Summary: The letter has changed emphasis from doctrine to practice. The first part of chapter 5 has promoted freedom from legalism. Since the restraints of the law are lifted I can now do what ever my inclinations, passions, & desires lead me to do. This is licen
GALATIANS 5: 13-15
CHRISTIAN FREEDOM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
At the close of an important speech to congress on January 6, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt shared his vision of the kind of world he wanted to see after the war was over. He envisioned four basic freedoms enjoyed by all people: freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. To some degree, these freedoms have been achieved on a wider scale than in 1941, but our world still needs another freedom, a fifth freedom. Man needs to be free from himself and the tyranny of his sinful nature.
The letter has changed emphasis from doctrine to practice. The first 12 verses of chapter 5 have promoted freedom from legalism. Some might say that since the restraints of the law are lifted I can now do what ever my inclinations, passions, and desires lead me to do. This is license. License is an abuse and perversion of Christian liberty. What will keep the Christian from so abusing his freedom?
Christianity resembles a narrow road between two polluted streams. One is called legalism and the other license. The believer must be empowered by the Holy Spirit so that he does not lose his balance and tumble into the chains of legalism on one side or into the defilement of sin on the other. He must walk by the Spirit.
The Christian has not been freed to sin but has been freed by the grace of God not to sin. The Christian is the man who through the indwelling Spirit of Christ is so purged of self that he loves his neighbor as himself, a thing which is not possible except for one walking in the Spirit.
[I. LOVE NOT LICENSE (13-15).]
THE CALL, 13.
THE COMMAND, 14.
THE CAUTION, 15.
[II. WALK BY THE SPIRIT (16-18).]
THE CALL, 13.
Christians were called to be free from sin and self so that we might loving service one another as verse 13 declares. For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
With the emphatic you the text distinguishes between freedom to sin and freedom to serve. There is the possibility that because a person is freed from the law they will live in self-indulgence and sensuality. Freedom used as a license to sin is no freedom at all, because it enslaves you to Satan, sin and self, or to your own sinful nature, or flesh.
Our corrupt nature or flesh is who we are apart form Jesus Christ and His Spirit. If we don’t surrender our life to Christ we are prone to serve our flesh or who we are in and of our fallen self apart from God.
In May 1996, 5-foot-7-inch, 118-pound MISS VENEZUELA won the Miss Universe contest. According to the Chicago Tribune, after her victory reporters asked her what she wanted to do first. “I’m going to do something,” she said, “I haven’t been able to do for three weeks –eat, eat, eat and sleep.”
Apparently she kept her word. She quickly gained weight, to the point where pageant officials were complaining. One pageant official explained, “She has various swimsuit contracts, and they’re not happy that she has gone a bit chubby.”
She kept on gaining, though. According to People Weekly, by January 1997 a new personal trainer weighed her in at 155 pounds, and at one point she weighed 160 pounds. But with the help of her trainer within a few months she was back down to an ideal weight of 130 pounds.
Without ongoing self-discipline of the Spirit how quickly we can squander our accomplishments. Spirit controlled life must be a lifestyle, not an occasional event.
[RESPONSIBLE FREEDOM] The New Testament teaches that we do not live under the law of Moses. But this freedom does not imply that we can live irresponsibly. In Christ we have complete immunity from the eternal sentence required by God for breaking His commandments. But this does not give us reason to indulge our sinful nature. To do so disgraces our Lord.
A Michigan state trooper had stopped the same man twice in one day for RECKLESS DRIVING. The offender was weaving in and out of traffic at speeds up to 93 miles per hour. When he was pulled over, he flashed an official seal, signed by the U.S. Secretary of State. He announced that he was the consul general of another nation, and he had no intention of obeying America’s laws. He honked his horn impatiently while the trooper radioed headquarters to verify that a foreign diplomat cannot be detained except for serious crimes. Upon learning this, he said to the man, “Even though you aren’t subject to our laws, you could at least have some regard for the safety of our people.”