Galatians 5:1, 25 (NIV) reads, “Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery…Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Everything in between supports this.
- “…we eagerly AWAIT by faith the righteousness for which we hope.” (v. 5)
- “The only thing that counts is faith EXPRESSING itself through love.” (v. 6)
- “You were RUNNING a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from OBEYING the truth?” (v. 7)
- “So I say, WALK by the Spirit…” (v. 16)
- “But if you are LED by the Spirit…” (v. 18)
Rewinding just a bit to get a better background. How did we come to be free of the burden / yoke of slavery? “He Himself [Christ] likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives” (Hebrews 2:15, NASB). We are free because of Christ. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand” (Romans 5:1-2, NASB). We STAND in this grace, this truth, this freedom…because of Christ.
This is a BIG deal, even though it might be difficult for some living in first world countries in 2016 to grasp the atrocities and abominations of the concept and experience of slavery. Nevertheless…
Our freedom is a big deal. We are cautioned in utmost seriousness against falling away from grace (Galatians 5:4), being hindered from abiding in the truth (Galatians 5:7), and especially using our freedom to indulge the flesh (Galatians 5:13). Indulging the flesh results in being enslaved to the sin of the flesh which is burdensome and increasingly so. Therefore it is alike the antithesis of experiencing grace and the freedom found within it. After all, “For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other” (Galatians 5:17). And it is not just in desire and appearance / action that these are in conflict but in repercussion / consequence as well, for with grace comes peace.*
When we think about it, the ideal choice becomes obvious…but that’s just it, the flesh DOESN’T stop to think about it. The flesh is led by impulsive passions. (And that is SO frustrating, grrrrr.) There is no sign of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness nor self-control in the flesh. The flesh isn’t quick to listen nor is it slow to speak / act (James 1:19).
James 1:19-25 instructs us, “Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger [the flesh] does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it.”
It is only through the Spirit that freedom is found; and it’s a PROCESS. An involved, intense run of obeying the truth in persistence. So fast-forwarding again. How do we keep living in freedom (in step with the Spirit)? The flesh doesn’t look carefully into the perfect law that sets us free. Right?!? Yes. Okay. Already established. That said…the opposite of such is for us TO look carefully into God’s word, not just listen to it but doing what it says, diving headlong into the heights and depths and breadths of His grace, peace, and freedom.
When your feeling the pressure…press into Christ. Your freedom is a big deal to Him.
*Flip through just about every epistle in the New Testament to find the greeting: grace and peace. Grace…then peace.