Freedom in Christ is Not

Galatians 5:13-15 ESV

“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.”

Freedom in Christ is freedom from slavery to sin, not freedom to keep on in deliberate and habitual sin. Freedom in Christ is freedom to walk in holiness and righteousness in the power of God, not freedom to live however we want now that we think we are “saved” and bound for heaven. Freedom in Christ is freedom from man-made religion and true legalism, but it is not freedom from having to obey our Lord and his commands (New Covenant).

For man-made religion is not just Christians coming under the pressure to live like the Jews in having to follow all those old ceremonial, liturgical, sacrificial, and purification laws that the Jews had to follow. Man-made religion is anything that takes away from or that adds to the gospel that Jesus and his New Testament apostles taught. So that includes the half-truth gospel which makes no demands for repentance or walks of obedience to Christ, and in some cases even demonizes the truth of the gospel.

So, we aren’t free to sin as much as we want or to not have to obey our Lord’s commands (New Covenant). For when we sin, we are not only sinning against God, which is bad enough, but our sins are either directly against others, to do them willful harm, if deliberate, or they do impact our relationships with others in one way or another. And we are to love one another with a love which comes from God which prefers what God prefers, which is what is morally pure, honest, kind to others, and faithful, etc.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23]

Galatians 5:16-18 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.”

Our walk is our lifestyle, the things we practice day in and day out, our habits, our way of life, and our conduct, but it also includes and is influenced by what is stored up in our hearts, by our attitudes, and by what we truly believe, not just by what we say we believe, for actions speak louder than words. Actions tell the story of what we truly believe, for we can say we love Jesus, but if we do not obey him, then we don’t really love him.

So, if we are walking by the Spirit, then it should show that our thinking, our believing, our attitudes, our words, and our actions are generally (not necessarily perfectly) and habitually going to line up with what agrees with the Spirit of God and what is in line with God’s will and purpose for our lives, according to the written word of God. So, they will represent what is holy, righteous, godly, upright, morally pure, honest, and faithful, etc.

So, if this (the above) is how we walk (in conduct, in practice), then we will not gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh, because our minds and our hearts are set on obeying the Lord and on living holy lives which are pleasing to him, and we will not want to sin, but we will desire to please our Lord in all that we do and say and are, not just because we must, but because we love him.

But if we are filling our time and our minds and ears and eyes with the junk of this world, and with what is evil and immoral, then we are already sinning against the Lord, and we are going to be tempted to sin even more, and we will probably yield to that sin, for that is what we are consuming, and that is what our minds are set on, not on God, and not on righteousness and holiness and moral purity and honesty, etc.

In other words, we can’t be engaged in what is contrary to the Spirit and expect to not yield to the flesh. We can’t spend our free time watching TV shows and movies and videos which glorify the flesh and which promote sinful practices and expect it not to then trickle down into our attitudes and our actions. We are what we do, not what we say we are. Our actions define us, especially if they are our practice.

Okay, now to address verse 18. In context, Paul is addressing the issue of the Judaizers who were trying to get the Christians to be circumcised and to follow some of the Old Covenant ceremonial (et al) laws. We aren’t under that law. But the rest of what he taught here makes it clear that does not mean we are to be lawless. Thus, forsaking and rejecting legalism is not liberty to keep living in deliberate and habitual sin against God and against other humans. Being led by the Spirit, therefore, involves us forsaking our sins and obeying our Lord.

Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

“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.”

Sometimes if you mention the word “sin” generically some people don’t really pay attention to what that means or they will come up with their own definition of what sin is, and so it is good if we can define what sin is. For, many people engaged in sinful behaviors have a tendency to rationalize, to justify, and to excuse away their sinful behaviors by calling them something else. Many people don’t even use the word sin anymore. If they do admit sin, they lessen it to “I messed up,” which can be like spilling a glass of milk.

Now, this takes this discussion of sin a step further. Not only does it let us know what sin is, what it looks like, and that it is wrong, and that it hurts others, and that we are not free to sin, but we are free to not sin, it lets us know that if sin (such sins as listed here) is our practice, we are to be warned that we will not inherit the kingdom of God. We will not be saved from our sins, and heaven will not be our eternal destiny. Hell will be.

So, please take this to heart. This is not the only passage that says this. There are many, some of which I will refer to here. Please look these up, and the other ones listed above, for many of them give the same message. If sin is what we practice, and if righteousness is not what we practice, and if obedience is not what we practice, then will not go to heaven when we die no matter what we professed with our lips or think we believe.

[Lu 9:23-26; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 1:28-32; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-11; Rom 6:16; Rom 8:3-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 10:26-31; 1 Pet 1:17-21; Jn 15:1-11; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Matt 7:21-23]

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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