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Thursday, August 29 2019

Contributor: Martins Olubiyi

Introduction: Last week we looked at the issue of freedom as it relates to the message of Paul found in his letter to the church of Galatia. Now that we know we are free in Christ; how do we live? If we are not to live in the circumcision of Law, how will others see us different from the world? How can we display our faith in Christ through the Spirit to others so they will know that we are different than the rest? Today by the grace of God we shall endeavour to provide answers to these questions as we continue in this lesson.

Aim: The aim of this study is to examine how to live in the liberty of Jesus. Using liberty to love each other and using liberty to walk in holy living.

How to live in the liberty of Jesus

  1. (Vs 13-15) Using Liberty to Love One Another

13 For you brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself”. 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

  1. For you, brethren, have been called to liberty: Paul writes to brethren. These are those who are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3: 26). These are those who were baptised into Christ and have put on Christ (Galatians 3: 27).
  2. These ones have been called to liberty. Paul reiterated on this point- the Christian life is a life of liberty. Jesus came to set the captives free, not to keep them in bondage or put them in bondage all over again. Freedom is the essence of being Christian. It is the fundamental basis of all Christian living. Now we are called to stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ Has made us free (Gal 5:1). Now the question is, “how will we use our liberty?”
  3. Only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh: Christians are to ensure that liberty is not used as an excuse to sin as they please, or say sorry, or “oh Lord please forgive me” and then go back doing whatever they want again. Moreover, we should not take the glorious freedom Jesus has given us and use it to please ourselves at the expenses of others. Liberty is the Spirit-given desire and ability to do what we should do before God. It should not be construed as the right to sin.
  4. But through love serve one another: This is the antidote for using liberty as an occasion for the flesh. The flesh expects others to conform to us and doesn’t care much about others. But when we through love serve one another, we conquer the flesh. This is the pattern set by Jesus. He had more liberty than anyone who ever walked this earth did. Nevertheless, He used His liberty to through love serve one another.
  5. For all the law is fulfilled: This attitude of service towards one another fulfils the great commandment (You shall love your neighbour as yourself), and it keeps us from destroying ourselves through strife (beware lest you be consumed by one another).
  6. Bite and devour one another: Believers should not use liberty as a platform to promote selfishness. Selfish people will eventually be consumed by one another. “The loveless life is a life lived on the level of animals, with a concern only for oneself, no matter what the cost to other people”- (Morris).

 2. (Vs 16-18) Using Liberty to Walk in Holy Living

16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

  • i. Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh: If we walk in the Spirit (instead of trying to live by the law), we naturally shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.  To walk in the Spirit means the Holy Spirit lives in you. It also means to be open and sensitive to the influence of the Holy Spirit. It also means to pattern your life after the influence of the Holy Spirit. Someone who walks in the Spirit will look a lot like Jesus. Jesus told us the mission of the Holy Spirit would be to promote and speak of Him (John 14: 16-17, 14: 26, 15: 26, 16: 13- 15). When someone walks in the Spirit, they listen to what the Holy Spirit says as He guides us in the path and nature of Jesus.
  • ii. And you shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh: There is no way anyone can fulfil the lust of the flesh as they walk in the Spirit. The two simply don’t go together. The Holy Spirit doesn’t move in us to gratify our fallen desires and passions, but to teach us about Jesus and to guide us in the path of Jesus. This is the key to righteous living- walking in the Spirit, not living under the dominion of the law.
  • iii. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: Walking in the Spirit is the key, but it doesn’t always come easily. It is a battle on inside the Christian and the battle is between the flesh and the Spirit. These are contrary to one another, in other words they don’t get along at all. When the flesh is winning the inside battle, you do not do the things that you wish. You don’t live the way you want to; you live under the flesh instead of under the Spirit. “The Greek word sarx is translated as flesh. “When Paul speaks of sarx he means all that man is and capable of as a sinful human being apart from the unmerited intervention of God’s Spirit in his life”- (Boice). The flesh is the inner man that exist apart from the “old man” or the “new man” and which is trained in rebellion by the old nature, the world and the devil. Even though the old man was crucified with Christ and is dead and gone (Rom 6:6), his influence lives on through the flesh, and he will battle against us until we experience God’s final antidote to the flesh: a resurrection body.
  • iv. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law: The antidote to the flesh is not found in the law, but in the Spirit. If you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. You don’t need to be, because you fulfil the will of God through the inner influence of the Holy Spirit instead of the outer influence of the law of God. When the flesh begins to show up, the only remedy is to take the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of salvation and fight against the flesh.

Conclusion: The triumphant Christian life is a life by the Spirit. It is to live in the liberty of Jesus. Our liberty must be used to love each other and not as an opportunity to sin. You as a believer must consciously walk in the Spirit and ensure that the words of God dwell in you richly so as not to fulfil the desires of the flesh.

Culled from Enduring Word Bible Commentary Galatians Chapter 5.

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 03:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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