Galatians 5:18. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
I know we have already talked about not being under the law a lot so far, and we are not going to stop for two reasons: 1) the scriptures won’t stop talking about it, and 2) because the law continues to be your and my default.
In verse 17 Paul was contrasting the Spirit and the flesh-
Galatians 5:17. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
But then in verse 18 he says you are not under law. Paul has joined the ideas of flesh and law. Why? Because the law stirs up the flesh. You remember, that part of you that self promotes, self justifies, and is just plain selfish.
All this is in contrast to the life of the Spirit. That is, when we live from the indwelling life of Christ, we no longer desire the things of the selfish flesh, and therefore we no longer need to be under the law. And we no longer need to put those around us under the law. Why? Because we no longer need to prove our worth.
I know what your thinking, “I don’t put anyone under the Mosaic Law.” So this is where we need to be reminded that there is the big “L” law of the Old Testament. But there are also the little “l” laws in place in our own and others’ lives each and every day.
- Earning your way into other’s good graces.
- Connecting people’s misfortune to some sin in their life.
- Expecting people (usually family) to respond to you in certain ways in certain situations, and then, when they don’t, you get frustrated.
- Feeling like you have to always be the best at everything you do.
Little “l” law is any voice that makes us feel like we need to earn approval. Or be capable all the time. Or any self accusation. Think about why you don’t sin for example. As a good Christian why don’t you lie? Probably not because you see it as an act of faith or love. More likely you don’t lie because “good Christians don’t lie.” That’s law.
“To live is Christ” means that we are fully forgiven and fully accepted. Now we can do everything from faith and love. Not from trying to prove our worth. And if we can begin to live in this freedom, maybe we can begin to offer freedom to others as well. We can set people free from them having to prove their worth to us.
Can you recognize where you are still living under law (often this is hard to recognize in our own lives and we need tge help of honest and loving friends)? Can you recognize where you are placing those around you under law?