7 Maxims of Healthy Christian Living

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Text: Galatians 6

Review: Paul’s letter to the Galatians was addressed to a group of churches in Galatia, a region of present-day Turkey. Paul had preached the gospel in these churches. He wrote to counter those who taught that Christians must be circumcised [a Jewish ceremonial law] in order to be accepted by God. Paul began with a defense of his apostolic authority (chs. 1–2), then made it clear that all believers, Jew and Gentile alike, enjoy complete salvation in Christ (chs. 3–4). In chapters 5–6 Paul showed how the gospel of grace leads to true freedom and godly living. Perhaps the central message of Galatians is “a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (2:16). Paul wrote this letter sometime between a.d. 48 and 55.[1]

Chapter 5 is the charge to walk by the Spirit in order to not fulfill the desires of the flesh (passions and desires of the sinful nature). What does following the flesh look like? The Works of the Flesh. What does following the Spirit look like? The Fruit of the Spirit: Selfless, Godlike Love. We grow in grace by continually comparing flesh to Spirit and then following the Spirit as He leads you to do as Jesus says/does.

The reason to follow the Spirit is Identity—who you are in Jesus, who you serve. Your self (identity based on passions and desires of your sinful nature) is dead to you, since it was nailed to Jesus’ Cross. You have a new identity as an adopted child of God, and you ought to follow the Spirit because that is what the mature “Sons” (heirs of estate) of God do. “Let us be following the Spirit’s leadings in every part of our lives” (6:25). “Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another” (6:26).

Chapter 6 is further application (godly living in grace) of all Paul’s teaching in Galatians:

HEALTHY CHRISTIAN LIVING

  1. It is possible for a believer to be overcome, “stuck” in, addicted to sin [works of the flesh] (v. 1)
    1. Sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, drugs, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these
    2. Instead of (by the Spirit) producing: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
  2. Those (plural) who are godly, spiritual (addicted to following the Spirit) are to help the believer back onto the right path. (vv. 1-3). RESTORATION IS DIFFERENT THAN A CONFESSIONAL
    1. With gentleness—NOT harshness or condemnation—but to nurture faith, hope and love for/from God & their identity in Christ.
    2. With humility
      1. Not thinking you are too important
      2. Not thinking you are above the same temptation
    3. With carefulness
    4. With a desire to share their burden (which is loving them), and so, fulfill Christ’s command to love one another.
  3. Mind your own business, focus on doing it well & DON’T compare yourself to others (vv. 4-5)
  4. Those who are learning the Word (in addiction cases) should communicate what he is learning with those who are teaching (v. 6)
  5. Don’t think you can get away with fleshly living as a believer. (v. 7-8)
    1. God cannot be mocked
    2. Whatever one sows, he reaps it
      1. to flesh = corruption (decay of life)
      2. to Spirit = life eternal (God’s kind of life)
  6. Don’t get weary of doing good. (v.9-10)
    1. You will reap at just the right time if you don’t quit
    2. “Do all the good you can. By all the means you can. In all the ways you can. In all the places you can. At all the times you can. To all the people you can. As long as ever you can.” — John Wesley
    3. Especially believers
  7. Watch out for law-loving hypocrites who want to make you their disciple instead of recognizing we’re all Jesus’ disciples. (vv. 11-14)
    1. Which thinking is worldly (philosophy: get ahead, put others beneath you, temporal view of people and things) – v. 14
    2. If that thinking does not interest you, then the world will have no interest in you.
    3. Being transformed (point in time & process) into a new creation by Christ is all that matters. “May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God” (vv. 15-16)

Summary of Galatians: Five Deliverances*

  1. From Present Evil Age (Gal. 1:4; 2 Tim. 3:1-9)
  2. From the Law (chs. 3-4)
  3. From Self—sinful nature—which the law condemns (chs. 5-6)
  4. From the Flesh—passions and desires of the sinful nature [which opposes the Spirit] (chs. 5-6)
  5. From the World (ch. 6)

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[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Ga). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

*credit to Derek Prince’s Bought with Blood, part 3

7 Maxims of Healthy Christian Living – Part 2

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