The Gift of Grace
Read Galatians 5:1-4
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace.
How do we let ourselves become burdened again by the slavery of the law?
No other doctrine seems to be as misunderstood as grace. Some view grace as a license to sin. Others worry that without continuing to enforce the law, chaos will ensue in the churches and everyone will rebel and live as they please. They are legalists who continue to enforce strict rules on top of grace. But both license and legalism lead us right back where we started. Slavery.
If we are viewing grace as a license to sin, we are still allowing sin to rule in our lives. We are letting sin have a stronghold in us that it should not have. If we are in Christ, we have died to our sins. We have been born again into children of God who have the inner disciple of the Holy Spirit. Sin should no longer rule over us. If we are continuing to live in the sins of our flesh, we are continuing to live in bondage. License is not freedom.
If we are legalists, enforcing man-made rules to try to change human behavior, we are allowing the law to rule in our lives. We are depending on our flesh to try to save ourselves and change others instead of allowing the Spirit to do His work. Depending on our own efforts to follow the law is continuing to live in bondage. Legalism is not freedom.
Friends, freedom is found in Jesus Christ plus nothing. Jesus set us free from the bondage of our sin. Our old sinful self died with Him on the cross and our new spiritual self was raised to life with Him. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us! The Spirit guides, directs, and convicts us. The Spirit shows us how to walk in obedience to God without the strict rules of legalism. The Spirit also convicts us when our feet begin to wander and leads us astray. The inner discipline of the Holy Spirit draws us back when we have stumbled.
When the Holy Spirit is working in our lives, we are not depending on our flesh or living in our flesh. We are depending on God’s grace and living by the Spirit. We are submitting to the Holy Spirit’s leading and work in our lives. That is the doctrine of grace and it truly is freedom.
Don’t allow yourselves to be burdened again by the sins of your flesh or the bondage of the law. You were set free in Christ. Stand firm on that promise, friends!
Jesus, thank You for setting me free. Your grace is all I need. Guide me with Your Holy Spirit in freedom and truth. Amen.
~ Pastor Nat Crawford
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