The theological "belief-system" of contemporary Christian religion has given definitions to most Biblical words which have a narrow, historical, static connotation, rather than an on-going dynamic meaning.
This has disallowed many Christians from properly understanding the Scriptures, in that they approach the text of Scripture with a static prepositional "grid" of vocabulary and understanding.
It is not that the "popular", orthodox definitions are inaccurate, per Se, only that they are inadequate to convey the vital, Spirit~empowered activity of Christian life.
The need exists to explain the dynamic implications of these Biblical words, and that in complete accordance with their original etymological and linguistic meanings.
It is common knowledge that the word "gospel" means "good news."
The question we must ask is" Good news of what?
Many perceive "gospel" to be the good news of the Christian "belief-system," or the good news of the formulated doctrines of the Church.
Others may think of the good news of the historic advent of Jesus as recorded in the four Gospel narratives of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
The deficiency of these definitions is evidenced in the static quality of both history and theology.
This historicizing and theologizing tendency was evident even from the first century of Christian history.
Ignatius used "gospel" in the dynamic sense of Christ as center and goal of salvation history, but in Iranaeus, Eusebius and Clement of Alexandria the word "gospel" came to designate a tradition, a corpus of teaching, a book or books.
As Gerhard Friedrich indicates in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, "The gospel records an historical event, but this event transcends ordinary history.
Similarly, it consists of narratives and teachings, but it also relates to human reality and shows itself to be living power." (Dynamic) "It cannot be grasped in the ordinary way; divine revelation takes place in it.
Martin Luther concurs by writing, "The gospel is not in truth that which is written in books and set down in letters, but rather a spoken message: living word..." (Dynamic)
A more dynamic definition might then be that the "gospel" is the good news of the vital indwelling life of the risen Lord Jesus Christ by which mankind is restored to functional humanity as God intended.
Paul states his theme for Romans, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power (dunamis~dynamic) of God for salvation to everyone who believes..."
There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the gospel.
Some would believe that they are preaching the gospel to you when they are telling you, "You can have a purpose for your life," or that you can have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ."
All those statements are true, and they are important, but they don't get to the heart of the gospel.
Why is the gospel called the "Good News" then?
Because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this:
God is holy and He is just, and I'm not.
And at the end of my life I am going to stand before a just and holy God, and I'll be judged.
And I will be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness-or-lack-of-it- or the righteousness of another.
The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ lived a life of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people.
He has done for you and me what we couldn't possible do for ourselves.
But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered up Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.
For God to forgive you and I was a very costly matter.
It cost the sacrifice of His own Son.
So valuable was the sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead!
So that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification before God.
So the gospel is this objective.
It is the message of who Jesus Christ is and what He did.
The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our own works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith- and faith alone.
The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ's life and death is by putting your trust in Him- and in Him alone.
You do that and your declared just by God, you're adopted into His family, you're forgiven of all your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.
A great deal of discipline and austerity will be found in the life~style of true prophets in the days to come.
Unless they are exceedingly careful, they could fall into the trap that destroys prophets: the trap of a legalistic approach to God, thinking that this is the only way to get a Word from God.
Therefore, we must define circumcision and grace respectively, in order to measure up to what God wants and not fall back under bondage.
The fifth chapter of Paul's epistle to the Galatians is like a great charter of all liberty and grace.
Read in its entirety, verse by verse, it will be more than just a review of doctrines; it will penetrate your very being until you begin to think and feel and to react according to its phrases.
If you are not careful, these terms and phrases will only become mechanical to you; but if you absorb the meaning of them, they will become tremendously liberating.
We must be free in Christ.
For freedom did Christ set us free (the purpose of freedom is freedom): stand fast therefore, and be not entangled again in the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1.
Notice that bondage is defined here as a yoke.
However, the word "yoke" does not always have a negative connotation.
Paul wrote to his true "yoke-fellows" (Philippians 4:3).
Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you..." (Matthew 11:29).
The yoke is pictured in the New Testament as the symbol of harnessing us for service and for the battle before us.
It ties us irrevocably to another, to Christ, or to a fellow~worker.
