Dear Praying Friends,
Thank you for your willingness to share in the burden of prayer for our prodigals and for revival each Wednesday.
It is an understatement to say that Jesus paid a great price for our freedom. The cross is solid evidence of that fact. Zack Williams says it well, “He’s a chain breaker.” He broke our chains of sin and bondage. It would be a crime, an absolute crime for us to return to that bondage.
The Galatian believers were guilty of this very thing. They had come to enjoy the freedom of sins forgiven but, sadly, were living under law. In chapter one, Paul established that the gospel of grace originated from God; it wasn’t Paul’s idea. In chapter two, he challenged the highly esteemed Peter about his two-facedness with the Jewish believers. In chapter three, he peppered the “bewitched” Galatians with questions about how inconsistent it was to have been saved by the Spirit’s power and yet live as if works of the law were required. In chapter four, he confirmed that they were children of the promised child, Isaac, and not the bondwoman's child. They were children of the free-woman. Through her, the promised Child, Jesus, came and purchased their freedom. This is why, in chapter five, Paul so emphatically commanded them not to turn back: “Plant your feet firmly therefore within the freedom that Christ has won for us, and DO NOT let yourselves be caught again in the shackles of slavery” (Gal 5:1 J.B.Phillips).
Only this Spirit-empowered life (not religious ritual or human activity) is able to produce true freedom, and Paul emphasized that our freedom in Christ is a life of love. He started in verse six by saying, “What matters is faith working through love.” A person who is “in Christ” allows faith in God to find expression in love to others. This love is the evidence of our freedom in Christ. The law keepers were worried that a free life would lead to a corrupt life. Paul admonished, “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” (Gal 5:13). Again, the outcome of freedom is demonstrated by serving one another in love.
The whole law is fulfilled in one word: LOVE! “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). Your neighbor is anyone God brings into your path, anyone who you know who is in need, anyone that God has placed upon your heart to help. It could be a brother or sister in Christ or a homeless beggar on the street. The demonstration of your love reveals the depth of your freedom. The opposite is also true, as Paul states in verse fifteen, “If you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”
Paul stated that the free life, the Spirit-controlled life, will unmistakably yield the fruit of love. It will be a reproduction of the life of Jesus. “The fruit of the Spirit is love” (Gal 5:22). We should not just do isolated, random, acts of love periodically, but rather our lives should overflow with love that is being generated by the Spirit within us, and this love works for the blessing of all around us. Rather than being deceived like the legalistic Galatians, we need to enjoy the freedom that Jesus purchased for us at the cross and live it out in love to others.
Through His grace,
Bryan and Rachel