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The way of this free life of grace through Christ is summed up nicely in Galatians chapter five. If our lives look more like the fruit of the spirit and less like the selfish works of the flesh, we have understood all we need to know. God will continue His work in us to grow that good fruit and keep it pest free!

 

Galatians 5 ~ The Message Bible

The Life of Freedom 

Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law.

I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.

You were running superbly! Who cut in on you, deflecting you from the true course of obedience? This detour doesn’t come from the One who called you into the race in the first place. And please don’t toss this off as insignificant. It only takes a minute amount of yeast, you know, to permeate an entire loaf of bread. 10 Deep down, the Master has given me confidence that you will not defect. But the one who is upsetting you, whoever he is, will bear the divine judgment.

11 As for the rumor that I continue to preach the ways of circumcision (as I did in those pre-Damascus Road days), that is absurd. Why would I still be persecuted, then? If I were preaching that old message, no one would be offended if I mentioned the Cross now and then–it would be so watered-down it wouldn’t matter one way or the other. 12 Why don’t these agitators, obsessive as they are about circumcision, go all the way and castrate themselves!

13 It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. 14 For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. 15 If you bite and ravage each other, watch out–in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

16 My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. 17 For there is a root of [law born] self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. 18 Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

19 It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; 20 trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; 21 the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

22 But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard–things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, 23 not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. 24 Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good–crucified.

25 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. 26 That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

 

Do you see it? The contrasting of the works of the flesh, which comes from law-born living, and the grace-born fruit of the spirit?

 

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Neither Do I Condemn You…

by Jeff Pate on Monday, August 15, 2011 at 7:00am

And Jesus said to her, Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more. —John 8:11

I want to set you free today in the one thing that has kept mankind from enjoying eternal life, union with God through Jesus, and all His benefits now, today, in this present world—and this is in the matter of condemnation.

My brothers and sisters, God is not in the business of condemning you or anyone. It is neither in His nature or His will to condemn anyone. The scripture says, “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5]

If there is no condemnation in Christ, then there is no condemnation in the Father because whatsoever is in the Father is in Christ, and whatsoever is in Christ is in the Father.

When Adam and Eve fell in the garden, did Father condemn them? No, they were condemned by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—the law of sin and death. In fact, instead of condemning them, Father sacrificed an animal in a picture of the redemption of Jesus to cover their shame so they would not fear Him.

Please hear this: Father does not want you to fear Him. His desire is for you to see that in Christ you are eternally united with Him, and your relationship is not based on anything you have done, but upon what Jesus has done. You can look God directly in the face of Jesus Christ with all boldness and assurance of faith. There is no fear in love, and perfect love casts out fear.

“But what about when I sin?” you may ask.

When your conscience condemns you for something you’ve done or said, it is not God who is condemning. It is not the Spirit telling you how wrong you were. We have the assurance that God is never going to condemn us because God is greater than our conscience. The scripture says, “For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.” [1 John 3:19]

Let me tell you what Jesus has done to sin: Jesus was publicly crucified, condemned, and cursed in the view of the entire world to demonstrate that God is not going to condemn you because all condemnation from Adam’s transgression of eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the penalty of the law—the ministry of death and condemnation—fell upon Him. Father wants you to see Jesus crucified, condemned so that you will no longer be condemned.

Romans 8:3 says, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Because it was weak through the flesh, the law could not condemn sin, but only the sinner. God has never condemned anyone, but the law did condemn them, which is why Jesus was condemned as the sin bearer and therefore, God condemned sin in the body of His Son, that righteousness would be fulfilled in us.

There is no condemnation to you because of Jesus. Do not think that God is condemning you, for condemnation comes from the law of sin and death; and you have been set free from the law of sin and death. You can rest knowing that there is no condemnation to you, and that Jesus says to you, “Neither do I condemn you…”

 

http://www.bovministries.net/TruthAtFirstLight.html

 

Truth at First Light © Copyright Jeff Pate, 2011

Here is where a lot of grace people get tripped up – we’ve all heard this:

“Are you a rapist, murderer, fornicator, thief or a liar? Then you need the Old Testament Law to control you, to keep you in check”. (Based on 1 Tim 1:9-10).
They will say that if you have the Holy Spirit you walk in grace – you don’t need a system of rules. And this is true. But then they look at the works/acts of the flesh and start judging by the law, saying that anyone doing those things is sinning unless or until they stop doing whatever it is.

Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, 21 envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

In both passages, Paul is talking about the same thing – the works/acts of the flesh. The man who is not Christ’s and does not have the Holy Spirit is doing the works of the flesh. The works of the flesh are characterized by selfishness and doing harm. This is key. Love does not hurt and is not selfish.

Can we sometimes do hurtful things? Yes. We are human. But we are not doing works/acts of the flesh. We cannot. We are walking by the spirit. We don’t move back and forth between spirit and flesh depending on what we do. If we could, Jesus would have died in vain. We are in the kingdom and we are not doing the works/acts of the flesh. Try interchanging “works” and “fruit” as a way of seeing this.

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust [merely means desire – not something immoral] of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other, that you may not do the things that you desire. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

He then goes on to say this:

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit.

We know that Paul plainly states that those who are in Christ walk in the light and the spirit. So, one doesn’t suddenly leave Christ when he commits one of the acts listed as works/acts of the flesh. Why?

I propose that we confuse the works of the flesh with sin, meaning when we see someone doing fleshly things, we see them as sinning. But it is not so. Sin is known by the law – the very law that was meant for those who were not good or right – the law that was the guide to lead them (and specifically the Jews) to Christ.

Well, guess what? Christ came. He fulfilled the law. The law was done away. We only know sin by the law. No knowledge of law, no knowledge of sin. The scriptures say we are dead to the law and dead to sin. We have no knowledge or relation to either, like a dead man. The law has no authority over the dead.

In fact, the law was only for the Jews anyway. Without the law, every person since Adam has conscience, and either uses it to try and do the right things, or ignores it and acts selfishly.

What governs our behavior now, in Christ? The scripture says that grace teaches us godliness. Grace is best defined as the divine influence of God in our hearts. The aspects of grace look a lot like the fruit of the spirit that is produced in our lives. We don’t obey the law to be good. We are good (righteous) because of Christ. Our goodness is His goodness.

So, when we see someone who seems to be still doing the works/acts of the flesh, we have to stop and see that person as one who is free from the law and condemnation. There is none to accuse. Like Jesus, we cannot accuse or condemn. (But don’t confuse civil law with the law of Moses. If any violate a civil law, they will pay its penalty.)

Jesus did away with the Jewish law, took away the sins of the world, and that system is over. Jesus paid the penalty of the Jewish law. He also paid the penalty of death that came on all men through Adam. It is finished. Ungodliness is to continue in the law, and grace teaches us to leave the ungodliness of the law.

Our “morality” is produced by grace. Grace does not prompt any to hurt, or to act selfishly. Love does not act selfishly nor does it hurt. Love is the chief thing. It is fruit of the spirit, and will endure.

If we can’t walk in love, without condemnation (law brings condemnation), we are not operating in grace nor listening to the Holy Spirit. This is what Paul means when he says trying to finish by law means we have fallen from grace. The mindsets that conclude in sin are not coming from grace.

This is a follow up to the preceding post. They belong together, as they are commonly misunderstood together.


Galatians 5 (Amplified Version)

In [this] freedom Christ has made us free [and completely liberated us]; stand fast then, and do not be hampered and held ensnared and submit again to a yoke of slavery [which you have once put off].

[Who is free? Those in Christ. ~ my note]

Notice, it is I, Paul, who tells you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no profit (advantage, avail) to you [for if you distrust Him, you can gain nothing from Him].

I once more protest and testify to every man who receives circumcision that he is under obligation and bound to practice the whole of the Law and its ordinances.

[The one who puts himself, or anyone else, under obligation of the law, likewise is bound to practice the whole Law and it’s ordinances. ~ my note]

If you seek to be justified and declared righteous and to be given a right standing with God through the Law, you are brought to nothing and so separated (severed) from Christ. You have fallen away from grace (from God’s gracious favor and unmerited blessing).

[Fallen from the benefits of grace, but still Christ’s. ~ my note]

For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope.

For [if we are] in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith activated and energized and expressed and working through love.

[In other words, we are in Christ.  ~ my note]

You were running the race nobly. Who has interfered in (hindered and stopped you from) your heeding and following the Truth?

