For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.

17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; 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 for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.”  Galatians 2:17-21

The apostle Paul understood the grace of God.  The reason he understood the grace of God is because he knew the man he was before he came to Christ.  Before he came to Christ the apostle Paul was a pharisee.  He zealously followed the law of God, but understood it was impossible to keep the law.

Before he came to Christ he thought that Jesus was actually trying to destroy the law.  He zealously tried to destroy the early church seeking out directives from the religious leaders to hunt early Christians down and throw them in prison.  Paul even stood with approval as Stephen was being stoned to death.

But on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul had an encounter with Jesus Christ in which Paul’s life was turned upside down.  He committed his life to Christ and God used him mightily to write a majority of the new testament and to begin to plant churches and advance God’s kingdom.  The apostle Paul was sent as an apostle to the gentiles.

He understood that righteousness was through faith alone.  The purpose of God’s law was to govern the nation of Israel because it was a theocracy through a covenant established with God.  But the law was never meant to lead to righteousness.  The law reveals the righteousness of God and reveals man’s need for a savior.  For when one tries to keep the law perfectly it is impossible.

There is only one who was able to perfectly keep the law of God and that was Christ Jesus.  This is why He claimed He did not come to destroy the law, He came to fulfill it.  In fulfilling the law of God it makes it possible that anyone who would placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ would have the righteousness of Christ applied to them.  It is only the precious blood of Christ that is perfect and is only able to wash away our sins.

This is why it is no longer us who live, but we live by faith in the Son of God.  Daily we die to ourselves, decreasing that He may increase.  May we daily fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ and desire and seek to know Him in a deeper way.  He has made the way of salvation possible through the cross and it is through Jesus that we are able to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.

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Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Romans 13:8 NIV

We are told time and time again in God’s word to love one another.  Jesus exemplified this in the way He lived His life and the way He laid down His life for us.  He didn’t have to go to the cross, but He chose to because of His love for us.  We are created in His image and the offer of salvation goes out to all people.  Those who receive what Jesus has done and placed their faith and trust in Him will spend all eternity in God’s kingdom.

The apostle Paul had to defend the gospel throughout his ministry.  Many tried to distort the grace of God; either treating it as a license to sin or falsely teaching that the gentiles had to keep the law.  The grace of God does not divorce us from walking in obedience to the Lord.  For before we come to Christ we are slaves of this world and the desires of the sinful nature.  But when we come to Christ we have been bought at a precious price and become slaves of the Lord and His righteousness.  Our lives no longer belong to us.  They belong to the Lord.

In loving others we fulfill the law.  When you examine the law it is God’s righteous standard and it is impossible for anyone except Jesus to keep the whole law.  But through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to walk in love.  For when we come to Christ it is the Holy Spirit who comes to live in our hearts and transforms us from the inside out.  May everything we do on this earth be done in God’s love and done to glorify His name.  For we are called to love God with our whole heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

17 But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely [p]upon the Law and boast in God, 18 and know His will and [q]approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law, 19 and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a [r]corrector of the foolish, a teacher of [s]the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who [t]preach that one shall not steal, do you steal? 22 You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast [u]in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God? 24 For “the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,” just as it is written.

25 For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice [v]the Law; but if you are a transgressor [w]of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. 26 So if the [x]uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who [y]though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor [z]of the Law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.  Romans 2:17-29

The apostle Paul had an interesting dynamic he was dealing with during the beginning of the church.  He had Jews who were coming to faith but who felt they were greater than gentiles because they had the law and the original covenant God established with Abraham.  But the point the apostle Paul was making is that having the law means nothing.

The purpose of the law under the Old Covenant is not meant to lead a person to righteousness.  The purpose of the law was to reveal man’s need of a savior.  The law of God was to govern the nation of Israel and as we see throughout Israel’s history that time and again they failed to keep the law.

A person is considered a law breaker if they break one jot or tittle of the law.  It is impossible to perfectly keep the law.  We who are born into sin are not able to keep the law because our sin nature leads us to sin and to break the law.  There was only one who was able to perfectly keep the law and that was Jesus Himself.

