#DailyDevotion To Walk In The Spirit Is To Walk In The Gospel
Gal 5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery…:(13) For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. (14) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (15) But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
For freedom Christ has set us free. What sort of freedom is this? Is it libertine freedom, freedom to sin and do evil? No, that is not the freedom Paul is talking about. If we go about sinning at every opportunity, that would be bondage to sin, the fear of death and the power of devil. So Paul tells us not to use our freedom and an opportunity for the flesh. Indeed we have been freed from those taskmasters. Our freedom is to fear, love and trust in God and to love our neighbor as ourselves. So Paul reminds us the whole law is summed up in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
In Galatians as well as Romans chapters seven and eight, you would do well to understand when Paul talks about the flesh, he is speaking of all the commandments, both the Mosaic Law and the Natural Law. He is talking about being in bondage to them as a measurement of our salvation and our standing before God. The law incites our flesh and causes us to seek to break it as he says Rom 7:8 “But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead.” So you may find yourself being tempted and so you try telling yourself God’s law that deals with that situation. Then you find yourself falling into the sin you just reminded yourself not to do. Telling your flesh the law when tempted is like throwing oil into the fire. Don’t do this and don’t do that is living life according to the law and therefore the flesh.
Love though and the Spirit though are not about don’t do this and don’t do that. Love originates in God through Christ Jesus. The Spirit doesn’t free us from sin and death by telling us what to do and not do. The Spirit tells us what God has done for us in Christ Jesus. What does the Spirit say? Gal 4:4-5 “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, (5) to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” Again he says, Gal 2:16 “yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.” And again Paul says, Gal 3:13-14 “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’— (14) so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” When tempted, while perhaps reminding yourself of God’s law concerning that sin, what you need to remember is the freedom from the law and from sin Christ has redeemed you for. You need to tell yourself the Gospel, the Good News, Christ redeemed you from the curse of the law. Tell yourself you have been adopted by the Father through baptism into Christ. Remind yourself you are justified, declared righteous, before God the Father through faith in the work and the full completion of the law by Jesus Christ. In those words the Spirit has you walk and fulfill the law of God. It is the love of God you will love your neighbor as yourself.
Gracious God and Father, you have freed us to believe in the work of your son Jesus Christ and your great love for us shown in his death and resurrection. When tempted remind us of the great gift you have given us in Christ so we too may act in love and walk in the ways of the Spirit. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.