This [evil] persuasion is not from Him Who called you [Who invited you to freedom in Christ].

A little leaven (a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers) leavens the whole lump [it perverts the whole conception of faith or misleads the whole church].

[Who was unsettling them? It was the Judaizers – law keepers. If any are putting law on others, they are law-keepers too ~ my note.]

[For my part] I have confidence [toward you] in the Lord that you will take no contrary view of the matter but will come to think with me. But he who is unsettling you, whoever he is, will have to bear the penalty.

But, brethren, if I still preach circumcision [as some accuse me of doing, as necessary to salvation], why am I still suffering persecution? In that case the cross has ceased to be a stumbling block and is made meaningless (done away).

I wish those who unsettle and confuse you would [go all the way and] cut themselves off!

For you, brethren, were [indeed] called to freedom; only [do not let your] freedom be an incentive to your flesh and an opportunity or excuse [for selfishness], but through love you should serve one another.

For the whole Law [concerning human relationships] is complied with in the one precept, You shall love your neighbor as [you do] yourself.

But if you bite and devour one another [in partisan strife], be careful that you [and your whole fellowship] are not consumed by one another.

But I say, walk and live [habitually] in the [Holy] Spirit [responsive to and controlled and guided by the Spirit]; then you will certainly not gratify the cravings and desires of the flesh (of human nature without God).

[Walking by the Spirit applies to those who are in Christ. ~ my note]

For the desires of the flesh are opposed to the [Holy] Spirit, and the [desires of the] Spirit are opposed to the flesh (godless human nature); for these are antagonistic to each other [continually withstanding and in conflict with each other], so that you are not free but are prevented from doing what you desire to do.

But if you are guided (led) by the [Holy] Spirit, you are not subject to the Law.

Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you beforehand, just as I did previously, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

[Who? Those who are not led by the Spirit but who are subject to Law.

Believers do fleshly things, but grace teaches them godly things. They are righteous and the “sins” that they commit are not imputed to them. ~ my note]

But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].

And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.

If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]

Let us not become vainglorious and self-conceited, competitive and challenging and provoking and irritating to one another, envying and being jealous of one another.

[Paul is talking about how the world lives, which is not in Christ and not free, but is in bondage to the flesh. He is not saying that members of the body of Christ could or are doing things that would or could keep them from the kingdom!

He is actually talking about selfishness versus serving one another.

We are dead to the law, and therefore to sin.

This passage cannot legitimately be used to put any under condemnation or say they are not saved. It’s not about actions proving anything. It’s about what the flesh selfishly does and how in Christ we are walking in the spirit and are not controlled by the flesh.

 Again, we believers do fleshly things, but they are not counted against us.

 Further, fleshy things are not bad. Things are neutral, and all are lawful. But all are not expedient.  Why? Some things we do are abusive and harmful to others and that is not profitable or expedient, nor is that godliness.

Love is not selfish!

~ my note]

Steps to Spirituality?

1. Be born of the spirit

Gee, it seems like there aren’t any others…..

Romans 8:1-9 (Young’s Literal Translation – modified)

1 There is, then, now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; 2 for the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus did set me free from the law of the sin error (of Adam) and of the death; 3 for what the law was not able to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, His own Son having sent in the likeness of sinful (man’s) error-prone flesh, and for sin error, did condemn the sin error in the flesh, 4 that the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh, the things of the flesh do mind; and those according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit; 6 for the mind of the flesh [is] death, and the mind of the Spirit — life and peace; 7 because the mind of the flesh [is] enmity to God, for to the law of God it doth not subject itself, 8 for neither is it able; and those who are in the flesh are not able to please God. 9 And ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God doth dwell in you; and if any one hath not the Spirit of Christ — this one is not His;

Romans 8:6 (Easy-to-Read Version – modified)

If a person’s thinking is controlled by his sinful self, then there is spiritual* death. But if a person’s thinking is controlled by the Spirit, then there is life and peace.

*The Greek word is zoe, and the original wording does not support the insertion of the word, “spiritual”.

“Spiritual death” is not a scriptural concept. It is a construct of man’s theology, misunderstanding the penalty of death that was put on mankind in Eden.

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