To be true yoke-fellows may look like bondage, but it is not.
There is a difference between a yoke of bondage, a yoke of service, and a yoke of love.
Galatians 5 deals with the origin and nature of bondage.
Whether that bondage comes through the flesh at one extreme, or through religion, it is still the yoke of bondage.
God does not desire to see us under a yoke of bondage.
In Galatians 5, "circumcision" is applied as a term of religious bondage.
Behold, I Paul say unto you, that, if ye receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.
No statement could be more blunt.
What is circumcision?
Circumcision is an outward religious sign or expression or ritual or austerity of the flesh that is given as evidence of God's acceptance.
It may also be a rule by which one is accepted.
At the beginning, Abraham received the sign of circumcision, because he had been accepted and had received a covenant with God (Genesis 17:9-14).
When God gave him this sign, Abraham was uncircumcised; but he received the covenant by faith.
The minute you divorce the faith of Abraham from the circumcision ritual, you have destroyed it.
Nothing profits from it; nothing of any benefit results.
Do you see why we must be careful not to set certain standards and rules and regulations whereby prophets are accepted?
God forbid that we would ever create an order of prophets who all wear sackcloth or burlap, and hold their austerity to the flesh as a sign that they are accepted by God.
The Word says that if we were to pursue such a course, Christ would profit us nothing.
That is why Jesus condemned the Pharisees.
There was no evidence of any spiritual walk among them, but they had all kinds of outward evidences, religious rituals and observances- pool it all together and call it circumcision.
Circumcision signifies that something has been cut off.
Circumcision was a ritual by which the foreskin of the male was cut off.
This was supposed to be a sign of God's acceptance of Abraham and all of his descendants.
There is still disagreement about circumcision from a medical viewpoint.
For quite a season doctors circumcised boy infants almost immediately after birth, because it could be done easily when the child was very small.
Now there is a growing tendency to believe that the foreskin should remain and that circumcision makes no difference in promoting better health.
Circumcision came into the picture because it was originally a sign of God's favor upon Abraham and the covenant of faith that God had made with him.
But if it becomes just an austerity of the flesh to prove that a man is accepted by God, and if it is like the word "shibboleth" that at a certain time some had to pronounce to prove that they were people of God (Judges 12:6), then true freedom will not work for us.
Yea, I testify again to every man the receiveth circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
As soon as a man attempts to please God by religious ritual, then he has to please Him in every respect.
He then loses the benefit of substitutionary righteousness, transference of righteousness, and identification with Christ's righteousness.
He loses it all the minute he undertakes to be righteous in his own self.
A spiritual walk with God cannot be a program of discipline. It has to be an appropriation from God.
Ye are severed from Christ, ye who would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.
Righteousness has to come from an outside source by a miracle transference of nature until you are
Otherwise, you will try to generate righteousness within yourself.
Religious people without faith set about to build up their own respectable righteousness through discipline, asserting that every day in every way they are becoming better and better.
They would be the type that loves the slogan, "WWJD", (What would Jesus Do) since they are at the controls of their own righteousness.
In their eyes and by the standards which they have established, they claim to be accepted by God.
That typifies the oldest religious effort there is.
It was manifested at the tower of Babel, when men tried to build their own way up to heaven (Genesis 11:1-9).
You do not work up to God; God
reaches down to you.
In no way can you come with any works of righteousness that have a merit before God.
You do not work up to the cross to receive salvation, but you surely work diligently from the cross.
As soon as God takes hold of you, you go to work.
Because your life is redeemed, you are qualified.
But you do not work up to God.
When God touches you, you work outward from what God has done in your life.
God lifts you to Himself, and you reach into Him.
If you try to take the stairs, you will never get there.
Take the elevator.
Take His provision.
Be lifted into His very presence.
Paul said, "You are fallen away from grace if you believe that righteousness is generated from within you."
No real righteousness can come forth that way.
That is why the Law was imposed in the Old Testament; every man making an effort to keep it would be proven a sinner before God.
The Law came to give the knowledge of sin.
If there were no Law, we would not know what sinners we really are.
