Monday, April 17, 2017

Spiritual Freedom

Many today feel that Christianity is very restrictive and demanding.  They find statements sucha s Galatians 5:19-21 intimidating.  “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 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.”   Numerous groups have adopted very strict codes of conduct  to ensure their people act like Christians. 

This appears as a direct contradiction with what II Corinthians 3:17 tells us and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”   Galatians 5:18 said, “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”  The conflict is a result of trying to be good enough to deserve ones salvation by fleshly means.   Paul addressed this problem in Galatians 3:2-3.  “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?  Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”  We will never attain an acceptable lifestyle by following a set of rules. 

Romans 8:1-11 tells us that that will only come as result of allowing the Holy Spirit to control our life.  “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” 

Instead of constantly struggling to do the right things, the Holy spirit will guide us, making it far easier to do what is right.  We do not need those codes of conduct.   This does not mean we are free to go and do whatever we feel like doing.   I Corinthians 6:12 tells us, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”  A Christian will not lose his salvation or go to hell for doing those things, but some things are not beneficial to him.  Some activities are typical of those who do not believe in god and cast doubt on the reality of his salvation.  Others tend to take over one’s life and interfere with his spiritual life.  While we ought to avoid such activities, we do not need to fear making a mistake, knowing God is a forgiving God.    As Galatians 5:13 says, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”  We have the freedom to commit things that are sin, but love should constrain us not to do things that hurt others, and the love is a result of the Holy Spirit producing fruit in the Christian’s life.

Before accepting Christ, we were slaves to sin and could not choose whether to do right or wrong.  Even our efforts to do good were for wrong motives, so that nothing was truly good.  With the Holy Spirit in our lives we now have the freedom to choose whether to do right or wrong.  Romans 6;20-22 explains.  “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.   What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.  But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”  We do what is right because we choose to, not because we have to.  

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