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                     "THE EPISTLE TO THE GALATIANS"

              Standing Fast In The Liberty Of Christ (5:1)

INTRODUCTION

1. Galatians has been called "The Magna Carta Of Christian Liberty";
   'Magna Carta' refers to...
   a. The royal charter of political rights given to rebellious English
      barons by King John in 1215 - WordWeb
   b. A document or piece of legislation that serves as a guarantee of
      basic rights. - Dictionary.com

2. The reason it has been so called is because of Paul's discussion
   regarding 'bondage'...
   a. In connection with the meeting in Jerusalem - Ga 2:4-5
   b. In arguing that we are justified by faith in Christ, not works of
      the Law - Ga 4:3-5,9,24-25
   c. With his climax found in the text for our study today - Ga 5:1

[The liberty we have in Christ is indeed precious, and it is imperative
that we stand fast in it.  Yet exactly what does that liberty
entail...?]

I. THE LIBERTY WE HAVE IN CHRIST

   A. FREEDOM FROM THE LAW OF MOSES...
      1. This is Paul's primary concern in this epistle - cf. Ga 2:16
      2. Upon which he expounded in the first four chapters - e.g., Ga
         3:23-25
      3. Concerning which he wrote elsewhere - Ro 7:4-6
      -- Christ has delivered the Jews from their obligation to keep the
         Law of Moses

   B. FREEDOM FROM THE BONDAGE OF SIN...
      1. Writing of being "justified", Paul refers to being "not guilty"
         of sin - cf. Ga 2:16-17
      2. Concerning which he wrote elsewhere - Ro 8:1-2
      3. Jesus also spoke of the deliverance from bondage of sin - Jn 8:
         31-34
      -- Christ has delivered all men from the guilt and power of sin

   C. FREEDOM FROM THE TRADITIONS OF MEN...
      1. Paul wrote of this in chapter four - Ga 4:9-11
      2. Also in his writing to the Colossians - Col 2:20-23
      3. Jesus also spoke of the danger of human traditions - Mt 15:3-9
      -- Christ has delivered us from the need to keep human traditions

   D. FREEDOM FROM WORKS OF THE FLESH...
      1. Paul will have much more to say about the works of the flesh
         - Ga 5:13,17,19-21; 6:8
      2. As he warned against in writing to the Corinthians - 1Co 6:
         9-11
      3. About which Jesus also warned - Mk 7:20-23
      -- Christ offers deliverance from deeds of the flesh which
         endanger our salvation

[Such are the things we experience through the liberty that we have in
Christ.  Of course, that presumes that we are indeed...]

II. STANDING FAST IN OUR LIBERTY

   A. HANDLE THE LAW PROPERLY...
      1. The Law is good if used properly - 1Ti 1:8; 2Ti 2:15
      2. It was written for our learning and admonition - Ro 15:4; 1Co 
         10:11
      3. It is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction
         in righteousness - 2Ti 3:14-17
      4. But it has its limitations
         a. It has ceased as a system of justification - cf. Ga 5:4
         b. It has been replaced as a covenant - cf. He 8:6-13
         c. Its religious observances have been replaced - cf. He 9:
            9-10; Jn 4:20-24
      -- The Law must be properly handled if we are to preserve our
         liberty in Christ

   B. APPLY OUR BLESSINGS IN CHRIST LIBERALLY...
      1. The blood of Christ frees us from the guilt of sin - Ep 1:4
         a. The remission of sins is promised to those who repent and
            are baptized - Ac 2:38
         b. The blood of Christ remains available for Christians who
            repent of sin - 1Jn 1:7-10
         c. Christians need to repent and pray when they sin - Ac 8:22
      2. The Spirit of God can free us from the power of sin - Ro 8:
         12-13
         a. God can strengthen us by His Spirit in the inner man - Ep 3:
            16
         b. We can do all things through God and Christ - Php 2:12-13;
            4:13
      -- We must not hesitate to access the blood of Christ and the
         Spirit of God to make use of our liberty in Christ

   C. DEAL WITH TRADITIONS OF MEN CAUTIOUSLY...
      1. Traditions may have a place on an individual level - cf. Ro 14:
         5-6
         a. When not taught as a doctrine of God - Mk 7:7
         b. When not done instead of keeping a command of God - Mk 7:8-9
      2. But they must handled with the utmost of caution on a
         congregational level
         a. Things done on a congregational level necessarily bind them
            upon all the members
         b. That is why religious holidays are reasons for such grave
            concern - Ga 4:10-11
      -- We must be careful not to let human traditions destroy our
         liberty in Christ

   D. FOLLOW THE SPIRIT DILIGENTLY...
      1. We must not use our liberty as an occasion for the flesh - Ga
         5:13
      2. Our best weapon against the flesh is to follow the Spirit - Ga
         5:16-18
      3. Those who are led by the Spirit will produce the fruit of the
         Spirit - Ga 5:22-23
      4. Our new life in Christ makes it possible to walk in the Spirit
         - Ga 5:25
      -- We must be diligent to set our minds on the things of the
         Spirit if we want to enjoy life and peace - Ro 8:5-6

CONCLUSION

1. The liberty we enjoy in Christ is great...
   a. Freedom from the law of Moses
   b. Freedom from the bondage of sin
   c. Freedom from the traditions of men
   d. Freedom from the works of the flesh

2. But it is not license to do whatever we want; we must...
   a. Handle the Law properly
   b. Apply our blessings in Christ liberally
   c. Deal with traditions of men cautiously
   d. Follow the Spirit diligently

With the aid of Paul's epistle to the Galatians, we will succeed in
"Standing Fast In The Liberty Of Christ".  Have you begun to enjoy the
liberty Christ offers through obedience to the gospel...?
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