The Law came that we might see sin to be exceedingly sinful and realize that we cannot with our human nature produce in any way the righteousness that God will accept.
The Law had to come in order to reveal the fact that grace was the only route, yet invariably believers are deceived into trying to keep a few rules and regulations to be righteous (WWJD).
You absolutely will not be righteous because you keep certain laws, even if you write your own laws (which is what many people do).
Galatians 5:5 presents the way to righteousness so simply.
For we through the Spirit by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.
Righteousness has to come from an outside source to our inward nature.
We do not produce it, but we actually receive
righteousness from another.
What can we do for that righteousness?
Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness (James 2:23).
God, foreseeing what He would do through Abraham, reached ahead to the work of the cross by which salvation was to come; and because Abraham was faithful to believe, God accounted the righteousness of Christ to him and laid it all before him.
Abraham was righteous in God's sight, even though he still made many mistakes.
As we walk on with the Lord in these times, there is no reason we cannot have a far greater understanding of righteousness than Abraham had.
This is a time that the Lord is going to rain righteousness upon us.
Hosea 10:12 says that it is time to seek the Lord until He comes and rains righteousness upon us.
The work that Christ does in the earth will be finished quickly in righteousness (Romans 9:28).
The King James version says that He will cut it short in righteousness.
We may need to increase austerity and discipline in our approach to God, but this does not mean that we can attain righteousness through that.
We must discipline ourselves to the course of faith and to the course of grace, not to the course of law. Let us give ourselves over to the grace of God and believe for Him to rain righteousness upon us.
The Body of Christ today will not be focused on cleaning itself from the little problems of people who walk into the spiritual sanctuary of God with "muddy feet."
Those who come from a background of sin where they have become tolerant of sin and abounding iniquity and the changing moral standards often do not even have a conscience about sin.
But God says to them, "I will make you clean and righteous. What counts now is not what you were, but what I am going to rain upon you. I will give you My righteousness."
We shall never be able to come into true righteousness by all sorts of discipline.
Although we are not under the Law but under the grace of God, and God does not look upon us to enforce little rules and regulations, yet God's sense of righteousness and holiness remains the same whether we are under the Law or under grace.
What God wants out of us does not fluctuate.
God looks at a the man who is under the Law and He says, "You will never make it because your righteousness is like filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6).
He looks at the man who sees grace as only an excuse to cover up his sin nature, and He says, "That is not grace either."
Grace brings a hope of righteousness and a faith.
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision (the austerity of the flesh that tries to please God) availeth anything, nor uncircumcision.
The Christian world is filled with people who through the years have taken truths from the Word of God, and instead of finding the spirit of them, they let them deteriorate into a legalistic observance.
For instance, some people cling to religious modes of dress.
Such customs have become to them like circumcision, a sign of goodness that they hold; but in truth they are filthy rags.
Christ said that the outward appearance of the pharisee is like a whited sepulcher, beautifully polished but rotten inside, filled with dead men's bones (Matthew 23:27).
Inside is the filth and the evil just the same.
We certainly do not want that form of deceit. Dead men's bones are dead men's bones.
Whether you polish the outside of the tomb of circumcision, or rip it open and let the bones lie there in plain sight, they are still filthy bones.
The basic nature of sin is still there.
If circumcision does not avail anything, and uncircumcision does not avail anything, then what does?
But faith working through love.
Take hold of God, and let Him transform you.
You can change, but because of willpower and a regimentation of your thinking and of your life.
You will change because you are going to be a believer.
When you believe, God's nature will be given to you and imparted to you.
All change comes from outside of you.
It is not generated within you.
It comes to you, and it is put within you; then it grows and develops.
God gives you a transplant of righteousness.
He takes out of you a heart of stone, and he puts in you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).
He takes out the heart of wickedness, and he puts in another heart.
Medical science has begun to make heart transplants, but God was doing this first.
He promises to take out of you what is wrong and put in you of Himself what is right.
God imparts and imputes His righteousness to you.
God sees you functioning with His heart, His faith, and walking in His righteousness, and He exclaims, "That is better!"
