Monday, 30 May 2016
But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:18
In verse 16, Paul exhorted the Galatians (and thus us!) to “walk in the Spirit.” Now he says that if we “are led by the Spirit,” we are not under the law. To walk in the Spirit and to be led by the Spirit are the same concept differing only in that one is the cause while the other is the effect. It is the Spirit who should guide us. To understand this, we can look at the other option; that of the law.
If we are led by the law, then we will walk in precepts of the law. Paul is showing that the two are mutually exclusive. One cannot be led by the Spirit while being led by the law. One cannot walk in the Spirit if they are walking according to precepts of the law.
With the giving of a law, the knowledge of violating that law becomes known. When that same law is taken away, life apart from that law becomes possible once again. Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses, making it possible for sin (a violation of the law) to be dead in us. It also brought the possibility of being alive apart from the law through Jesus’ work. This is noted in Romans 6:11 –
“Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Now, because of Christ’s fulfillment of the law, in its entirety, the law is annulled for those who receive His work. Therefore, if we are in Christ, we “are not under the law.” Again Paul explains this in Romans 6 –
“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:12-14
Paul places “the law” and “the flesh” in the same category because of the requirement of circumcision. It was a work of the flesh and stands as representative of any deed under the law, or even of the entire law. Paul now shows that receiving the completed work of Christ and being “led by the Spirit” are in the same category. They are two entirely separate dispensations. Mixing them makes no sense; it is contradictory and one nullifies the other. If we observe works of the law, Christ is of no value to us; His work is annulled in us. If we are led by the Spirit, Christ is our hope; the law is annulled for us.
Life application: Stop with your works of the law! It is destructive and foolish.
Nothing on this earth will ever be as pleasing as the day we stand before You, O God, and receive Your words of approval – not for anything we have done, but for trusting in what Christ Jesus has done for us. Everything else is wasted effort. Your word asks us to boast in the Lord and so we shall! For all eternity we will hail the Lamb who suffered that we might live. Thank You for Jesus. Thank You for life eternal through His shed blood. Amen.