Beyond the Gospels: Galatians

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 4:21-31

Slave versus free.
Law versus Spirit.
Two ways to live.

God has Paul take us back to Genesis and Abraham the father of the faithful.

Abram was given a promise by God, a promise for a son, a promise for an heir. Abram’s wife Sarai couldn’t stand the waiting and came up with a plan resulting in Abram having a son, Ishmael, through Hagar her Egyptian servant.

Ishmael was not the son of promise. He was the son of human contrivance. Bringing about God’s promise in our timing, under our power, by our own scheme. This is the heart of religion. Getting God to do what we want, when we want it, by the means we want. Religion keeps us from the promise. Separates us from God. It’s what happens when we use our brains to think things out for ourselves rather than seeking God and waiting as He calls us to.

God came back to remind Abram of the promise. To remind him afresh, God changed his name to Abraham and his wife’s name to Sarah. He also instituted the covenant of circumcision. According to God’s plan, Isaac was born, the son of promise. The chosen son conceived by God’s supernatural power, in His way, and in His timing. Through Isaac came the One who ultimately frees us from slavery to sin and death. Jesus.

There are those in the church today who choose law over Spirit. Believing they can manipulate God, get what they want, when they want it, by obeying a set of rules or traditions. Then there are those who walk by the Spirit, waiting, listening, serving freely as He calls. Those who are slaves to the law don’t always appreciate those led by the Spirit. Just as Ishmael stirred up trouble with Isaac, the legalists often attack the Spirit-led.

Those under law live according the flesh.
Those under promise live according to the Spirit.

Intimate relationship with God is found in the Spirit. Living by the law keeps us at odds with God, for in the flesh we are unable to uphold the law.

For to set the mind on the flesh is death,
but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, 
for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed it cannot.
Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Romans 8:6-8 ESV

Freedom is found in following the Spirit. Death results from living under the law.

How are you living? worshiping? walking?
Do you find yourself annoyed by those who don’t keep tradition?
Do you feel free to follow what God puts on your heart?

Jesus said it Himself:

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing.
John 6:63 NIV84
Give up the flesh, let go of the Law.
Live freely by the Holy Spirit who will never lead you astray!
Father God, open my eyes to the places I’m enslaved by law and religious tradition.
Open my heart to appreciate the freedom of living by the Holy Spirit and teach me
how to follow Him in grace, fulfilling Your divine purpose.

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