Father, I know You have not only justified me through Christ but You’ve also given me Your Holy Spirit so I might desire righteousness in accordance with Your will. Give me grace today and empower me by the Holy Spirit to turn away from envy and arrogance and turn to my neighbor in love. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read Galatians 5
Christ has set us free and given us the Spirit so we might, from a place of security, love our neighbor as we submit to the desires of the Holy Spirit within us.
Galatians 5:1–12 In these verses, Paul returned yet again to his main theme: if one attempts to be righteous on the basis of obedience to God’s Law, then that person is obligated to keep the whole Law. Either we’re righteous on the basis of Christ’s work alone, or we’re severed from Christ and must stand in our own (lacking) righteousness. Those attempting to sway the Galatians toward the Law were doing themselves no favors. In fact, Paul spoke harshly against these men, telling them he wished they would simply emasculate themselves!
Galatians 5:13–26 What Paul wanted for the Galatians was not to put greater burdens on them, but for them to know the freedom from condemnation that was theirs in Christ. One reason he longed for the Galatians to know this freedom was because he understood that when we rest secure in the gospel, we’re freed to love others. When we try to justify ourselves on the basis of our good works, we become like a drowning man who must push down those around us. But when we rest secure in Christ, we’re like a man with a life preserver, able to reach out, lift up, and love our neighbors.
Sanctification by pursuing joy in Christ — a 2-minute video that will encourage you to fill your life with joy in Jesus.
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Paul wanted the Galatians to see this desire to love one’s neighbor comes from the Holy Spirit. He wanted them to understand that though they were justified by faith alone, this didn’t mean the Lord was sending them out to live in accordance with the desires of the flesh. Rather, the Father gives the Spirit to all those whom He declares righteous through faith in Christ. The Galatians, then, needed to submit to the desires of the Spirit, turn away from the desires of the flesh, and love one another as they bore the fruit of the Spirit.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
- Use the truths in the Galatians 5:1–12 today as another weapon Paul has given you in your fight to trust in the finished work of Christ as the basis for your justification.
- Paul made it clear that knowing we’re justified by faith alone isn’t a motivation for sin but for holiness. What are some evidences of holiness in our lives that show we’ve been justified by faith?
- When you hear that others have good things happen in their lives, do you react with envy and jealousy? This may be an indication that you’re trying to be justified by your works and always falling short. Instead, realize that through faith in the gospel, you’ve been united with Christ, and you have all you need. You can delight in the glory your neighbor receives, for you are not in a competition for glory. You’re secure in Christ, and a fellow heir of the world. Additionally, the Lord has given you His Holy Spirit so that all who are justified desire to walk in righteousness. Therefore, this week, ask for the empowerment of the Spirit, remember your security in the gospel, and love your neighbors by rejoicing with them when you hear of good things in their lives.
- Think of someone who might be struggling to believe that faith in Christ is enough; encourage that person by reminding him or her of Christ’s finished work (Gal. 3:10–14). It might help to remind the person that the alternative to trusting in the sufficiency of Christ’s work is to trust in his or her own works, which are never enough (Gal. 5:1–12).