Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Freedom From Legalism

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians. 4:7

In the days of apostle Paul, legalism was trying to penetrate into the Galatian Church. Some Judaizers were teaching the new Christians that they were required to follow the Jewish laws to obtain salvation. For them, salvation was based on works, not solely on God’s free gift of grace.

In Galatians 4, Paul was trying to show us the difference between walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh. When a believer is spiritually immature, he is insensitive to the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t know how to walk with Him or hear His voice. Such a Christian is a babe in Christ, ignorant of the things of God. He needs to be constantly told by others what is right or wrong for him. So instead of letting God control his life, he ends up allowing people to control him. And when imperfect people start regulating your life, you will inevitably be enslaved into bondage again.

Paul says, “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father” (Gal. 4:1-2). No matter how great our inheritance is, as long as we don’t grow up in God, we will never get to enjoy it. We are no different from being a slave. And as long as we are enslaved, we will never be free to enjoy God’s blessings.

If we are not willing to trust and obey God, we will soon go back to the slavery of the fl esh, which is “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfi sh ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (5:19-21). Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

That is the real danger of legalism. Legalism is allowing man-made rules to play the role of the Holy Spirit in your life-what to eat, what to drink, what to wear, where to go, etc. While the intentions of some legalists may be noble (for example, to prevent you from sinning), they actually do you a grave disservice because they cut you off from a life of faith in the Spirit. Legalism ultimately will bring people into a state of spiritual poverty, robbing them of all the joy and blessings that God has promised us through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have true freedom in Christ when you look to the Holy Spirit to lead you in your day-to-day decision-making. And He will always lead and guide you to do the right thing.

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