Galatians 5:9

Verse of the Day: Galatians 5:9

“A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.” – Galatians 5:9

Paul is writing to the Church in Galatia and in the above verse, he is telling them not to succumb to any so-called small sin, or any sin for that matter, for it will have an impact in their Christian walk.  Look at the two verses just before our daily verse.  Galatians 5:7-8, “You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?  This persuasion did not come from Him who calls you.”  Something they bought into was hindering their growth.  And it had nothing to do Christ.

This is very important for us to see.  Many times, we think we can get away with things that are wrong because we are strong in the faith.  It may be simply in our thought life, maybe it is in our desires.  Or maybe, it could be in our prideful attitude.  These things will have a negative effect on our relationship with Christ.  It is important that we stay in constant contact with God so we can hear what He wants us to do, but first so we can hear from Him where we are off.  A little sin accepted can destroy your walk, just as a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 3:28

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 3:28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

Back in the first century, there were many divisions within the populations.  Several would be the have’s and have not’s, basically the rich and the poor.  Then there were the dignitaries and the normal people.  Then there were the wise and the foolish, as decided by the different groups.  And of course, the free and the slaves.  Each of these groups were looked at very differently.  This was the way of the Greek and Roman rulers.  And these distinctions were many times accentuated in order for the aristocracy to place themselves at a higher level than the common folk.

When Jesus came, He saw things differently.  He focused on one distinction as primary regarding His purpose here on earth.  That distinction was regarding following Him.  You either followed Him or you did not.  And this distinction was not as strict as those of the Greeks and Romans, and even to some extent the Jews, because with them, it was very difficult and sometimes impossible to cross the divide they had imposed on the people.  With Jesus, you could move from non-follower to follower by making the decision to follow Him.

In the focus verse, Paul is laying out this same idea.  Within the Kingdom of God, there are no distinctions accept whether you are a follower of Christ or not.  Everyone is on the same level.  First he says there is neither Jew nor Greek.  He is not talking about their ancestral line, for that remains.  What He is referring to is at this level, all are saved in the same way, and all are intitled to the same privileges.  Jews often looked down on the gentiles, and I am sure vice-versa.  However, within the body of Christ there is no favoritism on account of birth or bloodline.  All confess their love and devotion to Christ, and all are saved by His mercy and grace.  The same is said regarding the slave and the free man.  Being a free man does not give anyone any special claims to Jesus and His grace.

In those days, the women was looked at as totally subordinate to the male.  In the body of Christ, again there are no special privileges associated with the person’s gender.  Both sexes are seen as being at the same level.  Now, this does not mean there are no distinctions in what each of them do.  In the parental role, women will always by the mother and the man will always be the father.  And there are other distinctions, especially where the Jewish law was concerned.  However, within Christianity, both have equal rights, privileges and equal blessings.  And, neither are more useful or important than the other.

We must remember that all who are truly Christians are all one in Christ Jesus; no-one is greater or less than any other. We must never look at anyone and think we are better or worse than they are.  We should never flaunt our spirituality simply because we have more credentials than someone else.  All credentials really are to show how we have been prepared for the work God has called us to.  We are all called to specific tasks.  Some to teach, yes.  But some to hospitality, others to helping those in need, and still others to reaching out to those who no-one else will.  We are all equal in the eyes of God no matter who we are or what our talents are.  We should see things in the same way as Christ did.  There are followers, then there are those we need to become followers.  Any other distinctions are truly irrelevant.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 6:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 6:10

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” – Galatians 6:10    

There is much that is involved regarding this Christian walk.  There is spending time with God in prayer, praise and worship.  There is reading and studying His word, as well as teaching about this life to those that are new in the faith.  But this verse lays out the heart of this life, doing good to others out of love.

In fact, we are called to do good.  “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.” 2 Thessalonians 3:13.  Also, “They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” 1 Timothy 6:19.  We must always be willing and ready to do good to all we come across.  There are many out there that struggle with making ends meet, having enough food on their table or have no way to get somewhere they need to go.  You will be doing them a great favor by helping meet their needs.