Jesus stated that He did not come to break the law, but He came to fulfill it.  Through perfectly fulfilling the law Jesus would become the ultimate sacrifice for humanity by giving His life.  This is why John the Baptist calls Him the Lamb of God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

The sacrifices of the Old Covenant all pointed to the sacrifice that Jesus would make.  When we study the Old Testament through understanding who Jesus is we see that everything points to Jesus.  Jesus is the center of all things.  This is why the gospels are in the middle of God’s word.  Everything before and everything after simply points to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and resurrection at Calvary.

The apostle Paul is trying to get Jewish Christians to understand that physical circumcision means absolutely nothing when it comes to being righteous before God.  Circumcision was giving to Abraham by God and it distinguished the nation of Israel from all the other gentile nations.

But the mistake many early Jewish believers were making is they were putting their trust in the law and circumcision.  Circumcision of the heart is what truly matters and this is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit.  When our hearts are circumcised we come to a place of true repentance and the Holy Spirit begins to transform us from the inside out.

The bottom line is that our faith and trust is not in our ability nor our performance.  Our faith and trust is built upon the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the focus of all things and it is because of Him alone that we are righteous before God.  We can always go boldly before our Father in Heaven simply because of our faith in Jesus.  Yes we may fall short at times, but our standing before our Father in Heaven does not change.  This is why the gospel message is so powerful.  God has freely offered us salvation, though it cost Him a great deal, He has offered it freely to us to any who would place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:7-15: For you, brethren, have been called to liberty

You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! Galatians 5:7-15.

The apostle Paul asks the question who hindered you.  The Galatians were abandoning the truth they had first received which was salvation and freedom through faith alone.  They were being influenced by the false teacher of the day and were turning to keeping the law.  They were trying to earn from God what God had already paid for by giving His own life.  The apostle Paul says that a little leaven leavens the whole lump.  He is referring here to the false teaching going forth that was infecting the church in Galatia.

Knowing God’s truth is vital for guarding our hearts and minds.  If we know the depths of God’s word we will easily recognize when we are being lied to.  The greatest deceptions of the enemy are the hardest to discern.  But the truth is that when we make the ambition of our lives simply to know God’s word we will recognize the lies of the enemy easily because we will be led and guided by the Holy Spirit.

Paul says that if indeed he himself preached circumcision then why is he still persecuted.  It is the cross of Jesus Christ that sets us free and not the demands of the law.  The demands of the law show us that in our humanity we are broken and unable to keep God’s law.  But through the cross of Jesus Christ we have been set free from the curse of sin and death.

Paul shows his intensity in the statement that he wishes those who troubled them would cut themselves off.  Paul here is referring to their sexual organs because when circumcision takes place it is when the foreskin of the penis is cut off and Paul demonstrates his intensity for God’s truth by stating that he wished the false teachers would go the entire way and cut themselves off.

Paul states that we have been called to liberty and freedom.  But the freedom we have in Christ is not meant that we would indulge in the flesh.  On the contrary the freedom we have in Christ enables us to walk in holiness with the Lord because it allows us to draw near to God with confidence.  Every hindrance has been removed by the precious blood of Jesus.  It is through faith alone that we are declared righteous and we are declared free.  When we truly examine the book of Galatians we see the foolishness of believers desiring to abandon faith and turn instead to the demands and requirements of the law.

Galatians 5:1-6: For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,[a] and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:1-6.

The apostle Paul was perplexed by the believers in Galatia.  The apostle Paul had gone there and established the church their in that region establishing the church on the truth that salvation and righteousness is by faith alone.  What the apostle Paul could not understand is why they would want to place themselves in bondage once again by following the demands of the law.

The false teachers who came forth proclaimed that the gentile believers not only had to follow the law but that they needed to become circumcised.  They claimed that without circumcision they were not truly righteous before the Lord.  It was only through following and holding to the law that they could be declared righteous.

But this is contradictory to Christian truth.  Salvation and righteousness are not a result of our works or our efforts.  It is a gift from the Lord by faith alone.  The moment we place our faith in Jesus Christ we are saved and we are declared righteous before the Father.  We are able to go boldly to the throne of grace with confidence.

