A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
Chapters three through five contain the most impressive argument for grace over law
in the entire Bible! The case is clear: Paul asks, “Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard?”
As Abraham demonstrates, salvation comes through faith, and anyone who thinks s/he can attain salvation by obeying the law is deluded. As Paul asserts, God’s covenant with Abraham pointed all along beyond the law to Christ: “For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in His grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.”
The law was always intended to make clear our need for salvation by faith.
“So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law!”
(3:25) The famous statement that there is no longer either “Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”
(3:28) is not about prejudice or inclusivity, it is about the fact, stated next, that “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The issue for Paul is not license, but freedom from humanly imposed oppression
. The Galatians have been offered a bill of goods
inviting them to remain slave to their own inadequacy instead of becoming free through the grace of God: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Freedom through God’s grace is always freedom to serve God.
So Paul says, “I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”
Then Paul lists the fruit of the Spirit, which accomplishes both the will of God
and the intention of the law. We are not to “become weary in doing good.”
Paul reemphasizes his point and then closes his letter.
What is your motive for serving God?
It should always be simply to please
Him; never to appease
Him. God is on our side: Christ’s death on the Cross on our behalf proves this. We must live on His side because this pleases Him, and not unimportantly it is also the fullest way to live.
Today, ask yourself how your life reflects the fruit of the Spirit
(in 5:22-23). If any of that fruit is missing, ask God to help you open your heart wider to His presence and transforming power. Then look for opportunities to grow in the areas where you need growth. Do not attempt this alone: pray for God’s help and ask that His Spirit might be more visible in your life.
© A. Eugene Pearson