Liberty Not Libertine!
In Galatians 5, Paul tells the churches at Galatia to, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
The Galatians were being persuaded by the legalizers to add circumcision as a means of salvation to the finished work of Christ. Paul told them if they tried to add circumcision to Christʼs finished work, “Christ shall profit you nothing” (v.2). He goes on to say, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace” (v.4). They are “fallen from grace” in the fact they are trying to add something to what Christ perfectly accomplished for them. In other words, Christ plus something equals nothing, but Christ plus nothing equals everything! There is absolutely no justification in the law. The message still rings true today whether you are a Jew or a Gentile. Christ, and Christ alone, is still the only way to God!
Now look at verse 13, “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh…” Lets look at the word “occasion.” It is the Greek word “aphorme” (ah-for-MAY) which means “a place from which a movement or attack is made, a base of operations; metaphorically, that by which endeavor is excited and from which it goes forth; that which gives occasion and supplies matter for an undertaking, the incentive; the resources we avail ourselves of in attempting or performing anything.” In other words, donʼt make liberty the base of operations for the flesh to operate! Donʼt use liberty as an excuse to be a libertine (a person who behaves without moral principles or a sense of responsibility, especially in sexual matters).
Verse 16 tells us “Walk in the Spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Verse 17 tells us, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Verse 24 says, “And they that are Christʼs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Verse 25 says, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
We have liberty in Christ in the sense we donʼt need to add anything to the perfectly completed work of Jesus Christ, yet we are not to use that liberty as a base of operations for the flesh to operate in its affections and lusts. As Paul said in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Blessings to you!