When the apostle Paul writes of being estranged from Christ and falling from grace it is because they changed the confidence and faith they had in Jesus Christ and instead placed it in their ability to keep the law.  There is no grace when we are trying to follow the law and earn God’s favor.  When we live by faith alone we already have the favor of God upon our lives.  When we abandon faith and instead try to earn righteousness we are no longer operating by the grace of God because we have abandoned faith.

This is why it is by faith alone we are saved.  If humanity could earn their way to salvation they would have something to boast about.  But because it is by faith alone it is simply because of God’s grace.  Our focus in our relationship with God is our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus and the love that the Lord has for us.  Everything is simply about faith and love.  The reason the gospel is simply the good news is because everything we have from God is a gift and all simply because we have placed our faith in Jesus Christ.

 

Galatians 3:23-29:For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus

23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. 26 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:23-29.

The apostle Paul is writing from a Jewish perspective.  Every person who was of Jewish descent during the time of the apostle Paul knew the law and the importance of the law.  The law guided the lives of the Israelites after it was implemented after being set free from the nation of Egypt.  It was in the wilderness that the Lord gave the law to the nation of Israel.  The law was meant to guide the nation of Israel because the law revealed the righteousness of God and displayed to Israel how they were to be set apart as a people.

But the law was never meant to make a person righteous.  No one is able to perfectly follow the law.  The only one who was able to perfectly follow the law was Jesus Christ and this is why He is the only one who was worthy and able to die for all of humanity.  Jesus did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill the law.  The religious leaders of Jesus day failed to see Jesus for who He was because they had allowed the traditions of man to take the place of God’s law and their pride blinded them from seeing the truth.

It is through faith that we become sons and daughters of God.  In God’s family there is incredible diversity.  All of us come from a variety of backgrounds, but in Jesus Christ we are all one.  The one thing that connects every child of God is faith in Jesus Christ.  It is impossible for anyone to be a child of God without faith in Jesus Christ.  Many claim today that we are all children of God, but this simply a lie and deception.  It is only through faith in Jesus Christ that our sins are forgiven and that we are declared righteous before the Living God.  The difference between the Old Covenant and the New is that the Old Covenant was focused upon the law and holding to the law.  The New Covenant is focused solely upon faith in Jesus Christ and receiving all that God has for us.

God’s desire is that we would simply enjoy His love and His presence.  His desire is that His sons and daughters would walk in deep intimacy with Him.  That we would become lost in who He is and that our lives would reflect and glorify Him in all things.  Many fail to understand Christianity because they see it simply as another religion that is filled with a bunch of demands to be followed.  But what they fail to understand is that Christianity is a living relationship with the Living God.  We are able to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence and come to know the heart of the Living God and Creator of all things.

The Lord desires each day that we would simply take time to spend with Him.  That we would seek Him in the secret place and share our hearts with Him.  That we would make Him the priority of our lives in every area.  It is an incredible thing to simply meditate upon the reality that simply through faith we are sons and daughters of the Living God.  So many of us simply fail to enjoy our relationship with God because we are simply focused on trying to avoid sin.  But Christianity is not about trying to avoid sin, it is about simply drawing near to the Savior.  Because it is in His presence that we are strengthen and we are transformed.

Galatians 3:15-22:The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed

15 Brothers and sisters, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case. 16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed.Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,”[i] meaning one person, who is Christ. 17 What I mean is this: The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously established by God and thus do away with the promise. 18 For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on the promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.

19 Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressionsuntil the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was given through angels and entrusted to a mediator. 20 A mediator, however, implies more than one party; but God is one.

21 Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. 22 But Scripture has locked up everything under the control of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Galatians 3:15-22.

God gave Abraham a promise that he would the be father of many nations.  That through his offspring the world would be blessed.  This was fulfilled in Jesus Christ as Jesus was born of the nation of Israel from the tribe of Judah and was a descendant of Abraham.  Jesus came to give His life that all those who would place their trust in Him would be set free from their sin.

