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::Devotional:: ‘Live By The Spirit’ Part 1

July 20, 2009

full-holy-spirit-window

Over the next few days I’d like to take some time and share what God’s Word has to say about the abundant life of Christ through a devotional series I’ve titled ‘Live by the Spirit’.  When I was growing up, my understanding of life as a Christian wasn’t 100% accurate and when the Lord began to reveal the truth of His Word to me as an adult I realized that although I am to resist things in certain areas of my life, I have the freedom to act in others.  My friends, that is where the abundant life of Christ begins. 

We are going to make camp in the book of Galatians for this devotional series and my prayer is that as we come to God’s Word we will take a minute to ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of the Word to us; as Jesus promised He would do.

Paul wrote to the Christians at the Church of Galatia with the express purpose of addressing an issue of teaching salvation by grace vs. salvation by the law.  Without getting too deep into the background of the problems, a few people had begun to teach that not only did a person need to believe in their heart and confess with their mouth that Jesus was Lord (Romans 10:9-10) but they also needed to become a Jewish convert through the process of circumcision in order to be in compliance with the Law of Moses.  According to that teaching, Faith in Christ + Circumcision = Salvation.

The Proper Perspective

 Paul was quick to address this issue because of the depth of its implications.

Mark my words!  I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves by circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all.  Galatians 5:2

Paul was saying that if salvation required something additional to a faith in Jesus Christ, that meant his sacrifice on the cross would have been incomplete.  He would be of no value if He were not the only value.  The eternal security of the people in Galatia was in jeopardy if the church continued to teach the Gospel from this perspective.  The proper perspective was that faith alone was the only thing that mattered in the life of a Christian, a faith that expressed itself through love.

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value.  The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.  Galatians 5:6

Freedom From The Law

Because Jesus died on the cross and salvation was received by grace through faith, the law no longer was applicable for justifying sinful man before a Holy God.  The law had been abolished and those who believed in Jesus were now free from the law.  However, freedom from the law did not mean a freedom to indulge, it meant a freedom to love.

You my brothers, were called to be free.  But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather server one another in love.  The entire law is summed up in a single command:  ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.  Galatians 5:13-14

Jesus’ death on the cross was the ransom that purchased us from the mastery of sin in our lives; we became free from sin in order that we may be free to serve Him, King Jesus.  Through our faith and by his grace, he has given us an opportunity to experience an abundant life; a life by the Spirit; a life with the freedom to act.

Freedom To Act

As I said earlier, I expected that my life as Christian would be one restriction after another and that did not sound appealing to me.  It definitely didn’t sound like it would be abundant.  Praise God He got my attention and helped me to see the truth; in Christ I have been given the freedom to act according to the Holy Spirit who lives within me.  The restrictions that do exist in God’s Word are there to help me be at a point where I can experience the freedom to act according to how the Holy Spirit guides me.

Paul pointed out the obvious sinful acts that would hinder this freedom in Galatians 5:19-21

  • sexual immorality
  • impurity and debauchery
  • idolatry and witchcraft
  • hatred
  • discord
  • jealousy
  • fits of rage
  • selfish ambition
  • dissensions
  • factions and envy
  • drunkenness
  • orgies

If we will avoid those acts of sin, by the power of the Holy Spirit, He will guide us to display love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Fruits of the Spirit, Galatians 6:22-23) in abundance in our lives!  Paul wrote:

Against such things there is no law.  Galatians 6:23

Jesus summed up the law by revealing the true motive behind its commands by saying “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your sould and wth all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like:  Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22:37-40

Application

The abundant life of Christ is to experience all that God has created us to be by receiving salvation in Jesus Christ and living by the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit.  God has promised that He will provide the opportunities if we will simply provide the obedience.  Friends, let’s take inventory of our lives today.  Let’s seek God’s wisdom in making sure our perspective on the Christian life is right; that our attachments to sin are being removed through confession, repentance, and forgiveness; that our hearts are able to see the opportunities God lays before us to display the fruits of the spirit.  Let’s be intentional in living life by the spirit and experience the freedom to act in abundance.

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