by Margaret D. Mitchell
Week of September 25, 2016
"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'" -Galatians 5:13-14
God’s kind of liberty means to live freely for Him on earth as it is in heaven—the freedom to live a pure, holy life, according to His righteousness. His Word (Holy Bible) is our manual, and His presence is our power.
The words “freedom” in Galatians 5:13 (above) transliterates into Greek as “eleutheria,” which means liberty, especially from slavery. (And we know that sin is a form of slavery.)
Jesus Our Redeemer…
Jesus, Our Redeemer, paid the ultimate price for us to live freely through His gift of grace—on earth and eternally in heaven. Every inheritance He gave us at the cross is ours to receive when we believe in Him as Lord and Savior. Have you invited Him into your heart? Have you laid down your life to Him to do life on earth His way and to live eternally with Him in heaven? Is so…
Romans 8:15 assures us: "For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'"
Galatians 5:1 assures us: "It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery."
Romans 8:4 assures us: "...the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
So, as believers in Messiah Jesus, our true identity is in Him; we honor Him as we walk in The Spirit; and He has abundant blessings for us for doing so, even while we live on earth.
James 1:25 assures us: "But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does."
“The perfect law” here refers to Jesus’ fulfillment (completion) of the Mosaic Law. “The law of liberty” in this verse is the same transliteration as Galatians 5:13 above—freedom from slavery of sin. So we see here that “the law of liberty” is a God-created dynamic law of abiding in Him and doing for Him, for which He rewards our obedience. Like the scientific law of gravity (which God also created), the spiritual law of liberty exists, even if we do not see it or understand it.
God has given us the grace to do what He has called us to do. And it’s up to us to honor Him by obeying Him.
So to be clear, we are not saved by works. We are saved by grace, which we access by faith in Jesus, Our Messiah. And God also rewards us for our obedience to His precepts and for the deeds He assigns us to do on earth.
Temptations & Persuasions…
The enemy does not want us to receive God’s rewards. Where the world and our own carnal desires may try to tempt and persuade us to do life our way or the enemy’s way, we know that all sin is a form of bondage and does not lead to life but to death (Rom 6:16). Our souls (mind, emotions, will) must come into alignment with God’s truth to live a holy life. This is a process of sanctification that lasts a lifetime. In this process, beware to not fall for the enemy’s counterfeits and defilements of God’s truths. The enemy is a tricky liar and his only motive is to take you down. Do not listen to the enemy’s whispers. Be strong in God’s Word so that you can rightly discern His truth from the enemy’s lies (Heb 4:12). Renounce the enemy and all his invitations. Accept only invitations from God—The One who loves you more than you can imagine, The One who leads you to abundant life. The Holy Spirit will help you along your journey.
Law & Grace…
Both law and grace are God’s precepts. It is important to remember that the New Testament is a fulfillment of the Old Testament. The New Testament does not replace the Old Testament. To read the entire Holy Bible in the context of connecting the dots of the Old Testament prophecies (God’s promises) to the New Testament fulfillment of those prophecies is enormously enriching. Ask The Holy Spirit to give you revelation understanding as you seek Him and study His Word deeply.
Where the precept of law becomes especially defiled is where mankind has crafted rules derived from their carnal motives (not from God) that hinder God’s presence and power in people’s lives. The laws that were imposed by the ungodly priests and Pharisees in Jesus’ time on earth are examples of this travesty (John 7:32). To be sure, God’s law defiled arrested grace, and it can easily happen today, given an atmosphere of selfishness, pride, greed and envy.
God’s moral and “natural” laws (such as gravity) are very much in place today and are still applicable to our lives. Mosaic (moral) Law was fulfilled (completed) by the perfect grace of Jesus Christ, according to God’s New Covenant for us. And Jesus, Himself, assures us of this truth in Matthew 5:17: "Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill."
Some people also believe that God’s Old Testament ceremonial laws (Ex 23:14-19, Lev 23:4) of observing the Jewish Feasts are still applicable today as well because Jesus (a Hebrew and The Passover Lamb) honored Our Heavenly Father by observing them in the New Testament (Ex 12:14-17, 24-25, 13:10, Mk 14:12-17, Lk 2:41, 1 Cor 5:7-8, Matt 26:19).
Always submit unfamiliar precepts, any confusion, or uncertainty, emotions, opinions and teachings to the throne of God if you are unsure whether something is holy, according to His righteousness.
Simply pray, “Lord, I lift this issue up to You, and I ask You to reveal Your truth to me—to make it clear beyond a hint of doubt. What say You on this matter? Enable me to receive and know Your truth. Thank you, Lord, for Your truth.”
God will honor this prayer because He desires you to know and live in His truth.
To be sure, we can: "Act as free men, and do not use [our] freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king” (1 Peter 2:16).
And always remember: "Now The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty" (2 Cor 3:17).
What a free adventure discovering God and living for Him can be!
This devotional was adapted from Margaret's forthcoming book, "Enduring Grace." All rights reserved.