Before you Gentiles knew God, you were slaves to so-called gods that do not even exist. And now that you have found God (or should I say, now that God has found you), why do you want to go back again and become slaves once more to the weak and useless spiritual powers of this world? You are trying to find favor with God by what you do or don't do on certain days or months or seasons or years. I fear for you. I am afraid that all my hard work for you was worth nothing. Dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to live as I do in freedom from these things, for I have become like you Gentiles were?free from the law.
Galatians 4:8-12 (NLT)
(The following are the original comments that didn't move over well to blogger)
Phil L said at 12:43 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Amen. Paul was pretty tough on those who taught God’s grace wasn’t enough, that our works were necessary to earn our salvation. However he was equally tough on those who taught that our freedom in Christ gives us license to sin:
“For you have been called to live in freedom–not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love…
So I advise you to live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The old sinful nature loves to do evil, which is just opposite from what the Holy Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are opposite from what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, and your choices are never free from this conflict. But when you are directed by the Holy Spirit, you are no longer subject to the law.
When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, your lives will produce these evil results: sexual immorality, impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, participation in demonic activities, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other kinds of sin. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. If we are living now by the Holy Spirit, let us follow the Holy Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.”
Galatians 5:13,16-25 (NLT)
2Jean Harder said at 1:55 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Phil;; You are right on.
3Randall said at 3:50 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
I agree with where you’re goin Phil, but I haven’t explored lately if he was equally hard on the “Grace = Freedom to Sin” crowd. He was very hard on the “Jesus + Something Else = Salvation” crowd.
“Watch out for those dogs, those wicked men and their evil deeds, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved.” Phil 2:3
Or, as the Message puts it, those “Knife happy circumcisers”
In fact, in Galatians 5:12, about these people he says, “I wish the people who are bothering you would castrate themselves.”
Pretty hard line there.
I love the Galatians passage. We often emphasize the Fruit of the Holy Spirit, but I think we should spend serious time on the Fruit of the sinful nature part.
Yes it does cover wild parties and drunkenness, and the kind of sins we would see the flesh being a part of. But it also mentions things like “outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, divisions, the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.”
I don’t know many Christians who are into the drunkenness, wild parties thing, but I do know that some of us are into “the feeling that everyone is wrong except those in your own little group.”
At least there is a hope, the grace of having the Holy Spirit control your life!
Would it be fair to say that if you are seeing more of the Holy Spirit fruit in your life, and less of the Fruit of the sinful nature, that whatever your outward adornment or activities, you’re living your life in the Holy Spirit?
4Phil L said at 5:18 pm on December 2nd, 2004:
Absolutely yes, and hopefully others should see the fruits also. Unfortunately I have seen cases where Christians who have advocated godly lives have not only been ridiculed by non-Christians but have been labelled as legalists by their Christian brothers and sisters. We need to emphasise that our salvation is by grace alone, but I believe that sanctification and mutual edification are also important.
As to whether Paul was was equally hard on the “Grace = Freedom to Sin” crowd as he was on the “Jesus + Something Else = Salvation” crowd, I haven’t crunched those numbers. However, I seem to recall that he said enough to be labelled a legalist among some modern Christian circles (e.g. Ephesians 4:17-29).