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Liberty, Not License

(Galatians 5:1-15)

Lesson 12 -- second quarter 2005
May 22, 2005

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2005, Christian Light Publications

Probing Your Own Heart

Whose servant are you?

How well are you running?

Building on Some Foundational Concepts

Trying to find our righteousness through the Law makes Christ useless to us.

Romans 4:25 clearly declares that Jesus "was raised again for our justification." When we seek our justification and righteousness through any other means, we render Christ ineffective in our lives. This is true even when we "only" try to "supplement" Christ's work in our lives with a few of our own works. Furthermore, we cannot effectively mix Christ and the Law. Not only does counting on a bit of the Law make Christ profitless to us, it also makes us "a debtor to do the whole law" (Galatians 5:3). Christ or nothing, because Christ is everything!

Because of Jesus, faith works.

Power for living does not come from living after the Law. Yet neither will we find any power for living by not living after the Law. Embracing the Law empowers no one; neither does rejecting it! In Jesus Christ, power for living comes by "faith which worketh by love" (Galatians 5:6). Christ's love in us motivates and empowers our faith to express itself through good works. If our faith fails to do that, it is dead (James 2:26) and, therefore, just as powerless as the works of the Law.

Christ's love in us fulfills the Law.

The previous two sections sound like the Law has been cast away for good and we have no obligation to concern ourselves with it any further. How interesting, then, to read Galatians 5:13,14. The liberty we have been called to in Christ is our launching point (see occasion -- Strong's: 874) for love-induced service to others. When we exercise our Christian love and liberty to serve others, "all the law is fulfilled"!

Questions and Responses

From what has Jesus set us free?

Jesus has set us at liberty from the yokes of the Law and of the flesh. We are free from the impossible task of finding righteousness through the Law. We are free from the tyranny of selfish living.

Are we to avoid the Old Testament Law altogether?

We have been delivered from the Law (Romans 7:6) in at least two ways. First, we do not look to it for right standing with God. Second, we do not depend on it for right living. Our focus is Jesus, who has fulfilled the Law. In the New Testament we find the clear revelation of Jesus and a clearer revelation of the will of God. The New Covenant frees us from many Old Testament laws because they have been fulfilled in Jesus. Other Old Testament laws and precepts receive deeper and fuller meaning because of Jesus.

What does Galatians 5:3 mean?

If anyone is going to try to find favor with God by adhering to one demand of the Old Testament Law, he obligates himself to do the entire Law. God (through Paul) was telling the Judaizers, "If you are going to insist on circumcision because of the Law, then you are also bound to other dimensions of the Law such as sacrifices, diets, and the Sabbath."

To what kind of liberty has God called us?

Jesus has set us free from the Law to serve Him. He has set us free from sin to serve righteousness. He has set us free from ourselves to serve one another.

Why has God given such high value to loving my neighbor?

Perhaps this part of 1 John 4:20 reveals the answer: "For he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"

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