Friday 24 June 2016

GALATIANS 5, v13/215
In Paul’s Letters he adopts the pattern of setting out doctrine in the first part before going on to illustrate practical application.

He has set out in Galatians the danger of listening to false teachers who tried to impose the need for new Christians first to accept the restrictions of Jewish Law and practice. Now in this last half of the Letter he is warning that freedom, if not properly applied, can turn into licence. Christian freedom given to us in Christ, demands self control. This passage is full of the mention of the Holy Spirit,

When I first entered Christian ministry I was inspired and influenced by a Baptist pastor who taught faithfully and fearlessly, and in simple terms, through a Bible passage. I have tried to emulate that style, but it can be difficult at these times when thee is so much liberal Christianity, and I have found there is nothing so illiberal as a liberal; they do not allow a contrary view or opinion, and tend to infer some kind of phobia or allegation of intolerance on anyone trying just to interpret Scripture as (I believe) God intended.

In this passage Paul is calling on us to obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance so that we will not offend God by following less than proper actions. When we follow our own inclinations we often engage in such actions as eagerness for our own pleasure, impurity of some kind by word or deed, jealousy, envy, hatred or pride.

When we are led by the Holy Spirit our lives will reveal love, joy, pace, patience, kindness, goodness faithfulness and self-control. Paul calls on us let the Holy Spirit lead us in every part of our lives.
The story of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is well known. The doctor, who was a respected London surgeon, had discovered a drug which caused him to change his nature and so do shameful things. When he came out from under its influence, he was ashamed of himself, but the drug was too strong to resist and in mental torment he killed himself.

There are two sides to all our natures, and often life is a struggle as to which one prevails. In the Christian life two forces between flesh and the Spirit compete. In the flesh, what we are by nature and fallen condition, but when under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we become the kind of person of which Jesus would approve. In the flesh, what we are by birth; and in the Spirit when we are born anew.

This is where baptism needs to be understood sensibly and theologically. In the baptism service in some denominations it is declared ‘that this child has been born anew (or again)’. It is both nonsensical and irresponsible to say a new born child, or a child of most ages, knows what being born again means in the spiritual sense. Before a person can claim to be born again, there has to be repentance from sin, and a confession of faith.

Christians will often face an internal struggle intensely as their own nature dearly wishes to follow a course of life which their spiritual conscience tells them is wrong, and the Holy Spirit will not let them feel comfortable with it. He will convict us by reminding us why Jesus died on the Cross.

The Church is often reluctant to speak frankly on parts of the Bible as many within, both lay and clergy do not subscribe fully to what is written, and often fall down on more than one sin.
It is still a fact that most of us who attend Church strive to live in the way we are called to do so, and to a great degree succeed. When we do fall we know Christ is waiting to pick us up, having given His life on the Cross to put us right with God.

For all those people who mock and ridicule Christians and the Bible, a time of reality will one day come when they will wish they had taken our way of life.

The Bible states ‘heaven can be entered only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad and its gate is wide enough for all the multitude who choose its easy way. But the Gateway to Life is small, and the road is narrow and only a few ever find it.

Make sure you choose the right road.


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