October 27 – Freedom in Christ – Galatians 5
Paul is encouraging the Galatian church to reject the false gospel of being justified by the works of the Law. He tells them to “stand fast” in the true gospel of Jesus Christ, and the liberty that Christ brings. Paul challenges them to stay away from the bondage (false gospel) from which they had been freed. In verse 13, he points out the danger of using this freedom or liberty to fulfill the lust of the flesh. There are many today that view the Bible as a book full of “don’ts.” These same people use verse 18 to justify rejecting Biblical commands, God’s law. But verses 16-26 never condones disobedience to the Bible. In reality, it places more extensive guidelines than is mentioned in Scripture by showing the importance of following the Holy Spirit’s leading. The Holy Spirit will never lead in contradiction to the Bible, but will demand more out of the person devoted to following Him. Yes, Christ has given us freedom from not following the Old Testament ceremonial law, but the laws regarding our relationship to God and our fellow man is still in effect.
The fruits of the Spirit are sometimes mis-applied to our lives. Our desire and motives should not be to perform the fruits of the Spirit, so that we can say we are led by the Spirit. Our desire and motives should be to follow the Spirit . . . period! The by-product or result of being led by the Holy Spirit can be seen by the manifestation of the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. One cannot force the fruits of the Spirit and claim to be led by the Spirit.