Highlights In Today's Reading:
Paul contrasts the Spirit vs Flesh, Liberty vs Bondage (5:1-15); saved by faith and walking in the Spirit (5:16-26). The fruit of the Spirit demonstrates Christian character (6:1-10).
The history of Hagar and Sarah represents two different Covenants — the Law and the Gospel of Grace: Hagar and Abraham, by human planning, gave birth to Ishmael — symbolic of the efforts of the Law to accomplish the will of God, while Sarah represents God's grace in the miraculous birth of Isaac when both were too old to have children. But God imparted miraculous life obtained by faith with spiritual fruitfulness (4:26-28).
In today's Bible reading, the Apostle Paul warns of 17 specific sins: Now the works of the flesh are manifest (evident), which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness (sensuality), Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance (discord), emulations (jealousy), wrath, strife, seditions (dissensions), heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (5:19-21).
Sexual immorality, which includes adultery and fornication, heads the list. These sins include sexual intercourse between any man and woman who are not married to each other, as well as all sexual perversions.
In contrast, we are to bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (II Cor. 10:5); and to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service (Rom. 12:1).
The Law can direct worshippers to outwardly keep religious symbolism, rules, and regulations, and appear to be very devoted; but it can never produce an inner desire from the heart to keep His Commandments and express the fruit of the Spirit in love, joy and peace. The legalistic Pharisees were a product of Law in contrast to grace (Christ's indwelling life).
The Law with its outward obedience is in contrast to the born-again new life experiences, through which one has the desire to do the Commands of Christ because it's the nature of all who are born again. Our source of motivation is His indwelling Spirit that is received by faith (John 16:13; Rom. 8:8-13; Eph. 2:8-9).
There is much that we should do as we walk . . . after the Spirit (Rom. 8:1). As we abide in Him and follow His will as revealed in the New Testament and illustrated in the symbols of the Old Covenant (Old Testament) the righteousness of the Law . . . (can) be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Rom. 8:4).
Thought for Today:
The evidence of a heart changed by the indwelling Christ is a change in the way we live (James 1:26).
For Gal. 4:27: See Is. 54:1. Gal. 4:30: See Gen. 21:10. Gal. 5:14: See Lev. 19:18.
4:4 made =b> born of a woman as a subject to the Law; 4:6 Abba =b> that is, Father; 4:12 injured =b> wronged, taken advantage of; 4:24 gendereth to =b> leads to; 4:25 answereth =b> corresponds; 5:19 uncleanness =b> immoral conduct; lasciviousness =b> immodesty, vulgarity; 5:20 variance =b> contentious temper, strife; emulations =b> jealousy, rivalry; seditions =b> apostasy, disloyalty; 6:6 communicate unto =b> share in the financial needs of; 6:12 constrain =b> compel.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Tony Martin • Bible Pathway Media Producer: Rick Hash • Government Officials [listed on their birthday/s] and the state/s represented (statistics from The Original U.S. Congress Handbook): Sen. Wayne Allard (CO), Sen. Harry Reid (NV), and Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (NH) • Country: Poland (38.6 million) in eastern Europe • Major language: Polish • Religious freedom • 96% Roman Catholic (including .31% Greek Catholic); 1.56% Orthodox; .5% Protestant; .01% Muslim; .01% Far Eastern Religions; 1.7% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and praise God with a spirit of thankfulness for His goodness (Ps. 107:1,21).
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Chronicles 7:14