Liberty & Warnings
This week, we will be studying Galatians 5.
An earnest exhortation to stand fast in the liberty of the gospel. (1-12) To take heed of indulging a sinful temper. (13-15) And to walk in the Spirit, and not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh: the works of both are described. (16-26)
On Galatians 5:1-6
Christ will not be the Saviour of any who will not own and rely upon him as their only Saviour. Let us take heed to the warnings and persuasions of the apostle to steadfastness in the doctrine and liberty of the gospel. All true Christians, being taught by the Holy Spirit, wait for eternal life, the reward of righteousness, and the object of their hope, as the gift of God by faith in Christ; and not for the sake of their own works. No outward privileges or profession will avail to acceptance with God, without sincere faith in our Lord Jesus. True faith is a working of grace; it works by love to God, and to our brethren. May we be of the number of those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. The danger of old was not in things that didn't matter as sometimes they are now. But without faith working by love, all else is worthless, and everything compared with it is of small value.
The gospel is a doctrine according to godliness and is far from giving the least opportunity to sin, that it makes us want to avoid and subdue it. The apostle urges that all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. If Christians, who should help one another, and rejoice with one another, quarrel, what can be expected but that the God of love should deny us His grace? Then the Spirit will depart, and the evil spirit, who seeks destruction will prevail. It would be great if Christians, instead of biting and devouring one another on account of different opinions, would set themselves against sin in themselves, and in the places where they live.
If we act under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit, though we may not be freed from the stirrings and oppositions of sin which remains in us, it shall not have dominion over us. Believers are engaged in a conflict, in which they earnestly desire that God may obtain a full and speedy victory. And those who desire to give themselves up to be led by the Holy Spirit, are not under the law as a covenant of works, nor exposed to its awful curse. Their hatred of sin, and desire after holiness, show that they have a part in the salvation of the gospel. The works of the flesh are many and manifest. And these sins will shut men out of heaven. Yet what numbers, calling themselves Christians, live in sin and say they hope for heaven! The fruits of the Spirit, or of the renewed nature, which we are to do, are named. By describing the works of the flesh and fruits of the Spirit, we are told what to avoid and oppose, and what we are to cherish and cultivate; and this is the sincere care and endeavour of all real Christians. Sin does not now reign in their mortal bodies, so that they obey it for they seek to destroy it. Christ never will own those who yield themselves up to be the servants of sin. And it is not enough that we cease to do evil, but we must learn to do well. Our conversation will always be answerable to the principle which guides and governs us. We must set ourselves earnestly to mortify the deeds of the body and to walk in newness of life. Not desiring vain-glory or wishing for the esteem and praise of men, not provoking or envying one another, but seeking to bring forth more abundantly those good fruits, which are, through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.
May God give you the strength that you may be capable to bear fruit to godliness and everlasting life.