Summary: How to avoid being blinded to the truth of the Holy Spirit
Theme - Avoid being blinded to the Spirit by relying on works of the flesh.
What happens to people who prefer to live by the letter of the law rather than by the Spirit of grace? While the Bible urges us to perfection, you do not become holy through the keeping of the law. Paul saw in the Galatians, people who were going back to their former legalistic traditions. The Judaizers convinced them to return to the law of offering sacrifices for sins instead of relying on Christ’s atonement. The Gnostics tried to convince the Galatians of the importance of getting God’s favor through superior knowledge. Both were using heretical substitutes for the sufficiency of faith in Christ. They tried to substitute the law for the reliance on the Spirit for righteousness. The Spirit is not given because we worked for His favor. We do not deserve His precious gifts. The Spirit is not given to whoever struggles to be good. The Spirit is given to those who trust in Christ for their righteousness. Do not try to erect extra requirements for bringing others into God’s family. Stop inventing human qualifications for spiritual maturity. He will perfect us according to His timing, will, and power! The pursuit of perfection is the pursuit of love, truth, and light.
Question - What are the problems of living by the flesh and not by the Spirit?
Prayer - Lord, help us avoid being more dependent on our works than on your Spirit’s power.
March 2nd Gal. 3:10-14
Theme - As promised in the Abrahamic covenant, the Spirit is the sum of all blessings.
How can we become beneficiaries of the promises God gave to Abraham? Righteousness is not merely the absence of vice or the presence of virtue. It is a consuming passion for God that sends you forth in His name to establish His kingdom. Through the Spirit, all believers share in the great covenant blessings God gave to Abraham. (Gen. 15 & 17) "Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness." While the law brings condemnation, faith brings justification. The purpose of the law is to expose and judge the guilty. Since Christ has redeemed us from the curse of law, we receive these promises by our saving faith. The covenant is a promise from the Father that we will share in His divine nature escaping the corruptions of the world. As our faith grows He will multiply our spiritual seed as many as the sand that is by the sea. If we have not fully received the Holy Spirit into our lives, we are deprived of these eternal benefits. None of this is earned by church attendance, education, or even right human friendships. Let Christ free you from slavery to the law. Live by the promise of the Spirit rather than by your cunning, connections, or culture. Human excellence besides God, is like the fabled flower that is beautiful, but artificial.
Question - What are the reasons some people fail to experience the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant?
Prayer - Lord, help us to appropriate all of the blessings given to us through the Spirit by faith.
March 3rd Gal. 5:22,23
Theme - The fruit of the Spirit is love; joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control are its by-products.
What are the ways that people misunderstand the nature of the fruit of the Spirit? A person’s wealth does not depend so much on what he has as on what he can without. The fruit of Spirit allows a person freedom from dependence on the works of the flesh. Paul tells us that He gives the fruit in a singular not plural form. Love is the crowning virtue of a Spirit controlled believer. Love is an unselfish concern that seeks anothers’ good. It is the true expression of the Spirit that lives within each believer. God is love. Those who do not love, do not know God. When one loves through the power of the Spirit, joy will follow. Joy is the deep satisfaction gained through His will. Peace is given to those love, resting in the Spirit. Patience is an expression of love’s endurance. Kindness is shown through those who love with an understanding of God’s considerations to weaknesses. Goodness is the quality of a sterling character softened by love. Love endures all types of suffering without losing control of one’s emotions. The wealthiest man is the most spiritually fruitful. Spiritual fruit abides forever, riches fly away with time. The fruit of the Spirit gives one a many-sided virtuous character. Do not be content to blessed by the Spirit, produce fruit in keeping with repentance.
Question - What are the ways that we can determine if we are deficient in the fruit of the Spirit?