Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 2 Study # 7
September 11, 2007
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
1901 ASV Translation:
14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
16 The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are children of God:
- I. The "Leading" of the Spirit of God: Part II.
- A. This "leading", when viewed from the perspective of Luke 4:1 in contrast to Mark 1:12, brings Paul's concept of "freedom" into sharp focus.
- 1. In Galatians, the "leading" of the Spirit is closely tied to the "freedom" to which all believers have been called (Galatians 5:13). This means that "justification", as a doctrine, cannot be tied to human performance issues at all; otherwise, freedom is not freedom. But, the "freedom" is not, in this case, a "freedom to" but a "freedom from". In other words, justification sets us free from the condemnation of the Law and any complication of that absolute freedom is a "leaven" which, if permitted, will ultimately "leaven the whole lump" (Galatians 5:9). And, since it is not a "freedom to", justification does not do anything "to" enable (such as "the freedom to not sin"). If justification enabled us to not sin, that would be all we needed; but, we were given the Holy Spirit to make that possible for the particular reason that justification simply does not have the power required. There is no point to the gift of the Holy Spirit if man can be "fitted" to "do" righteousness simply by correct doctrine and legitimate understanding.
- 2. The point here is this: "freedom" means that my responses to God cannot be "forced". When Jesus was being presented by Mark as the "Ox of God" the record tells us that the Spirit "drove" Jesus out into the wilderness much like one would "drive" an ox to the intended place. But, as Matthew and Luke show, when Jesus is presented as a man-creature whose responses to God have to be genuinely willing and not "forced", the Spirit simply "goes before" ("leads") and the willing Man follows. It is for this reason that Paul's words to the Galatians about being "free" are immediately followed by the caution to refrain from using that freedom as a basis for fleshly behavior.
- 3. Paul does say that one must be led by the Spirit in order to be free from the Law (Galatians 5:18), but his meaning is not "free from the condemnation" but "free from the obsessive compulsion of sin that the Law generates" (1 Corinthians 15:56). That this is his meaning is seen clearly from the fact that Galatians 5:18 follows immediately upon the heels of his declaration that the flesh and Spirit are in constant conflict with one another (5:17) so that his train of thought is upon the believer's ability to produce godliness rather than fleshliness, not upon the believer's liability to condemnation for failure.
- B. This "leading", being as it is a "guidance into the killing off of the fleshly deeds of the body", means that the Spirit calls upon the believer to "love" God enough to seek the manifestation of His image by our bodies and, having been given that "love" willingly, He imparts the resurrection power required to put those fleshly deeds to death which corrupt the image of God that is being projected from our bodies.