Long before the law was established and put in place God had established a covenant with Abraham.  Abraham was declared righteous before the Lord because of His faith in the Lord.  Again the purpose of the law is not to produce righteousness.  The purpose of the law is to demonstrate man’s need for a savior because when anyone tries to keep the law they will fail every time because it is impossible for broken humanity to keep the law of God.  The law of God was meant to lead and guide the nation of Israel under the Old Covenant but we who are in Christ today live under the New Covenant.  We are no longer bound by the law and its demands.

The law was given until and added because of transgressions until the Seed had come.  This seed is Jesus Christ.  Born to Mary and Joseph in the town of Bethlehem.  Jesus was a Jew from birth.  In the gospel of Matthew it traces Jesus linage through his father Joseph through King David to Abraham.  In the gospel of Luke it traces Jesus genealogy through His mother Mary all the way through King David, to Abraham, to Adam the first man.  Jesus is the promised Messiah and when He came, He came not to destroy the law, but He came to fulfill the law and in fulfilling the law He would be able to law down His life for all of humanity.  Any who place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ has their sins washed away and they are set free from the curse of sin and death.

The law of God is not an evil thing.  It is actually a beautiful thing because it reveals man’s need for a savior.  This is why when we understand the demands of the law and we understand the gift we have in Jesus Christ that we understand how awesome and incredible the grace of God is.  By simply placing our faith and trust in Jesus Christ we are declared righteous.  It is not based upon works or performance that we are declared righteous.  This is the beauty of the gospel that the King of creation chose to lay down His life for humanity.  We don’t desire salvation, but it is based upon God’s love, grace, and mercy.  His desire is that none would perish but all come to everlasting life.

Today if you have placed your faith in Jesus Christ spend time each day thanking the Lord for His grace and His mercy.  None of us are where we are based on our own strength, power, or ability.  Everything we do for God and His kingdom is simply because of His grace and His power working through us.  Let us hold fast each day to the faith we have in Jesus and seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

 

Galatians 3:1-14: You foolish Galatians

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?[a] Have you experienced[b]so much in vain—if it really was in vain? So again I ask, does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law, or by your believing what you heard? So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”[c]

Understand, then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham.Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: “All nations will be blessed through you.”[d]So those who rely on faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

10 For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”[e] 11 Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”[f] 12 The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”[g] 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”[h] 14 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Galatians 3:1-14.

The Galatians had made the mistake of listening to what the false teachers were telling them and putting their trust in trying to follow the letter of the law.  The absurdity of turning back to the law after placing ones faith in Jesus Christ is that it nullifies what Jesus did on the cross.  The entire purpose of Jesus going to the cross was to fulfill the law and His blood would wash away all sins making any who place their faith and trust in Him declared as righteous.  But what the Galatians did was that they had abandoned the truth of the gospel which is being declared righteous simply by faith.  The apostle Paul was a man who had to bring constant correction because when churches were planted and the foundation was false teachers would try to come in and destroy what the Lord was doing.  But the false teachers of the day simply were used to strengthen the church throughout time because once the enemy’s schemes are identified they are able to be recognized and this is when we walk in victory and freedom.

Abraham was declared as righteous not because he followed the law but because of his faith in God’s promise to him.  The law did not exist during Abraham’s day because it did not come forth until the time of Moses which was over 400 years after the time of Abraham.  Every person who places their faith and trust in Jesus Christ are children of Abraham.  A person is not a child of Abraham because of natural descent, but it is by faith alone that we are children of God.  God even told Abraham that the nations of the earth would be blessed through him and this was fulfilled through Jesus Christ and all who place their faith and trust in Him.

It is impossible to be declared righteous by following and holding to the law.  If a person is following the law and breaks a single letter of the law they are a law breaker.  This is why Jesus had to come.  God did not give His people the law so that they could obtain righteousness.  He gave the Israelites the law to demonstrate to them their need of a savior.  It is simply by faith that we are born again and it is simply by faith that we are declared righteous.  It is simply a gift from the Lord because of His love,grace, and mercy.  Those who try to hold to the law are simply under a curse and this is why it was so very foolish for the gentiles to turn their backs on faith in Jesus Christ and turn to following the law.  They were simply placing themselves under a curse once again when the Lord had set them free.

