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Sun, Mar 21, 1999

41 - Spiritual Freedom

Galatians 5:1 by Robert Dean
Series:Galatians (1998)
Duration:1 hr 3 mins 32 secs

Spiritual Freedom
Galatians 5:1

 

2 Corinthians 3:17 NASB "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, {there} is liberty." "The Lord is the Spirit" is a reference to the deity of the Holy Spirit. This is a doctrine that has been attacked by the liberals—that there is no Holy Spirit, and that the term "spirit" is just a reference to God. The use of the word "Lord" here is kurios [kurioj] which is a translation of the sacred Tetragrammaton YHWH, often pronounced Yahweh, the personal name of God. The Spirit is identified here with Yahweh. We know that the Holy Spirit is divine from a number of different reasons. For example, in Isaiah 6:8, 9 cf. Acts 28:25-27. In Isaiah 6:8 Isaiah says, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying…" Who is speaking here? The voice of the Lord. "… 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'…" Notice the first question, "Whom shall I send?" In the Hebrew this is a first person singular pronoun. Then the second question, "Who will go for us?" There we have a third person plural pronoun indicating a plurality in the Godhead. "… Then I said, Here am I. Send me!" Then in verse 9, "He said, 'Go, and tell this people: 'Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.'" God is speaking and this is the statement that God makes. [10] "Render the hearts of this people insensitive, Their ears dull, And their eyes dim, Otherwise they might see with their eyes, Hear with their ears, Understand with their hearts, And return and be healed." That is the content of what the Scripture says the Lord says. Compare that to what Acts 28:25ff says.

Acts 28:25 NASB "And when they did not agree with one another, they {began} leaving after Paul had spoken one {parting} word, 'The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers." Think about that. Isaiah said the Lord said this; in Acts 28 the Holy Spirit is identified as the one who spoke in Isaiah 6.[26] "saying, 'GO TO THIS PEOPLE AND SAY, "YOU WILL KEEP ON HEARING, BUT WILL NOT UNDERSTAND; AND YOU WILL KEEP ON SEEING, BUT WILL NOT PERCEIVE; [27] FOR THE HEART OF THIS PEOPLE HAS BECOME DULL, AND WITH THEIR EARS THEY SCARCELY HEAR, AND THEY HAVE CLOSED THEIR EYES; OTHERWISE THEY MIGHT SEE WITH THEIR EYES, AND HEAR WITH THEIR EARS, AND UNDERSTAND WITH THEIR HEART AND RETURN, AND I WOULD HEAL THEM." So these two verses are a quote from Isaiah 6:9, 10 and Isaiah says it is God [the Lord] speaking; in Acts 28:25 Paul says it is the Holy Spirit speaking. So that identifies the Holy Spirit as divine and as part of the Godhead. We see the same kind of thing in Jeremiah 31:34 which is the articulation of the new covenant, and when that is compared with Hebrews 10:15-17 the writer of Hebrews attributes it to the Holy Spirit. NASB "And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 'THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,' {He then says,} 'AND THEIR SINS AND THEIR LAWLESS DEEDS I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE'." The Holy Spirit is stated in Hebrews 10 as being the one who speaks, in Jeremiah 31:31.

Various other attributes of deity are ascribed to God the Holy Spirit. He is said to be omniscient in 1 Corinthians 2:10, 11; He is omnipotent is Genesis 1:2; He is omnipresent in Psalm 139:7; in 2 Corinthians 3:17 the Holy Spirit is called kurios which connotes deity; the Holy Spirit is said to be eternal in Hebrews 9:14. All of these attributes are attributes of deity and they are all ascribed to God the Holy Spirit. This is further demonstrated through the titles of God the Holy Spirit. He is called the Spirit of God in Genesis 1:2 and in the Greek of Matthew 3:16. He is called the Spirit of the Lord in Luke 4:18, the Spirit of Yahweh in Judges 2:10, the Spirit of the Lord God in Isaiah 61:1, the Spirit of the living God in 2 Corinthians 3:3, "My Spirit" in Genesis 6:3, and the Spirit of our God in 1 Corinthians 6:11.

We have seen in 3 Corinthians 3 in reference to freedom that it is the Holy Spirit who provides this environment, and is the spiritual environment for believers. The average pastor and Christian thinks that you do certain things in the spiritual life (and that is the cause) and the result is that you are sanctified. But that is sanctification by works. Most Christians don't understand this. The Galatians didn't understand it. They thought that if they got out and did the law then the result would be their sanctification. What the Scriptures teach is on the analogy with salvation you have to learn the Word and believer the Word, and the result is that you are transformed, and transformation takes place on the inside Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:17, 18), the Holy Spirit changes us on the inside. This is where sanctification takes place. The result of our sanctification is application—the doing. But doing does not mean that God is going to say, Okay you are now doing what I said to do so now I am going to sanctify you. You learn the Word of God, you believe it, God the Holy Spirit transforms you from the inside out, and that is sanctification. Now that you are set apart by means of the Word of God and the Spirit of God and there is inner transformation, then you begin to apply it. So sanctification is by faith alone in the Word of God; it is not going out and doing, that is legalism.

The doctrine of Christian liberty (cont.)

9.  Legalism seeks to enslave the believer and destroy spiritual liberty. Galatians 2:4 NASB "But {it was} because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage."

10.  True freedom always recognises legitimate spheres of authority. Freedom is not anti-authority. In the temporal realm this includes government (political); in marriage it is the husband who is the authority in the home; in the family it is the parents who are the authority in the home. Freedom without authority is anarchy; authority without freedom is tyranny.

11.  Freedom includes privacy. We have to give people a certain realm of privacy so that they can use the doctrine they have to succeed or fail, and we are all going to go through various levels of failure in the spiritual life. We live in an era today when the church wants to be very intrusive into people's spiritual life. It is dominated by legalism; there is a lot of reaction—even mandating levels of accountability. We are not accountable really to anyone else but God in terms of our spiritual life.

12.  To the degree that we have the freedom to fail in the spiritual life we have the freedom to succeed. Legalism seeks to dominate and control people so that there is no freedom to fail, which destroys freedom to succeed. To the degree that we have the freedom to fail we have the freedom to succeed.

13.  Freedom guarantees inequality. Te greater the freedom the greater the inequality. Some people are going to use their freedom to pursue excellence and others to squander their spiritual assets and become failures in the spiritual life.

14.  True freedom only comes under the knowledge of the Word of God. John 8:31-34 NASB "So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, 'If you continue in My word, {then} you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.' They answered Him, 'We are Abraham's descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, 'You will become free'?'  Jesus answered them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin'." What is it that makes us free? Knowledge and application of Bible doctrine under the filling of God the Holy Spirit. Psalm 119:45 recognises this principle NASB "And I will walk at liberty, For I seek Your precepts." True freedom in this life comes only in the spiritual life and it is only experienced when we are applying doctrine under the filling of God the Holy Spirit and advancing to spiritual maturity.