You look up and say, "I love you, Jesus."
And He responds, "You love Me because I first loved you. If I had not beamed My love to you, it would not have transformed you.
You are only loving me back with my own love. You are believing with My faith. You are walking in My righteousness and in My holiness. You are moving in My power and in My grace."
This is what is acceptable in the sight of God.
This is righteousness that you want. God wants to bring it forth in you.
Embrace it to your heart!
Let the Lord minister to you and make it alive to you.
We seem to sense our total dependency on God's grace in elementary salvation, but then we forget it.
We start a new life in the grace of God, but later we tend to think that it is all up to us.
There is an austerity and a diligence that we must exercise, and the Word constantly exhorts us to that.
The only caution is not to go back to deadly legalism, thinking that we can produce righteousness of God.
The Galatians fell into a great deal of difficulty when they forgot that the only thing that works is faith working by love.
Paul wrote to them, "Ye were running well; who hindered you that ye should not obey the truth?"
He looked at all of the Galatians who had fallen, and he said, "You were doing well running the race. Who tripped you? God did not trip you. These hindrances must have come from some other source."
Hindrances come from the devil and from our own flesh. If we are not open to them, we will not be subject to them.
Above everything else, remember that Satan is a religious spirit who comes as an angel of light, and his ministers are transformed as ministers of righteousness (II Corinthians 11:14).
There will be those who will rise up full of the devil, using their egotistical religious judgment to condemn those who are really walking with their God.
That is the way the devil comes.
More people will go to hell over religion than will ever go to hell over sin.
Would you like to have that explained?
First of all, sin is sin, and every human born is shaped in iniquity; thus all are assumed to be condemned already (Psalm 51:5).
But how many will go to hell as sinners with a focus on religious observances which make them think they are going in the right direction?
That is where the great multitudes are being deceived.
Everyone has some kind of religion, even atheists.
The Russians who do not believe in God are building seminaries that train people not to worship God.
Representatives of the Greek Orthodox Church of Russia are predominant in the World Council of Churches.
Men raised and steeped in atheism are controlling many Christian churches.
Years ago, a preacher came to a sawmill to preach.
The lumberjacks were rough, accustomed to going into town to carouse and drink, and they did not want to hear any preacher tell them that they were sinners.
But they agreed to listen the next Sunday if they could give him the subject.
The deal was settled.
The next Sunday the lumberjacks all sat down and said, Reverend, we decided that you are to preach on the subject, "To hell with Religion."
That was like baiting a bear, and so the preacher then preached on how people were going to hell with religion.
It is not how orthodox you are that counts; it is how transformed you are.
A man may be very orthodox in his style of religion and adhere to it very closely; yet all his he is doing is going through an outward religious sign or ritual or austerity of the flesh as his evidence to the world that he is accepted by God.
But God does not accept that, and such a man will go to hell with religion.
Paul wrote to the Galatians, "You were running well, Who tripped you?"
When you slip back into that legalistic pattern, you will fall on your face every time.
He asked, "Where is the joy? Where is the blessedness that you spoke of?" (Galatians 4:15).
Whenever God is performing a work in your life, there is joy and a rejoicing in everything.
When that goes, it is just a heavy burden, and you are carrying your heaven on your shoulders.
This persuasion came not of him that calleth you. (It did not come from God.)
A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
Every time we see that little leaven of legalism, it should strike a godly fear in our hearts.
How we must keep it out before it permeates everything!
It reaches through to a person's spirit.
You can see it in a person, but you do not know how to stamp it out.
Even after almost all of it has come out, the little that remains will start festering again and corrupt the whole nature of that person.
Legalism is deadly, because it is the lie of Satan, which says that the flesh can religiously produce righteousness.
The lie of the devil says that if you try real hard, you can produce righteousness.
It is true that we must bear hard on the way that we live and the way that we walk, but it cannot be with a legalism to produce righteousness.
Instead, we must refuse to give expression to the flesh, in order that we might seek God according to the Spirit and receive.
There must be a great deal of worship and appropriation.
