Today in God’s Word
1 Kings 1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80
Paul explains in Galatians 5 that we can be led by two sources of “wanting” or desire. He refers to the Spirit and the flesh (Gal 5:17). We maintain the old sin nature and it operates like a foreign invader within us, but our charge is to yield only to the Spirit of God since we are new creations and we are no longer defined by this old man. We have a choice (freedom) to follow the holy desires that the Spirit of God gives us (Gal 5:1) or the selfish desires of our sin nature (slavery).
Paul tells us that the works of each of these are evident (Gal 5:19-21) and that if we are led by the Spirit, which is to say that we see the Spirit led actions in our life as opposed to the flesh led actions, that we know we are not under the law. This is very interesting. Being under the law seems to refer to being under a system of justification whereby we follow the law in order to be right with God (Gal 3:12), but Paul here says that when we are following the law, this is merely evidence that we are following the Spirit and are therefore not using the law as merit (Gal 5:18). This means that our living is evidence of our identity, not a means of becoming something. Remember in Romans 8:9-17 Paul lays this out plainly…we know we are his if we are led by his Spirit…he bears witness in us and we cry out to God as his children.
So the only right way to follow the law is as an outflow of our living in the Spirit (Gal 5:16). He says the law keeping “counts” for nothing…it does not merit us anything before God (Gal 5:6, 2:16). Faith at work in our lives through love for God and love of others is what matters. Do you catch what he said there?
Love is the greatest command. Love is the law (Luke 10:27). He is not writing the law off but he is saying that we accomplish the law from the start by faith. When we have an obedience of faith (Gal 5:11-14, Rom 1:5, 16:26) rather than an obedience of law we honor God and we rely on him rather than dishonor him by trying to prove our own worth (Rich young man vs blind Bartimeaus). Our law keeping does not merit us anything…faith is “counted” as righteousness (Rom 4:3-6).
The righteous (an identity in Christ) live by faith (have existence bound up in the cause of Christ and follow the law by an obedience of faith, see also Gal 2:20). May our faith result in a love for God and others not for the sake of establishing a righteousness (Rom 10:1-4) but to celebrate the righteousness of Christ, which has been “counted” to us who believe (2 Cor 5:21).
Soli Deo Gloria!