Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Free Indeed - Galatians 4:1-7

15 Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise.. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise. 19 What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one. 21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. 23 Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. 24 So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free,male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. - Galatians 3:15-29

When we initially confess our belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we are born again.However, for some of us it may take time to allow Him to be the Lord of our lives. It is through the process of sanctification that the Holy Spirit reveals the inadequacies within every believer that prevent us from being "holy as He is holy."

The new birth experience does not differ much, from the natural birthing process. For example, although a baby in the natural has everything that (s)he needs to drive a car, no parent would strap a baby into the seat of an automobile and expect the infant to drive. The same holds true in the spiritual realm. 

Spiritual "babes" learn, during the process of sanctification, to live as mature believers. We learn what we need to know about living a life of faith from our spiritual leaders (e.g., Bible teachers, pastors, etc.). More often than not, we also learn about God and who we are in Him through our experiences; especially our failures. The tests and trials of life reveal who we are, who God is, and help us to mature in our faith in God.

What the Apostle Paul has been telling the church of Galatia is that they cannot live the faith life unless they've received salvation by faith. The false gospels (doctrines) that were being taught to the Galatians were hindering their growth in the Lord. The same can be said for present day believers. We cannot grow up, in our faith in Christ, if we allow ourselves to believe teachings that are contrary to what we believed when we first professed faith in Christ.

This is why it is so important that we read the Bible for ourselves and reject any teaching that is not consistent with what our teachers, pastors or other spiritual leaders have taught us. To live a life of faith we should not be hindered by legalism and the traditions of men that drive us further away from the Gospel of Grace to a works oriented gospel.

At the beginning of our walk of faith, we follow the instructions of our spiritual leaders. However, at the same time, we're learning to read, understand and apply the truths of the Bible to our lives as the Holy Spirit leads us. Eventually, rather than relying upon others to "feed" us the Word of God, we learn to "cook" our own food.

It is very important what we listen to and read. Initially we practice the spiritual disciplines because we are told to by human leaders in our churches. However, as we grow in the Lord, we no longer need other church leadership to tell us when, where and how to live a life a faith. The Holy Spirit becomes our teacher as we grow in Christ.

Believers are unlike babies in the natural in that, as we grow in Christ, the more dependent we become on Him to live a life of faith. This is because it is impossible for us to do so apart from the leading of the Holy Spirit. Like toddlers who balk at the idea that they can't tie their own shoes without the help of their parent, many believers experience the same frustration when we discover how futile our attempts at living the faith life are, apart from the Spirit's leading.

Some believers may find that it takes much prayer and fellowship with other believers before we are enabled to fully become "new creations" in Christ (i.e., wholly surrendered to the will of God).


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