The idea must always be in your mind that by the grace of God His prophets will come forth.
An end~time apostolic company will be a ministry of grace in the earth.
If you produce everything that legalism can produce, you have conformed to a certain straitjacket of conduct, and you do not violate it.
You have the old nature harnessed up.
You are able to name a long list of sins, though it be a vast catalog, and say, "I am not guilty of doing any of these things. I am in my religious straitjacket which I have worked hard to produce."
That is like trying to manufacture a living person.
Suppose all the necessary tissue and the flesh were somehow put together; there is still the problem that no one has breathed into him the breath of life.
There is no generation of divine nature in him.
If he can go through the motions he is still an imitation.
We may be able to produce something and say, "see, God, we have measured right up. We have everything here."
Will He accept that?
The artificially good man is a foreign and a strange thing to be banished from His sight, because it is not His creation.
If we are anything at all, we are a new creation (II Corinthians 5:17).
If we are not that, we are nothing.
We are to be a new creation of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Ephesians 2:10).
It is true that the growth and development of our natural bodies depend upon the way we eat and the way we exercise.
To grow spiritually, we must learn the rhythm of drawing from God and ministering out; then drawing from God and ministering out.
Soon we will find ourselves growing.
Exercise is a factor in our growth in the grace of God, but it remains exactly that- a growth in the grace of God.
It is not a legalistic conformity we adhere to, until we produce something that looks like God.
A new creation will not just look like God; it will be God!
It is very difficult even for an Evangelical Fundamentalist to grasp this truth.
Many are still trying to imitate Christ in every way.
That is where their doctrine breaks down. Paul said, "For me to live is Christ" (Notice: is Christ). Philippians 1:21.
In other words. "I am appropriating Him in everything I do.
When I am running, I am running in Jesus; I am not running for Jesus.
When I preach, it is Christ within me coming forth.
I am not working for the Lord."
Many young converts want to go out and work for the Lord.
They want to go out in the harvest field and work for Jesus.
There is a difference!
Although it looks like the same, there is as much difference as between night and day.
Take a close look at the man who is out working for Jesus.
He may have the right expression on his face; he may look more religious and more spiritual than those through whom Christ is working because they are relaxed.
They do not wear a certain pained expression.
They are not bound in a disciplined straitjacket.
They are free.
Every time they breath, they are breathing Jesus.
Every time they speak, they speak Jesus.
They do not pray for God to do something; they stand with Christ who proclaims it through them.
They are moving in God, and God is moving in them.
By the time Paul had reached the ninth verse, all the prophets had been convinced to go the route of grace, and so he continued: "I have confidence to you~ward in the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
But I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? then hath the stumbling~block of the cross been done away." Galatians 5:10,11.
That stumbling block of the cross comes when you believe for the imparted righteousness.
Who are the legalists?
Anyone who is persecuting the living Word of grace.
The reproach, the stumbling block of the cross, is on those who walk by grace.
What is the real message of the cross?
To believe that you morbidly go through the sufferings for the work of the cross is a distortion of truth.
The work of the cross and what Christ did in the cross are rarely understood by people.
The stumbling block of the cross should be defined.
The Lord laid upon Jesus the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).
Christ suffered vicariously on our behalf.
The cross was an instrument by which one man suffered for all of us.
One man was suffering for the sins of another, in order that He could see those sins forgiven and put the man in the place where, without condemnation, He could minister life from God to him; and that man could become a new creature.
As the work of the cross is being done in you and you suffer, you are not dying, but you are appropriating Christ's death.
What you suffer in the work of the cross is just God putting pressures on you to push you to the place where you will appropriate the merits of His death and submit to an experience of His death.
It is the work of His cross in you.
Never get the idea that it is your cross, or you will go back to a legalistic effort which believes, "Well, Christ died; now I have to go and die too."
No, you have to appropriate His death.
Do you understand the difference?
The work of the cross takes place under pressures that God puts on you so that you will not stop short of going right on to the perfection and the resurrection life that He has provided for you.
You are not really dying, though you may feel as if you are dying.
The symptoms are all the same because the pressure is on you.
