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Threats to Christian Freedom: License, Part 2

January 29, 2012 Pastor: John Fonville Series: Galatians

Scripture: Galatians 5:13–5:24

Threats To Christian Freedom: License

Part 2


Text: Galatians 5:13-24




I. Paul Defines the Nature of Christian Freedom. vv. 13-15


A. Christian freedom isn’t a license to indulge in the flesh. v. 13a

B. Christian freedom fulfills the Law rather than dismisses it. vv. 13b-14

C. Christian freedom doesn’t destroy but rather builds the church. v. 15




II. Paul Describes the Conflict of Christian Freedom. vv. 16-18


A. The command, v. 16a

B. The promise, v. 16b

C. The conflict, v. 17


“What is wrong with me? Why am I kept from doing the things I want to do?”


  D. The power, v. 18


“…let them not be discouraged, because they are unable to satisfy the demands of the law. Let them listen to the consolatory declaration of the apostle, which is also found in other parts of his writings (Rom. Vi. 14) ye are not under the law. Hence it follows, that the performance of their duties is not rejected on account of their personal defects, but is accepted in the sight of God, as if it had been in every respect perfect and complete” (John Calvin, Galatians, p. 164).


“The if ye are led does not imply that believers are passive; it is at the same time a matter of letting themselves be led (cf. v. 16). The thing does not happen without regard to their will” (Herman Ridderbos, Galatians, p. 204).


“Passivity, which quietists think liberates the Spirit, actually resists and quenches him. Souls that cultivate passivity do not thrive, but waste away. The Christian’s motto should not be “Let go and let God” but “Trust God and get going” (J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit, p. 157)!


“The life of holiness is supernatural, not only because of the Spirit’s secret work in our hearts, but also because help from Christ is constantly known in it. In this sense it is a life of constant, conscious, expectant faith. The Spirit stirs us to look to Christ for the moral strength we need—gentleness, compassion, willingness to share and forgive; patience, tenacity, consistency; courage, fair-mindedness, forbearance, the capacity to keep sweet, and so forth. And as, having prayed and praying still, we seek to practice these virtues, we find that we are enabled to do so” (J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit, p. 168).




1. The conflict between the flesh and Spirit is the normal Christian life.


2. To be Spirit-directed you must be self-consciously gospel-centered.


 “The holiest Christians are not those most concerned about holiness as such, but those who minds and hearts and goals and purposes and love and hope are most fully focused on our Lord Jesus Christ” (J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit, p. 165).


© John Fonville

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