Page 11 - December 2018 - Truth & Tidings
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is far more effective than the speed limit   a personal relationship with God.
        sign beside the highway. The Spirit is that
        Person within you, for you are no longer a   The Effect of the Law
        slave to sin but a son of God. Your personal   Law-keeping focuses attention on per-
        relationship with God excludes the need   formance, resulting in pride or guilt. If
        for external constraints. As sons, we have   I satisfy a given rule, I feel good about
        liberty by the Spirit of God. By walking in   myself. If I fall short, I feel guilty. Legal-
        the Spirit, we fulfill the law through love,   ism gives opportunity for comparison
        not fulfilling the lusts of our flesh, and we   and pride to creep in destructively among
        display the attractive fruit of the Spirit (Gal   believers. Perhaps subconsciously, we
        5:14, 16, 22-24).                    judge each other’s  performance  based
          Law-keeping is of no value in stopping   on our viewpoint, and sow the seeds of
        the indulgence of the flesh (Col 2:23). The   superiority, which ripen into fruits of
        law cannot bring our fleshly nature into   contempt. Spiritual believers know there
        subjection, but only makes its errant nature   is no competition because we are united
        more apparent. But those who belong to   in Christ. When we measure and compare
        Christ have crucified the flesh with its af-  ourselves with one another, we are without
        fections and lusts (Gal 5:24).       understanding (2Cor 10:12). Apparently,
          Law-keeping cannot give assurance   the law-keeping Galatians needed a cau-
        of salvation, but the gospel brings with   tion against arrogance (Gal 5:26).
        it much confidence (1Thes 1:5). The law   When I fail to measure up to some stan-
        condemns, but the fruit of the Spirit is joy.  dard, I am, by that rule, a failure. Repeated
                                             perceived failure will bring guilt and
        The Appeal of the Law                doubts. Am I even saved? How could I act

          There were believers in Galatia who   like that? God does not want His children
        wanted to be under the law (Gal 4:21);   to live with guilt. Guilt should always drive
        Satan had charmed them with false repre-  us to Christ, and then we must leave it, in
        sentations (Gal 3:1). Perhaps law-keeping   prayer, at the foot of the cross.
        was familiar to them and comfortable, as   Neither pride nor guilt is healthy for
        rule-keeping becomes. When everyone   believers. Both will wreak havoc on my
        around you follows the same ordinances, it   spiritual life, and the devil gains a critical
        brings a sense of significance and security.   foothold when I direct my concentration
        But faith does not lean on the crutch of fa-  away from the cross of the Lord Jesus and
        miliar tradition but walks with a gracious   fixate on my performance. But why are we
        reliance on God.                     so worried about performance? Are we not
          In a sense, rules make life simple because   secure in what Christ has done? Are we try-
        basic behavior is specified, but such a life   ing to add to the work of Christ, as did the
        is shallow and only focuses on outward   Galatian believers? Instead of assessing my
        appearance. It attracts individuals who can   actions by a standard, I should be develop-
        keep rules without addressing the spiritual   ing my consciousness of Christ in me, Who
        need of the heart. Believers can appear   by His Spirit circumscribes the parameters
        spiritual if they do what is expected at the   of my behavior. Since the eternal life we
        right time and place. It can be a way to find   received was by the Spirit, let us also walk
        acceptance with people without cultivating   by the Spirit (Gal 5:25).

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