You are put under such pressure that nothing of the carnal life is worth living for.
You are forced to appropriate more of Him.
Necessity places you where you need something from Him so desperately that you reach out and grab it from Him.
Afterwards, you strut around, saying, "You know, I had a real meeting with God.
You would just be amazed to see what the Lord made so real to me.
It was wonderful!"
The Lord looks down and chuckles, "If I had not put him in a vice and squeezed him, he would not have hollered and cried to Me, and his heart would not have been met like that."
The work of the cross is found in the pressures of the Spirit of God upon you to get you to appropriate the full measure of the sufferings of Christ on your behalf.
Paul said, "If I am preaching circumcision, then why am I being persecuted?"
Pharisees are never persecuted. No one ever persecuted the legalist's circumcision.
They experience a little trouble now and then over minor things, but there is no real persecution against them.
Persecution comes upon the people who are on the trail of true righteousness, because they come forth with real righteousness.
The other people look at their own substitutions; and knowing that they do not have true righteousness, they get angry at those who have it.
Because his own deeds were unrighteous and his brother's were righteous.
Do not think that Cain was not religious.
He brought the fruit of the earth to the altar, and he must have had quite a display.
He went through the motions, probably calling on God, "O God, be pleased and look at what I am doing!"
Meanwhile Abel was being exceedingly blessed because he approached God in the right way.
So Cain, because his own deeds were unrighteous and his brother's were righteous, persecuted him (Genesis 4:1-11).
The pattern is always the same.
Persecution comes from people who are religious against people who are spiritual.
The people who are religious condemn the people who are spiritual, but they do not condemn the people out in the world, no matter how wicked they are.
The wicked are not a challenge to the ones who esteem themselves to be religiously superior.
A man never persecutes those who in his opinion are inferior.
He tends to be condescending and tolerant of the man who he thinks is on a lesser scale then he himself.
He always persecutes the one who he knows has the truth.
II Timothy 3:12 gives the reason behind the persecution: ...all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Galatians 5:12 defines what the circumcision party was in the mind of Paul.
"I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision (an entire cutting off of the unit).
The New American Standard Bible says, would even mutilate themselves.
In other words, if they want to be religious, let them be extremely religious.
"For ye, brethren, were called for freedom.
Freedom from what?
Freedom from the religious program, freedom from the circumcision bondage, freedom from the yoke of bondage, as it is identified at the beginning of the chapter and described thereafter in every verse.
"Only use not your freedom for an occasion of the flesh."
You were called to be free.
Even though you are not bound by some legalistic discipline in a religious sense, be careful that your freedom is not diverted to an occasion to the flesh.
Years ago, young people who were raised under legalism dressed austerely and always had a chaperon when they went on dates.
They could hardly even hold hands.
Where that no longer exists, what will happen to those who go out and cuddle for a while, thinking they are free?
In their so~called freedom, they will awaken the flesh.
Where circumcision does not avail anything, uncircumcision surely does not either. Only a new creature, only a new creation, avails anything.
You can tempt the flesh and give an occasion to the flesh and fall right back into sin.
Just because you are not on a religious course of legalism does not mean that you cannot fall into a pitfall on the other side.
There is only one way that you can go~ by the grace of God and becoming a whole new creature.
Faith which works by love brings freedom. Only do not use your freedom for an occasion to the flesh.
Why is that so many single girls lose their virtue in the bedroom?
A girl can blame the man who tempted and seduced her, but she had no right to be there with him.
Stay away from the occasion to the flesh. That is not legalism; that is just good sense.
That is the whole purpose of our freedom.
One of the best safeguards we have is that we can take our liberty and determine how to use it.
We are free to become servants of one another.
That is the approach that should exist even in courtship.
If people are drawn together by a mutual attraction, it indicates an inferior relationship.
It is better if they are drawn together by the manifestations of God's love, rather than a fleshly capacity of love.
Christian girls who seem to be attractive are the handmaidens to the Body of Christ.
Likewise, Christian men who seem to be desirable are not those with the image of a seducer, but men who serve the people of God.