Also, there are times when we will go through sadness, grief or disappointment.  If we know someone who is experiencing this, pray fervently for them, visit them to encourage them and maybe just be there with them.  It is amazing how healing it is for someone to just be there with us.  These are beautiful times where we get to exhibit the love of God with people who need to feel it.

And who are we to exhibit this to?  To everyone.  For those who are Christians, God can work through us to reveal His love and purposes for them.  He can show them, through us, there is a purpose to the hard times they are in, and that He will never leave or forsake them.  Life is not always as we desire, even as Christians, but whatever happens, we can always be sure He has a good purpose.  And for the unsaved, it may be what God knows will open their hearts to the knowledge of His love and forgiveness which will bring them to salvation, either immediately or sometime down the road.

In closing, never weary of doing good. The verse just before the focus verse says, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”  Galatians 6:9. We should always do all we can to help, encourage, uplift and walk alongside everyone who we come across.  Who knows what their needs are, and how we could make a difference in their life if we do?  And besides, though not being the reason, when we do good, we will reap a reward from God.  Not a bad thing.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 1:10

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 1:10

“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.” – Galatians 1:10

Paul here is speaking to the church in Galatia regarding the fact that there were some within their church that were deserting the true gospel and were now following a false gospel.  In fact, he was amazed this was happening.  “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” Galatians 1:6-7.  The word gospel, which is the Greek word ‘euaggelion’, pronounced ‘yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on’, meaning good news, and in this context, the great news of our salvation being available because of the shed blood of Christ.  What Paul here was saying is that there were many leaving the true gospel and beginning to follow a message that was not good news or the true gospel.

Then Paul states that if anyone preaches or delivers a message regarding the gospel contrary to what he and his coworkers have already delivered, then they are to be under a curse.  “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!  As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!”  Galatians 1:8-9.

As stated above, the true gospel is the great news of our salvation being available because of the shed blood of Christ.  It defines the payment of the penalty of our sins by the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.  Therefore, a different gospel is one which denies the necessity of a simple dependence on what Christ did on our behalf, namely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

There are many false gospels out in our world.  The more prevalent ones are the gospels of Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism.  These do not even reference Christ but state the following of their god is the good news.  However, there are a lot of Christian cults that are deceiving many, such as Oneness Pentecostalism which teaches there is no trinity and the speaking in tongues is required for salvation.  Then there is Christian Science that says Jesus was not the Christ and there is no sin.  And Jehovah Witnesses that teach Jesus was Michael the Archangel, that He did not rise from the dead in Human form and the Holy Spirit is God’s impersonal active force, not a person.

And why do we switch to these false gospels?  It is because many teachers preach what man wants to hear, not necessarily what is true.  “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:3-4. This includes what is considered the prosperity gospel, antinomianism which states a Christian can sin because we are not subject to the law, and other Christian heresies.

In closing, it is not our job to preach and teach a gospel where the intent is to please men and seek their favor.  It is to preach the truth whereby men are told they are under the penalty of sin and only the death, burial and resurrection of Christ leads to salvation and leads to a Holy walk with Him.  Some will be angry and walk away because this is more than they expected or desire.  However, many will accept and believe this message and truly become a child of God.  This is our calling, and we need to put aside the teachings from wolves in sheep’s clothing and teach the full truth.  If not, then we and those who accept the message we give will come under a curse, and this is not a place we want to be. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 6:9

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 6:9

“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” – Galatians 6:9   

Adam Clarke, a British Methodist theologian and Biblical scholar said the following in His commentary on this passage in Galatians.  “Well-doing is easier in itself than ill-doing; and the danger of growing weary in the former arises only from the opposition to good in our own nature, or the outward hinderances we may meet with from a gainsaying and persecuting world.”  I have found this to be very true in my own life.   First of all, I do not desire to do what is wrong.  Unfortunately, I at times do things I really do not want to do; things I need to ask forgiveness for, and these are the things that I find hard to accept in myself.  Doing good is my heart’s desire, that being spreading the gospel, teaching the Word of God, encouraging someone who is down, discipling Christians, helping the poor and needy, and other things.  These good acts themselves, as Adam Clarke says, is easier to do.  However, it is the enemy which makes me weary in these things, both from tempting me to do something rather than serving God by serving His people, and by the negativity and harsh rhetoric against the truth of God.

