Galatians 5 - Spirit vs. Flesh

Galatians 5:1 - "For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." There's so much power in this statement. Do not submit to a yoke of slavery. Slavery of performance, Slavery of perfection. Slavery of doing the right thing. Slavery of making the right choice. Slavery of finding the right way. Slavery of working to become worthy.

God has chosen us, bought us for a price. He's already said we are worthy, set a price on us that's higher than we would have paid. So why do we think we have to prove ourselves?

Galatians 5:7 - All this talk against the law, against circumcision and here he asks "Who hindered you from obeying the truth?" What is this talk about obedience if the law is nothing? We are still called to obey, the question is why do we obey and what? Do we obey from a call to duty, out of a desire to please Him who has already shown His pleasure with us? Or, do we obey because of the love he has already lavished on us? Do we obey the failed rules and laws of old that did nothing to truly sanctify those who followed them or do we obey the call to simple faith in a God who became man to rescue us?

Galatians 5:16-24 - For so long I lived and preached this section (verses 19-21 particularly) as law, rules to live by. Her was the list of don'ts (oh yeah, and some dos in verses 22-23) to avoid. This is how you live as a disciple of Jesus, here's how it works.

But I missed the 4 1/2 chapters proceeding it. For 4 1/2 chapters Paul railed on living by the law, by the dos and don'ts, going as far here in Galatians 5:4 to say that those who follow that path are "severed from Christ, ... fallen away from grace.".

Paul here is contrasting living by the spirit, which leads to the acts of the spirit, with living by the flesh which produces these (and other)acts of sin. He's calling them, not to do their best to eliminate these sins and incorporate these acts of righteousness, but to live by the spirit.

We like the rules, they're easy. Do this, don't do that. Instead, Paul says look to Jesus and don't worry about what to do. If you truly seek to follow him, the spirit will take care of your transformation. You will naturally move toward the acts of the spirit and leave the acts of the sinful nature. but we don't trust the spirit, it seems to ethereal or mystical. We want a plan of attack, something we can do to better ourselves. But faith says that we can never better ourselves enough and puts our betterment in His hands.

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I think that's a great point. That it's not about the do nots but about the freedom to do as Christ would do. Now to do it in my own life and with my kids. It's easier to say don't do that to the kids but to show them the right way I actually have to get up and do it. That takes more work.



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  • I think that's a great point. That it's not about the do nots but about the freedom to do as Christ would do. Now to do it in my own life and with my kids. It's easier to say don't do that to the kids but to show them...

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