Those Who Belong to Christ

Sue LoveChristian Devotionaldeliverance, Encouragement, freedom, fruit of Spirit, hope, Jesus Christ, works of flesh

For Freedom
Galatians 5:1, 13-15 ESV

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.”

“For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.”

Freedom in Christ Jesus, our Lord, is not freedom to continue in willful and habitual sin against God. Jesus didn’t die on that cross one day many years ago just to deliver us from the punishment of sin, but he died to deliver us from our slavery to sin, and to empower us to live godly and holy lives while we wait for his return (Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23).

When we continue in sinful practices, if that is what we do, not only are we sinning against God, but we are sinning against others, either directly or indirectly. For, how we live our lives day in and day out does impact other people for good or for evil, whether we are willing to acknowledge that or not.

Love is thus not conducive to sinful lifestyles, for living in sin is by nature of the flesh, and it is selfish, and it is self-gratifying, and often it is bent on sin no matter who gets hurt in the process. That is the power of addiction. So, we can’t love others and be addicted to sin at the same time.

So, instead of living to please our flesh, we need to put on God’s love, and love one another as God loves us and gave his life up for our freedom from slavery to sin.

By the Spirit
Galatians 5:16-17 ESV

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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.”

I hear so many people talk about how they continually “struggle” with (consistently give in to) sinful habits, as though Jesus didn’t already die to set them free. It is almost as though it is a badge that they wear.

And, today’s modern church facilitates the continuance of such consistent struggles with sinful practices, for it coddles them in their sin. And, it treats sin like a sickness that has no cure. And, it accepts lame excuses for continued and willful and even premeditated sinful practices which cause much harm to others, which go on sometimes for people’s lifetimes.

And, some churches even provide groups where these addicts can gather together to talk about how they fail continually, but not many of them actually counsel the addicts in how to be fully free from their chains. And, some of these groups actually discourage Bibles and reading scriptures and helping others to freedom in Christ, for they don’t want to offend anyone.

But, Jesus didn’t overly complicate it. He said through Paul that if we walk by the Spirit we will not fulfill (gratify) the lusts (desires) of the flesh. But, we have to walk by the Spirit, which means we have to have the Spirit living within us, and the only way that happens is by God’s grace through God-given faith in Jesus Christ which submits to Christ as Lord, and which forsakes sin and idols, and which follows our Lord in obedience.

It is not as hard to be free from slavery to sin as some people make it out to be. Will we be tempted? Yes! Will Satan “pull out all the stops” to get us to give in to sin? Yes! But greater is HE who is within us than he who is within the world. Satan has no power over us if we are truly in Christ. Jesus already won this battle for us. We just have to believe it, and we just have to put on his armor daily and fight off our enemy, and follow our Lord in obedience and in surrender to his will – ALL IN HIS POWER AT WORK WITHIN US!

Works of the Flesh
Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

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