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WHICH WAY IS LIBERTY?
(The Leaven of Legalism)
When we read these verses we read them as the Word of God, and
indeed they are. But you have to keep in mind that when Paul first wrote them
he was writing to a particular people who had a specific problem. Paul had
gone into the area of Galatia and had led people to know Jesus as their
Savior. He had preached to them the wonderful good news that what they could
not do, God in the person of His Son, Jesus, had done for them. Having
preached the gospel of the grace of God these people had been saved and they
were beginning to live the victorious Christian life. Shortly after that time
a group of teachers from Jersualem came and they said to the people of
Galatia: "Well, you're doing allright. It's fine to start off by grace, but
now you are going to have to live your Christian life by law." In other words
you get saved one way, but you live the Christian life the other way. So, Paul
is writing a letter to these believers who are tempted ta turn- away from the
liberty which Jesus has purchased for them and to go back into legalism.
This kind of thing had caused a great many problems in the church. As you can
imagine there was bickering and fussing going on between the different groups.
I thought verse 15 was a very vivid verse. It's really the picture of wild
animals. He's talking about how these believers were treating one another. He
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not
consumed one of another.
There you have the picture of Christian believers who are supposed to be
living in love with one another, instead they are like wild animals, snarling
and snapping. Paul says if you are not very careful in your fighting against
one another you are going to eat one another up, and absolutely destroy the
fellowship of love which God wants you to have. Paul is trying to bring them
back to harmony and to show them the ...
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