“Live your life as your spiritual nature directs you. Then you will never follow through on what your corrupt nature wants. … They are opposed to each other. (Galatians 5:16-17 GW)
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25 ESV)
This meditation is Part 5 of a 6-part series on Galatians. Part 1, “No Other Gospel,” is available here. Part 2, “Crucified With Christ,” is here. Part 3, “Law and Promise,” is here. Part 4, “Born of the Free Woman,” is here.
I AM FREE!
WOW! YES, I AM!
Free to be me, free to laugh, free to dance, free to say whatever I want. No chains to bind me, no tasks to complete, no master to please.
I am my own man (or woman) …
… and who are you to say any differently?
How does “my thing” (whatever it might be) in any way harm you, keep you from being you, doing your own thing, get in your way.
I’m not hurting anyone. So. Leave. Me. Alone!
Does that litany strike home? It does for me.
I can remember those youthful collegiate and graduate school days spent pouring over books, writing term papers, making new friends, dreaming big dreams, and just thoroughly enjoying being a young adult.
Except that I wasn’t really free at all, not by a long shot.
I was a slave to my sinful nature, but I was unaware of it. I had no clue. I imagine that put me in some pretty stellar company. There are a lot of people who have no clue how beholden they are to the pull of their sinful nature. Sadly, many of them are Christians … or, at least, church-goers … let’s call them “church-ers.”
Because of God’s grace, that would change. The voice of Jesus Christ would penetrate the surrounding fog: “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I [Jesus] came that they [men and women] may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10 NASB, emph. mine)
THE APOSTLE PAUL writes to us in Galatians, Chapter 5, to live our lives not according to the will of the flesh, but of the Spirit of God. He reminds us that those two spirits — that of God and that of the flesh — exist in tension within us. They compete against one another.
One spirit leads us into darkness, lies, and slavery, while the other frees us from bondage and leads us into the light — the only place where we truly can be free.
It’s easy to tell the two spirits apart, Paul reminds us; in fact, He tells us “the acts of the flesh are obvious” (Galatians 5:19 NIV): among them are sexual immorality, impurity, debauchery, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, and so many others.
Then, he warns us that “those who live like this,” that is, those men and women who are unrepentant in their hearts, who have not come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, who persist in living in the bondage of their sin, those people, he says, “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21 NIV).
WE DON’T HAVE TO LIVE like that.
Jesus told us in His earthly ministry that He had a better message: “Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 CSB)
He told us if we listen to His words and build our lives on solid ground, His grace and mercy would help us withstand the storms of life, and, yes, those storms surely would come. (Matthew 7:24-25)
“Then you will know the truth,” Jesus said, “and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 BSB)
LOS FRUTOS DEL ESPIRITU
Amor, Gozo, Paz, Paciencia, Benignidad, Bondad,
Fidelidad, Mansedumbre, Dominio Propio.
Contra tales no hay ley. — Gálatas 5:22-23
Those who, in Paul’s words, “belong to Christ Jesus,” are set free from the bondage of sin. “They have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24 ESV)
Of course, remaining sinful beings, we will continue to commit sins, but we no longer will live in sin or be attached to or enslaved by sin (1 John 3:6 ESV).
And what are the signs of that Spirit, the Spirit of God’s holy grace? Paul says: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23 ESV)
Against that Spirit, he says, “there is no law,” that is, the Old Testament law does not apply, but the new covenant, the covenant of God’s grace DOES apply.
Paul’s parting shot in this chapter are words we need to claim for our own and write them in our hearts, much like the ancient Israelites were instructed by God through Moses to obey the law (Deuteronomy 6:6).
Our obedience to God hasn’t changed through the millennia; only the covenant has changed because God has replaced obedience to the law with obedience out of love to His grace.
Paul says: “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:25 ESV)
PRAYER: O LORD, our majestic Savior and King, we humbly come to You, unworthy of prayer except as You grant us through the life blood of Your Son, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Place within our hearts a love for the Lord, a desire to be holy, a willingness to serve. Let us focus each moment on the spiritual gifts that You require of us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, because against such virtues, O LORD, there is no law. In His Name be all the glory and honor. Amen.