The divine love that emanates from them draws every relationship that exists in their lives into a rightness before God, because they have used their liberty to choose to be servants of one another.
There are new standards of acceptance among the members of Christ's Body.
We shall look to see the emanating love of a new nature in a brother.
We shall look to see the evidence of grace, the faith that is working by love.
We will see the liberty that has deliberately chosen the bond~servant role to fulfill.
These will be the qualities to look for in one another.
"For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
But if you bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
Love edifies and constantly makes an addition of Christ to your brother.
It constantly appropriates more of Christ in yourself.
But criticism and viciousness that exist in your spirit and your attitude becomes destructive.
The Body of Christ is self~destroyed if we bite and devour one another and are consumed one of another.
"But I say, Walk by the Spirit, and ye will not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
As we come up into the realm of grace and learn how to walk in the Spirit of the Lord, what takes place for us then?
The mechanism for the fulfillment of the flesh disconnects within us.
When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin; sin, when it has had it's perfect work, bringeth forth death (James 1:15).
So all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life, starts a certain process going (I John 2:16).
A man is just as good as dead if he gets on the first rung of the ladder - that particular process by which his old flesh leads him to sin - because he will surely climb right to the top and jump off.
It is not legalism for a man who has been an alcoholic to know that he should not even smell a cork, let alone go to a party where drinks will be given to him; he knows better.
He knows that he must not take that first step, or else the lust will start to conceive, and it will bring forth one sin after another.
The next thing he knows, he will be hopelessly lost in it.
So he does not give an occasion to Instead, he spends his time worshiping the Lord.
He walks in the Spirit, and he does not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
He does not walk into the area where that first trigger will be pulled, that first domino will be toppled.
A man who knows that he is weak morally does not allow himself to be in a situation where the sparks start flying, where he knows that he is already set to commit fornication before he is through with that route.
He does not want to sin against God and make a bond that will be destructive to his walk with God, and then have a difficult recovery.
If he knows better, he wears blinders against such a situation.
That is not legalism; it is just good sense.
He knows that he cannot start out on a toboggan and decide to slide for only ten feet.
He knows that if he goes ten feel, he will go all the way to the finish before he stops.
So it is not legalistic for him to declare, " I am going to walk in the Spirit, and I will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
It is just that certain. "I will walk with God, and I will be interceding and praying."
Intercession for today's apostolic company to come forth has resulted in more people being liberated from the bondage's of flesh then every before.
When they spend all night praying, they are too tired afterwards to think about the things of the flesh.
They are rejoicing in the will of God.
They are sowing to Spirit, and they are reaping life everlasting (Galatians 6:8).
If they had been sowing to the flesh, that is what they would reap.
One reason that laziness is closely aligned with sin is that laziness invariably throws a person into the place where the first trigger is pulled.
Lazy people have little resistance to sin, because they are constantly exposed to the things in the flesh that trigger off the actions and reactions in the fleshly world.
A man who is busy serving God is able to subordinate every instinct of the flesh, every process of his body, and bring them into subjection.
In his dedication to walk with God and to walk in the Spirit, everything else is completely dominated.
Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.
This is grace; it is not legalism..
Ask the Lord to make this real to you and to teach you to walk in the Spirit.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary to the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that y would.
But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law (Galatians 5:17,18).
You are not under the law if you are led by the Spirit of the Lord. Galatians 5 contrasts a man who is spiritual with a man who is religious.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry.
These sins have a religious origin.
Do not think that the flesh cannot be religious.
Your religious instinct comes from the flesh; it does not come from the spirit.
Sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions (denominational-ism and everything that divides the Body of Christ is included here), parties (a kind of divisive spirit), envyings, drunkenness, revelings and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practice such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
The flesh leads a person into these things.
But what does walking in the Spirit and walking in the grace of God lead us to?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control.
Self-control is not another legalistic measure.
It is one things to be legalistic, and it is another thing to be in complete control of every faculty, every desire, every interest, every function and every instinct of one's self.
By the Holy Spirit you become completely able to walk as a new creature coming forth in Christ.
Against such there is not law.