However, we must never back down from doing good simply because others do not like, and actually hate what we do and who we are.  Paul did better for the cause of Christ than the vast majority of Christians, even though he suffered for it.  Let’s look at a few verses.  “Are they servants of Christ? I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death.  Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.  Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.” 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.  This is a huge list; however, Paul was willing to go beyond this.  “And coming to us, he (Agabus) took Paul’s belt and bound his own feet and hands, and said, “This is what the Holy Spirit says: ‘In this way the Jews at Jerusalem will bind the man who owns this belt and deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. When we had heard this, we as well as the local residents began begging him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? For I am ready not only to be bound, but even to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” Acts 21:11-13.  Paul was not going to stop doing good simply because Rome and the Religious leaders persecuted, tortured and worked to kill him.  He was probably physically tired, but He never wearied of doing the Lord’s work.

And why?  Let’s look at the second part of our focus verse.  “For in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” Galatians 6:9b.  In the end, no matter what happens to us here, if we do not grow weary of doing good, we will receive our reward, which will be infinitely greater than our sufferings.  That does not mean we do it for the reward, but we do it because we love the Lord.  “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23-24.  We are to do all we do in service to the Lord.  And what is the promised reward, our inheritance.  “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” Romans 8:16-17.

So, in conclusion, do not weary in doing good, no matter what that good is.  He has called all of us who are Christians to do His work, not necessarily the same work, but His work, nonetheless.  Do not tire of doing this work and end up stopping.  When you begin to feel this way, remember that God will reward us for all the work we do according to His calling.  When comparing the weight of His work and the coming reward, there is no comparison. William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

Galatians 5:22-23

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 5:22-23 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

This section of scripture speaks of the dichotomy of the flesh and the Spirit.  It starts with the following, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16.  He is telling Christians they must walk by the Spirit because then they will not focus and fulfil the things of the flesh.  This is so because if the Spirit of God dwells in and rules our heart, then the whole carnal mind will be defeated.  In other word, the only way to overcome the corrupt desires and propensities of our nature is to submit to the influences of the Holy Spirit.  And he goes on in the next verse to describe this dichotomy.  “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” Galatians 5:17.  Paul is saying here that both of these things are in opposition to each other.  As Christians, when we want to do what is right, our flesh wars against us.  But, if we want to do what is wrong, then the Spirit clarifies this wrong to you.  Paul spoke of this struggled in His letter to the Romans.  “For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.” Romans 7:19.  Paul himself struggled, but He fought it off and lived the life devoted to Christ. However, he was not under the law as the devout Jews were, for He was led by the Spirit and therefore was not under the law but was under grace.  “For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.” Romans 6:14.

Paul then says that the deeds of the flesh are evident, meaning they are well known and plainly seen.  He then lists them in the next three verses.  “immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19b-21.  Note the wording at the end of this verse, ‘inherit the kingdom of God’.  Those who inherit it will enter it.  Jesus tells us who will enter the kingdom of heaven.  “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Matthew 7:21.  It is those who do the will of the Father; those who walk in the Spirit. 

However, as our focus verse states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23.  These are the things that the Spirit leads us to do.  Note these are called the ‘fruit of the Spirit’.  Paul is using the analogy of a tree.  Living according to the Spirit of God produces good fruit, and likewise the deeds of the flesh as listed above produce bad fruit.  “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:16-20.

It is important that we, as Christians, focus our attention on being led by the Spirit of God and not our own fleshly desires.  Our flesh leads to all types of sins, while the Spirit leads us to bearing fruit that is pleasing to God.  And, as stated above, the flesh and the Spirit are at enmity with each other, in other  words we cannot be beholden to both.  It is either one or the other.  Therefore, we must decide which we choose.  We may desire to be led by the Spirit, but we may give in to our desires of the flesh.  If we find this is us, we must sincerely repent and turn away from these worldly ways.  We must sorrow for our disobedience to God, for this sorrow leads to repentence.  “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, but the sorrow of the world produces death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Galatians 6:1

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Galatians 6:1

“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted” – Galatians 6:1

Paul is laying out here how to address fellow brothers and sisters in Christ when they fall into sin.  Now this could be by surprise or ignorance, not realizing they were sinning, or out of the stress of temptation where they gave in to a sinful action.  Paul lays out how, as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we are to respond to those who find themselves in this predicament. 

