TUESDAY, OCTOBER 9
SCRIPTURE: GALATIANS 5
BY: Jeremy Witt
Our chapter today brings us to the topic of freedom in Christ. This is an abused, overlooked, and unknown topic to many today. I truly do not know who first said this quote, so I can’t give credit, but it is a great one. “With great freedom comes greater responsibility.” Our Lord gives us freedom in Him, but with that freedom comes a big responsibility on our part so that we do not abuse it, overlook it, or simply ignore it and allow ourselves to be bound to the Law again. This is where we are in chapter 5.
Paul tells us not to be bound or tied up to the Law again in verse 1 and that we must stay free. He attacks circumcision in verse 2, attacks earning God’s favor and following all the Law in the verse 3. Verse 4 tells us that this path cuts us off from Christ. OUCH! In the New American Standard, it tells us that those who adhere to the Law have “fallen away from grace.” Keep in mind the context of verses 2-3 refer to trusting in circumcision and obeying the Law as opposed to trusting in Christ. This person was never saved in the first place if they trusted in the Law and circumcision, so do not be confused. They trusted in themselves and in their religion. Or they tried to trust in both the Law and grace, which is impossible. We can only be saved by justification (to be made right with God) by faith in the LORD Jesus. Justification by the Law is never mentioned in Scripture but is always through faith. Go read Galatians 5:6 for clarification.
Paul brings it back to the Galatians in verse 7 and following and asks, “what happened?” Verse 9, Paul uses the word leaven or yeast. If you recall Jesus did this several times referring to the Pharisees and their demand to adhere to the Law. Do you see a connection? In verse 10, Paul encourages them that he believes that they will do what they were taught in the first place.
Verse 12 is a verse where I think Paul used shock value to get the reader’s attention by referring to circumcision as mutilation. To the Jews who were calling for circumcision as necessary for salvation, this was more than insulting, and I don’t think Paul cared. Maybe I have a twisted sense of humor, but I think Paul had a smile on his face as he wrote this imagining their faces.
Paul begins his warning regarding freedom in verses 13-26. Don’t take this as an opportunity for the flesh. Paul then quotes the 2nd greatest commandment in verse 14. Our freedom must not affect others, which carries out implications to us far beyond the immediate. I may have freedom to do something, but if anything I do causes you trouble or to stumble, then I must not exercise that freedom. I’ll let the Holy Spirit speak to you on what means specifically for you.
As a believer we are at war within ourselves constantly. The battle between our flesh and the Spirit of God is at war. Who will we feed? Will it be our flesh? Then it will be easy to give in but sinful and disobedient to the LORD. Verses 19-21 speak directly to our fleshly sins. Will it be the Holy Spirit within us (only Christ followers have the Spirit within us)? Then it will be difficult but we will be obedient and honor the LORD. Anyone who says that being a Christian is easy has not applied God’s word nor tried to live by it! Yes, that includes several popular speakers today. You can’t do it on your own. Only by living in the Spirit can we do this!
Let me say this as well. You will mess up. You are not perfect. You will fail. So should we not try? NO! Remember these words which I wrote down from our SoulCon book that several men are going through. “Repent everyday. No matter how good or bad yesterday was, we have to take up our cross to follow Jesus (daily and sometimes hourly). We have to deny our self.” “When you fail, it doesn’t define your heart. Repent and confess to the Father.”
“You have to start looking at your failures as reminders of our need for Jesus our Savior.” Don’t give up, don’t ever give up! Choose to take up your cross right now.
Verses 22-25 speak to the fruits or results of living by the Spirit. I am sure that you have read these many times, so I will not dive into these.
Verse 26 again brings it back to our freedom in Christ. We must not boast or become conceited. We must not provoke or challenge one another. We must not envy or be jealous of one another. Our freedom in Christ demands us to be responsible.
“With great freedom comes greater responsibility.”