You are not under the law, because you are actually motivated by godly incentives that are not controlled by man.
The flesh is motivated by motivations that have to be controlled.
Lust leads to fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry.
All these things are the instincts of the flesh, and they must by regulated.
Consequently, in ancient times every such work of the flesh was under control.
In this sophisticated day, sorcery or witchcraft in America is not put under the category of the works of the flesh to be regulated by laws.
Nevertheless, when it is operating, the individuals involved often break certain other laws for which they can be prosecuted.
The law is set to keep down everything that the flesh produces.
Almost all works of the flesh are put under some kind of law or control.
Every government has had to enact laws to control the weaknesses of the flesh.
However, no government that exists at the present time should control the way that people worship God.
Someone who moves in the Spirit with pure love finds the will of the Lord and conforms to all the divine principles which are not under the law.
The civil law cannot make any rule about them.
There is no law about joy.
You can be just as joyful as you want to be.
You can draw in the Holy Spirit and be completely filled with joy, for there is no law against it.
What about peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness?
No one has invented a law to regulate any of these yet.
That is why Paul said that against such there is no law.
And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.
If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.
Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
This is the way to pursue a life in the Spirit.
We are not to be just a free, happy-go-lucky people, but we must seek to walk in God and have this faith which will become very real to us.
Corinthians at approximately the same time, telling them that he brought his body into subjection in order to fight a good fight and not be as one who beat the air (I Corinthians 9:26,27)
The same apostle who wrote this epistle to the Galatians also wrote to the Corinthians.
The Apostle Paul was determined.
He placed a discipline upon his body, but only so that he could do the will of God.
It was not to merit favor with God.
It was not a religious form of circumcision or a religious, fleshly austerity.
He disciplined his body to make it serve him.
All of us would be wise to follow Paul's example.
We want God to direct us in finding ways to promote our health and strength.
But the objective is not just to be healthy, but to be able to handle the whole flow of ministry that God would require of us.
For instance, we do not want to be subject to headaches when we want to move in revelation.
We want our bodies to be able to serve the Lord, to be temples of the Hold Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19).
We may not end up health food faddists, but we certainly do not want to be junk food addicts either.
Let us look to the Lord to teach us how to take care of our bodies.
By revelation, born of the Spirit of the Lord, we can set ourselves to become today's prophets of God in the earth.
That is grace.
It may look like the same kind of discipline that the legalist has, but the legalist goes nowhere with his discipline because it is sterile and abortive.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh.
A boar and a sow will never produce anything else but PIGS, PIGS, PIGS!
Likewise, that which is born of the flesh is FLESH, FLESH, FLESH!
It may be legalistic and disciplined, but it cannot rise to the new level of life, because you cannot generate and produce that.
Your flesh can produce nothing but religious flesh, It just gets a little m ore religious and little fleshy the harder you try, but it is still PIGS, PIGS, PIGS!
But that which is born of the Spirit is SPIRIT!
Reach out for the grace of God, because what has to come forth is GOD!
Not PIGS, but GOD!
We have to born of the Spirit.
This sets our goal.
As we walk with God, having come out of that which has religious contamination in it, we must beware that we do not become smug, because we still may have some of it in ourselves.
Just because we climb up twenty feet, and look back over where we have bee, does not mean that we do not have a long climb to go before we really understand how to appropriate grace perfectly.
We must be careful not to compare ourselves among ourselves, but to see how God is speaking to us specifically (II Corinthians 10:12).
There may still be too much legalism left in our walk with the Lord for us really to break through to the miracle that God is to do through us.
Let us very diligently and personally seek the face of the Lord on this, for just a little leaven will leaven the whole lump.
It does not take much.
Seek God to take it all out.
Lord, we thank You for purchasing this wonderful priceless freedom that we have in Christ.
Thank You for Your righteousness.
We know that Your grace is sufficient.
2 Corinthians 12:9 "And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."
The gospel sets us free.
The gospel did for us what we could never have done on our own.
The gospel saves us for all eternity if we believe in it by faith.
He is risen from the dead and so shall we be if we believe.
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.
That is the gospel!