He starts out by stating “we who are spiritual”. What is meant here are those who have not given in to these temptations but continued to live as they ought.  Theologian Joseph Benson says it like this.  “Who have received the Spirit of truth, grace, and wisdom, and who continue to live and walk by and in the Spirit.”  This is our responsibility while here on earth.  The more truly spiritual we are, the more we are to help our brothers and sisters in Christ to grow more in their walk, and in this instance, to help them understand the error of their ways and guide them back to where they ought to be.  And this is to be done in love and gentleness.  We are not to yell at them, embarrass or ridicule them, but we are to work to restore them in love and compassion.  We are to address the issue with them in an attitude of meekness and humility.  Yes, we are to correct them.  However, this must be done in love and not in arrogance and hurtfulness.  Our ultimate goal is not to shame them, but to bring them to repentance.

And taking this one step further, we must look at ourselves so that we will not be tempted.  We must be careful we do not allow ourselves to be tempted in the same manner or tempted to come across as other than gentle and loving.  This is a distinct warning that we look at ourselves as to carefully observe our own spirit and conduct, lest our eyes be fixed not on ourselves, but exclusively on those of their brother.  And Satan can and will work against us in order disrupt our work for God.  

Jesus said it like this, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.  But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17.  It is important that we do all we can to bring correction to a sinful brother or sister and bring them to repentance.  We cannot force the issue, but in love we must do what we can, being in prayer the whole time.

And finally, Paul wrote the following to the Church in Rome.  “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” Romans 15:1-3. Our focus as strong Christians are to take the responsibility to build up the weaker members of this body and not focus entirely on ourselves.  This is what Paul is saying in this focus verse, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.” Galatians 6:1.  Just as Jesus did not please himself but accepted the roles of dying for us.  This, we also should die to ourselves for the sake of the body.  “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Galatians 2:20

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 2:20 

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” – Galatians 2:20

Paul, in this passage, is laying out a distinction of our new life in Christ in opposition to our old life of sin.  In the verse just before this, he states that the law by which He lived under in his past he no longer lived under.  “For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God.” Galatians 2:19.  The ‘law’ referenced here is the Mosaic Law. He has come to the realization, through his conversion to The Way (Christianity) that salvation did not come through obedience to the law.  There was no hope in being saved through his own deeds.  In our focus verse, we see the reality he has come to understand.

When Christ died on the cross, it was not that we died physically with Him.  It was that He died for us, and the penalty for our sins was paid through His death.  Paul puts it this way in his letter to the Church in Rome.  “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23.  When He died, our sins were paid for because He had never sinned and therefore His death was for our benefit.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:16-17.

Because of this, we are to set aside our old life and put on our new life.  “if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught in Him, just as truth is in Jesus, that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit, and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ephesians 4:21-24. 

We are to put away those things from our old life that is sin and displeasing to God and put on those things which are good.  “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another. BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity. He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”  Ephesians 4:25-32.

It is important to understand that we are saved completely by the work of Christ on the cross: His death, burial and resurrection.  And this is purely the work of God and not by anything we could ever do.  It has nothing to do with following any rules. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:9-10. All that is required is that we accept the work He did for us. 

True acceptance of what He did is shown by loving Him above all else.  We are called to love the Lord with everything we have: all our heart, soul, mind and strength (see Luke 10:27).  And how do we show that love?  “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15.  We are not to keep His commandments because they will save us, we are to keep them to show our love for Him. And this love shown by the keeping of His commandments is proof that it is no longer we who live, but it is Christ who lives within us.  It was not us who saved ourselves, it was God’s sacrifice that saved us.  Put another way, it was not the keeping of the law, or following specific rules that saved us, it was Christ.  The keeping of His commandments is only the proof that it is no longer us who live, but Christ who lives in us.  Paul wants to make this very clear here in Galatians 2.  Remember, one sin condemns us.  We all have sinned; therefore we cannot save ourselves.  So the following of the law is of no effect, except to show our love for Jesus because of His salvation we have accepted.  What a beautiful picture of the grace and mercy of God.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Galatians 5:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:1 

