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    July 3, 2018


    Freedom includes the responsibility to serve. What truly matters in the life of a believer is “faith working through love” (Gal 5:6; cf. Eph 2:10; Jas 2:14-18), and it is Christ who gives his followers the freedom to love others authentically (Gal 5:13-15). If a person is free, the question could be asked whether he or she can do as they please. The answer is “no” because the Christian has a greater authority: the Holy Spirit. As opposed to a regulation (the law), the follower of Christ is related to a Person, the Holy Spirit.

    Freedom, therefore, has limitations that are accomplished by the control of the Holy Spirit. One can only “through love serve one another” (v. 13) and forgive others (v. 15) by the power of the Holy Spirit. Of the fifteen “deeds of the flesh” listed in Galatians 5, none of them result in anything profitable (vv. 19-21). When a person is under the authority of the flesh, he or she will always fall short of God’s righteous standard (vv. 16-18). “The fruit of the Spirit” is essentially the Christlikeness that is to be manifested in the life of a believer.

    The nine elements of the fruit of the Spirit should be understood as a whole (vv. 22-23). A person is not entirely under the control of the Holy Spirit unless there is evidence of all elements of the fruit. A person’s life is defective when one or more aspects of the fruit are absent because Christ died to provide freedom from “the flesh with its passions and desires” (v. 24). The flesh is “crucified” when a person trusts in what Christ did for them on the cross, and thus becomes identified with Him. The Holy Spirit is the believer’s strength for living a life of harmony (vv. 25-26).

    As you are certainly aware, the Fourth of July is a national holiday in the United States (since 1941), yet the tradition of Independence Day celebrations began in the 18thcentury and the American Revolution. On 2 July 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence; and, two days later, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. From 1776 to the present day, the birth of American independence (and the resulting freedom therein) is celebrated on the Fourth of July, with festivities ranging from the elaborate to the more casual.

    The word “freedom” has many different meanings to people. Being in vital union with Christ Jesus, it means that the believer is freed from the bondage and tyranny of sin, and is, therefore,

    • free from condemnation,
    • free from eternal death,
    • free from fear,
    • free to fellowship with God and with other believers and thus to be fully engaged in the family of God,
    • free to forgive and love others in the same manner as God loves and forgives,
    • free from guilt,
    • free to live the fullness of life in Christ,
    • free to live as servants of Christ Jesus,
    • free to find satisfaction in obeying God and heeding his will,
    • and so much more.

    Freedom in Christ Jesus involves being liberated from slavery to self and the sin nature so the believer can enjoy a relationship with the Creator, who is love and who freely redeems. God’s freedom is enduring and true because it is dependent upon his unchanging (immutable) nature. What amazing truth to celebrate!

    Interim Bible Study

    is rescheduled in lieu of the Fourth of July,
    and is next Tuesday, 10th of July
    Room 123 CAP, Georgia Capitol, @ 12 Noon