesh. They have to change it up occasionally to keep it interesting and to give them that “high” they desire.
But, they still want to hold on to the hope of eternal life with God, and so they end up adopting another gospel which gives them the freedom to keep on in their sinful practices without guilt and without feeling any requirement to have to change their behaviors at all.
For, that gospel makes no demands for purity, honesty, faithfulness, holiness and godliness, but it coddles them in their sins, instead, and gives them free reign to sin as much as they want.
That other gospel, thus, is like “another lover.” They are having a romantic affair with this other gospel, in other words, for it isn’t like their spouse or like God who want them to be faithful, honest, pure and to not lie and to not commit adultery. For, it lies to them and it comforts them in their sin, and it makes them feel good even while they continue in their sinful habits.
So, they then end up ignoring the bulk of the teachings in the New Testament on the subjects of sin, righteousness, judgment, and salvation. And, they turn their backs on the truth, for they want to believe the lies instead.
So, they won’t listen to what this says here. But, that doesn’t change the truth of it. For, it says that if we make these sins our practice that we will NOT inherit eternal life with God. Do you believe that? Does your lifestyle show that you believe this? (See Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
“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.” Galatians 5:22-24 ESV
If we are under the control of the Spirit of God, and if we are no longer under the control of our sinful flesh, then the fruit of the Spirit should be evident in our lives, and the fruit of the flesh should be waning.
Daily we should be dying to sin and self and putting off the misdeeds of our flesh, by the Spirit. And, daily we should be resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God in full assurance of faith.
Sin should no longer be what we practice. It should not be our habit, our addiction, for Jesus delivered us from our slavery to sin. For, if we are walking by the Spirit, we will not be fulfilling the desires of our flesh.
It doesn’t mean we will never sin, though, but that sin is no longer our master, but Jesus is now our Lord. And, since he is our Master, the fruit of His Spirit should be evidenced in our lives in our daily walks of faith.
And, the reason for this is that, if we belong to Christ, we have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, and they no longer are what rule our lives. We no longer live for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts, but we now live for our Lord, to obey his commands. And, this is a daily walk.
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”