BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love….So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Galatians 5:13,16 NIV
Much of Paul’s letter to the Galatians deals with the freedom we have in Christ. The law is not the standard for salvation but faith in Christ. Paul pointed out, “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ.” (Galatians 2:15,16 NIV)
Paul says, those who insist on circumcision or a portion of the law as a requirement for salvation or pleasing God, are obligated to obey all the law to be saved. “Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.” (Galatians 5:3,4 NIV)
Paul continues and says that freedom from the law for salvation does not excuse self-centered living by “the flesh” when it comes to sanctification. But instead, the “law of Christ” calls us to even a higher standard. The Old Testament prophets told a time when God would put the “law on the hearts” of His people. We can see that through the work of the Holy Spirit when a life is surrendered to Christ. “For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14 NIV)
We are called to live by “the Spirit.” God’s Spirit enables us to surrender rights instead of clinging to “rights.” It calls us to serve others as agents of God’s love. The safeguard against “gratifying” the flesh is not the hammer of the law, but the life that comes from the Spirit. As Paul said, “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19,20 NIV)
Prayer for today… Lord thank You for the life that comes from Your Spirit. Help us to understand the power of Your Spirit working in and through our lives, that we might serve and please You.