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Keep Standing Firm

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, Jun 6, 2015.

  1. Friday, June 5, 2015, 8:48 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind this song:

    Refiner’s Fire / Doerksen, Brian

    Purify my heart,
    let me be as gold and precious silver…
    Refiner's fire,
    my heart's one desire
    is to be holy;
    set apart for You, Lord…


    Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Galatians 5 (NASB).

    For Freedom

    It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

    Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.

    In my world, culture and day and age, the matter of circumcision as something necessary or not necessary for salvation has not been an issue, so I have to look at what lesson I (or we) can learn from this. What is at the crux of this whole discussion? It is that Jesus Christ, God the Son, was crucified on a cross for our sins in order to set us free from having to obey the whole law in order to be saved. He was our perfect Lamb; our sin offering. He became a curse; he who knew no sin became sin for us, so when he died, our sin died with him. As well, through his death and resurrection we were delivered from the curse of sin and death. We no longer have to obey God’s law perfectly in order to be saved. We are made righteous through faith in Jesus Christ, and not of ourselves. Yet, this faith means we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to new lives, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” It means we now walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

    Yet, there is another matter at work here, too. From what I understand, when Paul dealt with the church on the subject of them going back to following the law, as added on for their salvation, he was primarily referring to those laws which were external in nature, i.e. circumcision, observing special days and weeks, and ceremonial laws, some of which the Jews had added on to, in order to make them even more burdensome. Many people today live their lives as though they believe that external forms of religion contribute in some way to their salvation, but they do not. God looks at the heart, not at what is on the outside. He is concerned that we are circumcised of the heart, not that we have gone through some religious ritual. We are not made more holy or more righteous because we attend a meeting at a particular building on a particular day in the week. God’s true worshipers are those who worship him in spirit and in truth, and are those who give him their lives to obey him.

    There is also another aspect to this not discussed in this particular section of scripture, and that is that Jesus Christ set us free from slavery to sin so that we can walk in the Spirit in Christ’s righteousness and holiness. So, once freed, we are not to return to a yoke of slavery to sin, either. Some people preach that this freedom frees us from all obligation to have to repent of sin or to obey Christ’s commandments, but that is not what scripture teaches. We can’t keep the whole commands of God because we live in flesh bodies which are subject to sin. So, Jesus Christ took our place on the cross so that, through faith in him, we might be made righteous in God’s sight. Yet scripture is quite clear that faith in Christ means submitting to his Lordship, to his righteousness and to death to sin and living for God. Our freedom in Christ is not license to continue in sin. May it never be!

    Who Hindered You?

    You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. I have confidence in you in the Lord that you will adopt no other view; but the one who is disturbing you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been abolished. I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.

    For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

    So, I see on one side of this that Jesus Christ died to set us free from the requirement of the law that we live in sinless perfection, i.e. that we keep the entire law in order to be saved. He was the only man who walked the face of this earth who never sinned, although tempted, and so he became our perfect (spotless) Lamb sacrifice so that now we are no longer under this curse of the law, but we are now free in Christ, but not free to live however we want; not free to continue in sin. Our righteousness before God is not based in sinless perfection. It is based in Jesus Christ who became sin for us, and who put sin to death on the cross. Yet, faith in him, by the very nature of the word “faith,” means we live our lives like we believe he also died to free us from slavery to sin, only not in our own flesh, trying to earn salvation, but in the power and working of the Spirit within us, as we submit our lives to the Spirit and we cooperate with him in his work of grace in our lives.

    So, we should stop listening to those who are trying to put us back under slavery to having to keep the whole law in order to be saved, or who are trying to convince us that Christ’s death on the cross means freedom from having to turn from sin and obey Christ whatsoever. This passage in Galatians makes it quite clear that, although set free from having to obey the law with absolute perfection in order to be saved, this freedom does not mean we are now free to indulge in the sinful nature without penalty. Scripture teaches that if we continue on a course of conducting our lives according to the flesh, and not according to the Spirit, we will die in our sins (See: Ro. 8; 1 Jn. 1). The real offense of the cross, I believe, is not just that Jesus Christ died to sin, and lives to God (Ro. 6:10), but that we are to consider ourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus (Ro. 6:11).

    Walk by the Spirit

    But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

    If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.

    As true followers of Jesus Christ, we are to no longer continue to conduct our lives according to the sinful nature, but we are to be on a continuing course of living our lives by the Spirit, in the Spirit, and according to the Spirit of God. If we should sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, who gave himself up for us, and whose righteousness is our defense (See: 1 Jn. 2:1-2). We should repent, and we should continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ with our lives, submitting to his Lordship and to the cross of Christ in our lives. Yet, if we think that Jesus Christ, now that he has saved us by his grace, is no longer concerned about whether we sin or not, or else if we think that us walking in his holiness is optional, then we need to think again, and we need to get into the word, and read it verse by verse, and chapter by chapter, and see what it says.

    Again, although free to not have to live in sinless perfection in order to be saved, we are not free to continue to live (walk) in sin. If we walk according to the flesh, we will die, but if, by the Spirit, we put to death (present tense, suggesting continuous action) the deeds of the flesh, we will live (See: Ro. 8:12-14).

    Refiner’s Fire / Doerksen, Brian

    Purify my heart,
    let me be as gold and precious silver…
    Refiner's fire,
    my heart's one desire
    is to be holy;
    set apart for You, Lord…
     

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