Life In the Spirit
My Lord and God, in Your love I am found, in Your mercy and grace I live. I bow in worship.
Read Galatians 3:1-14
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“Baptize thy whole church with fire, that the divisions soon may cease, and that it may stand before the world as a pillar and buttress of thy truth” (Taizé Community, Litany of the Holy Spirit).
In the early days of Christianity there were constant debates about the role of the law. Are we justified by keeping the law, or by accepting, by faith, what God has done in Christ? We see an early expression in the treatment of Stephen. We shall meet it again later in Acts. It is a major theme of both Romans and Galatians.
In Galatians another polarity runs alongside this one, that between flesh (the Greek word sarx is not easy to translate) and Spirit. The Spirit is the source of our new life (3); it owes nothing to our human effort. We start in the Spirit, who produces faith within us, enabling us to trust God and to receive the grace of God. We continue in the Spirit. Faith and the presence of the Spirit are the distinguishing marks of the Christian community. The Spirit plants faith in us and comes to us in response to our faith. He gives us the power to fulfill our mission. He is the life-giving river that flows from the followers of Jesus (John 7:38) bringing life to others.
To maintain that keeping the law was essential to salvation would have been a denial of all that the Spirit had done in them. For the church today to conduct its mission through human effort alone, or by relying on the latest techniques, also denies the work of the Spirit. Only in his strength can we find salvation and only in his strength can we carry out the calling of God on our lives. Nevertheless, we face the constant temptation to do things in our own strength. We need to heed the words of the prophets (Zech. 4:7) and the apostles.
Pray that you and your church will experience a fresh sense of the Spirit’s presence and will live and work in the power of the Spirit.
Lord, I want to work for You with all my ability and strength, but I also rely on the power of Your Holy Spirit.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.