Called to Liberty

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1).

The liberty that Christians have been given is freedom from the law and all its requirements. The law was given by God through Moses and is a description of at least some aspects of the Divine Nature. It is also therefore a description of our new nature He has given us which can be expressed now and will be fully expressed in the resurrection. The problem the law brings is that it condemns the one who chooses to live by it. It has no power of enablement to abide by it.

In the latter part of this chapter Paul gives a description of the Christian’s two options. He may be ruled by the lust of flesh and reap the character of verses 19-21 or he may yield to the Holy Spirit and reap the character of the fruit of the Spirit given in verses 22 & 23. Knowing the outcome of each we have the opportunity to choose.

If our lives are characterized by the works of the flesh then we conclude that we are under the power of the lusts of the flesh. On the other hand, if our lives are characterised by the fruit of the Spirit then we can be confident that we are walking in the Spirit. This is the same as being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) and being in fellowship with Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3, 7) but viewed by a different ‘window’.

Because we are set free from the curse that the law brings there is the possibility that we will neglect or discard our knowledge of the commands of God. The law is itself good and has its purpose to unbelievers (Galatians 3:19-25) but it is still good and has its purpose for Christians. The law no longer condemns the believer because Christ fulfilled the requirements of the law on our behalf. What good then is the law to Christians?

Like the fruit of the Spirit the law is a revelation of the Divine Nature and is therefore also a description of what we are in Jesus Christ and how we shall be in eternity. Yes, the law is a schoolmaster for unbelievers but it is also a safety instructor for Christians.

As a ship comes into harbour needs markers to keep it safe in deep water so as not to run aground so the law is as markers to keep the Christian safe from shipwreck of his faith. So Paul writes, “do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh” (5:13). So the law is not a curse to Christians but a blessing for it shows us the way of safety and warns of dangers.

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