Christ has given us freedom without requiring us to earn it, we need only accept it. The idea of an act to “pay back” the infinitely valuable and unbuyable gift of freedom by Christ dishonors and insults that gift. The only acceptable response is joyfully living in the freedom provided, with a loving outpouring that faith produces. The idea of living with the love that faith provides encompasses so much that I think it will take time, reflection, and prayer for me to fully grasp it and the implications it should have on my life. What I am seeing right now isn’t simply death to self for Christ to live in me, but for that indwelling love of Christ to indwell and transform me and my entire worldly outlook, for it to flow from me in all human interactions. It is something that can take me from self-centered to empathetic, from shy and fearful to engaging, from greedy to giving.
Leaven/yeast is permeating when used in baking, and is used to represent sin in the OT, and false teaching in the NT as seen in v.9. A more modern saying that is similar would be “One bad apple spoils the bunch”. Means that false teaching in one area will easily affect other areas, and can be applied to personal life beliefs, or beliefs and teachings of the whole church. I see how the “rotten apple” mentality applies to the teaching of false scripture, but I know there are other closer to home examples I need to be aware of as well…negative attitudes first and foremost. How I act and respond to situations is representative of my Christian walk, and it would be easy to be yet another person who gives Christianity a bad name and sour taste in the mouths of others.
Freedom doesn’t mean we have a ‘free pass’. Love is a condition of an individuals heart, it is a motivation by which we can take action. Any good deed we do, done for the wrong reason provides us no benefit. Love is motivated by the joys of sharing our fullness, whereas works of the flesh are motivated by the desire to fill in our emptiness. Acts of charity, or goodwill may seem like good steps to take to become a better person, or further your Christian walk, but it is good to step back and reflect to determine “Am I doing this to fill a void in me?” or “Am I doing this to share my own blessings” One of these is works, one of these is love.
To “Walk in the spirit” means to stay hooked up and go wherever He leads! “If you are led by the Spirit…” The Spirit’s work is the driving force, not ours (e.g. We are a locomotive on a train, not a pace car in a race) we don’t follow in our strength, we are led by His power. Walking in the spirit promises to overcome fleshly desires, the flesh is at war with God’s Spirit – it is unsubmissive. This reminded me of the illustration of the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. Who you choose to listen to is what your actions will be. I need to remember that the enemy is always trying to pull me away from God, and ensure my decisions lead me to walk in the Spirit.
Our actions have moral value if they are done in reliance on the Spirit’s power. When we rely on God, we lessen our own desire for power, increasing His influence and lessening ours. “He must increase, I must decrease” (John 3:30). I can feel the desire within me to have God take full control of my life, and l’ve prayed to Him for this, yet I know I struggle with the concept. How do I know He is in charge? I think a regular weighing of my choices against the BIble is a good way to gauge, but more prayer for understanding and trust is definitely needed on my part.
Our salvation can’t be lost, but our freedom in Christ can.
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” Gal 5:6
LOVE – Because we love God, we desire to honour Him with our lives and we want to glorify Him with our actions, our choices, and extend to others the same forgiveness God extends to us. Because we Love others, we place others’ needs before our own.
GRACE – God’s riches at Christ’s expense / God’s rescuing and caring exertion
FAITH – Takes away Guilt (Eph 1:7, 1 Cor 15:3), fear (Isa 64:4, 41:10, Rom 8:28), and greed (heb 11:26; 13:5-6, Phi 3:8) (barriers to love) Gives a positive impulse to move us to love, a desire to experience God’s influence, a relationship of life with God, who walks with us.
Fun resource: The Bible project has a great infographic for Galatians
1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. 7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be. 11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. 12 I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
13 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.