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1

Timothy George in his commentary on Galatians states the following regarding our life in Christ.  “Christian freedom is the precious birthright of every believer, an inestimable blessing.”  And I wholeheartedly agree with him.  Freedom is a wonderful gift bestowed upon us because of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  However, we must be careful how we interpret our focus verse because there are some things which we do not have the freedom to participate in and still remain obedient to Christ.  One way this is practiced is libertinism, which is the practices or habits of life, disregarding any authority in moral or religious matters.  As Paul says later in this chapter, 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.” Galatians 5:13. We must never think our freedom allows us to sin, on the contrary, we must realize that, through Christ, we are free from sin.  “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin.” Romans 6:6. And John puts it this way, “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” 1 John 3:4.

Paul was not speaking of political freedom, as in the statement in our Declaration of Independence where it speaks of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It also does not mean we have the right to believe what we want to believe.  Nor can we interpret any verse any way we choose, for there is a specific idea expressed by God in His word that must be adhered to.  We must understand that for Paul, Christian freedom was always grounded firmly on our relationship with Christ.  Outside of Christ, human life or existence is based on bondage: bondage to sin, to the evil that dominates our world and culture. And very importantly, bondage from the law given to the Jews.  No matter what we try, we cannot do anything that will save ourselves and this is why God sent His Son to die to give us freedom from these things, and then sent His Spirit into our hearts as believers to awaken us to this new life and liberation in Christ.

Paul in Galatians quoted above the following.  “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.“  Galatians 5:13.  Paul is telling them that instead turning our freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but as an opportunity to share our love by serving one another.  As Christ served us by coming down and dying, we are called to serve others by lovingly helping them in whatever way needed.  This is what it is all about.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Galatians 5:13

Verse of the Day Devotion: Galatians 5:13 

“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.” – Galatians 5:13 

The salvation that Christ brought to us is a salvation of freedom.  Freedom from the law and the requirements to do certain works in order to guarantee our salvation.  His is a complete freedom from all the burdensome rituals and ceremonies of the Mosaic law.  His is a salvation of grace. 

Now, one verse above this we see that there were people, probably teachers, who were positing thoughts into their minds regarding the law.  The main idea he brings up is circumcision.  It appears they were trying to get new converts to submit to being circumcised.  “Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”  Galatians 5:2-4.  In those days, if a Jewish man, or one who is converting to Judaism via becoming a proselyte, was not circumcised, then in essence they were not accepting the covenant with God.   This was no doubt the part of the law that was pushed upon the new Galatian, believers by these false teachers.  Paul then, in verse twelve, in a sarcastic manner, tells the church he wishes these teachers would cut themselves off from the Church.  “I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.” Galatians 5:12. 

Back to our focus verse, after he informs the church that for freedom Christ set them free, he then warns them that this is not a freedom to sin.  Back when I lived in Central North Carolina, I met a young man in a church who was married with one young child.  During a discussion with him, he admitted to having an affair with another woman.  When I questioned him about this, he told me that because he was saved, he was free to do anything he wanted.  It was OK to sin because Jesus already forgave him.  This idea is known as Antinomianism.  It means ‘against the law’, which is the belief that since we are under grace, the moral law is of no use.  The verse often used is “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.  They obviously do not know what this mean.  However, they ignore a clear verse in Paul’s writing to the Romans where he says, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” Romans 6:1-2.  And we are to keep the commands of God.  Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15. 

In verse one we read, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore, keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1. He set us free from the yoke of slavery to the law and saved us through grace.  However, we are not at liberty to satisfy the desires of our flesh.  It is by grace we are saved.  However, Paul tells us that instead of being a slave to sin, we should, in love, be a servant to one another.  We should help each other in many ways, including their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  This is not to aid in our salvation, but a way to share and express our love for each other.  This is what we should be about.  Salvation is by grace, but our calling is, in love, reaching out to the lost and helping and teaching our brothers and sisters in Christ. 

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.