The whole point of Jesus sacrifice and following Jesus Christ is freedom.  We are set free from the enemy, we are set free from this world, we are set free from the law and the curse of sin and death.  We are simply called to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Today walk in the freedom you have through Jesus Christ.  Draw near to the Lord and simply spend your days meditating upon His word.  As you meditate upon the word of God and study His word the mind of Christ will develop within you and you will come to know your destiny and your purpose.

Gal 2:15-21: Know that a person is not justified by the works of the law

15 “We who are Jews by birth and not sinful Gentiles 16 know that a person is not justified by the works of the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in[d] Christ and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.

17 “But if, in seeking to be justified in Christ, we Jews find ourselves also among the sinners, doesn’t that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not! 18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, then I really would be a lawbreaker.

19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” Galatians 2:15-21.

The apostle Paul made it clear that no one is justified by the works of the law.  The law of God is perfect and it is impossible for humanity to keep it and follow it to the letter.  When God gave the Jews the law it was not so that they could obtain righteousness.  It was to reveal to them the righteousness of God and their need of a savior.

All of the early apostles were Jews by birth.  From the Jewish perspective a gentile was dirty and not part of God’s people.  They had an inherent hatred for the gentiles because they represented everything a Jew was not to be.

But God in His love, grace, and mercy opened the door of salvation to all people,  both Jews and Gentiles.  Those of us today who are not of Jewish descent are able to take part in all of the promises of God because of the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

The apostle Paul new and understood that righteousness was by faith alone.  Righteousness cannot be found in works.  Every good work a person does on this earth that they believe is going to earn their way into heaven is a complete lie.  You often hear people say they are good enough.  In God’s kingdom there is no such thing as being good enough.  There are only those who are righteous through Christ and those who are not.

All will stand before Jesus Christ someday and give an account of their lives.  When we stand before Jesus the only thing that will matter is whether or not we placed our faith in His finished work and who He is.  Good works will save no one because good works are not able to cleanse a person from the stain of sin.  The only thing that can cleanse the sin that exist on our lives is the precious blood of Jesus Christ.  It is through faith alone that we are declared righteous before God.

Gal 2:1-5: Then after fourteen years

Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy onthe freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.  Galatians 2:1-5.

The apostle Paul is giving a time line of his gospel and his meetings in Jerusalem with those who are in leadership.  In the body of Christ no person is an island to themselves.  The Lord did not give any of the apostles ultimate authority, but each one was given a position of leadership and was called upon to serve one another.

The apostle Paul was commissioned by the Lord to take the gospel to the gentiles.  The door to the gentiles receiving the gospel was opened when Peter went to the home of Cornelius by the leading of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit was poured out upon this gentile man and his entire household.

Paul meets with those in leadership and shares with them the revelations he has received concerning the Lord and the gospel he is preaching.  The Lord has distributed spiritual gifts throughout the body of Christ and when we give people the freedom to operate in those gifts we are able to experience the fullness of all that the Lord has for us.

But what was happening is that some were trying to infiltrate the body of Christ and teaching that those who came to Christ were required to follow the law.  Jesus fulfilled the law so this was a false teaching.  They were especially trying to force circumcision on new believers.  The purpose of Jesus death and resurrection is freedom.  Freedom from the curse of sin and death and freedom from having to hold to the requirements of the law.

Today we who are in Christ simply follow the leading of the Holy Spirit.  We don’t follow the demands of the law.  It is the Holy Spirit who convicts our hearts when we are doing something that we should not.  As we grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ the desires of the flesh fade into the background and the only thing that remains is a desire to seek the Lord with our whole heart.

We must come to understand the freedom and authority we have through the shed blood of Jesus.  We are no longer bound by the things of the past, but we are a new creation in Christ Jesus.  As we seek the Lord daily and spend time in prayer and the study of His word the Holy Spirit will lead and guide us into all truth.  As we come to understand the truth of God’s word in great ways we will walk in deeper levels of freedom.  The bottom line message of the gospel is that we are simply free in Jesus Christ.