Thursday, April 7, 2011

Christian Freedom

Dear Lord I pray that you send us your spirit to reveal to us your truths and write your will for us on our hearts using your spirit.

What is the Christian freedom? Are we really free to do as we please as some are teaching?

Gal 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. 
But what is the yoke of slavery?

Gal 5:2 Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. 
Gal 5:3 Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. 
Gal 5:4 You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. 
In verse 4 Paul explains that the yoke of slavery is the Law of Moses, and if we are trying to be justified by following the old law we are alienated from Christ because we have fallen away from grace.

So what are we to do?

Gal 5:5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. 
Gal 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

So the only thing which counts is faith expressing itself as Love? But what does that mean? Does that mean we are free to do as we please as Christians, and live any way we choose?

Gal 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature ; rather, serve one another in love. 
Gal 5:14 The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
Gal 5:15 If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

The word destroy in verse 15 is analiskō and it means:
1) to expend
a) to consume, e.g. spend money
2) to consume, use up, destroy
I read this as use up our energies to the point of exhaution so that we have nothing left to give.

So even though we are no longer to look to a list of rules and regulations to save ourselves, we are to refrain from sinning as Paul later illustrates more fully.

Gal 5:16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 
Gal 5:17 For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

Wait. So the Spirit compells us not to do what we otherwise would do, which is follow our sinful nature? So we who have the Spirit are at war with our bodies and our sinful nature.
So what is sinful nature?

Gal 5:19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 
Gal 5:20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 
Gal 5:21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Incidentally, the word debauchery or aselgeia means 1) unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence
But aside from refraining to sin, what is living by the Spirit?

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
Gal 5:23 gentleness and self‑control. Against such things there is no law. 
Gal 5:24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 
Gal 5:25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 
Gal 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

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