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If You are Led of the Spirit, You are Not Under the Law

I remember a short, but powerful verse I read one day that changed my life and helped me to understand what salvation by grace is all about.

"But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law." Gal. 5:18

"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." vs. 17 

We cannot do whatever we want as not-under-the-law Christians!

The next verses list the works of the flesh. 

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies. envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such life: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." vs. 19-21 

Whoever commits the works of the flesh is doing what the Bible calls "walking after the flesh."

The following verses explain what being led of the Spirit means, and it explains that against these things (against being led of the Spirit) there is no law! Notice that it does not teach that against the works of the flesh there is no law.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." vs. 22, 23

Being led of the Spirit means we are not under the law. If we are led of the Spirit we are not under the law. The following verse reaffirms Gal 5:18-23:

"There is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Rom. 8:1

No condemnation is for those who walk after the Spirit! Those who are led of the Spirit (or walk after the Spirit) are not under the law.

Notice that the promises in Romans 8:1 and Gal. 5:18 are of not being under condemnation or not being under the law (they mean the same thing because the law kills but the Spirit gives life.) These promises are conditioned upon walking after the Spirit (being led of the Spirit.)

Every Christian who has the grace that brings salvation--this grace comes by faith--also has the grace to walk after the Spirit. Since we live in the Spirit (it is the Spirit which giveth life) the Bible says we must walk in the Spirit:

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Gal. 5:25

This is what working out our salvation with fear and trembling means. We do not pay for our salvation (only the innocent blood of Jesus Christ pays for sin) but as sons of God we must be led of the Spirit: 

"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Rom. 8:14

Paul wrote that because the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh (they are contrary to one another) we cannot do what we would. We must do what God commands us to do as Christians saved by grace! God has made clear more than once in his Word the the lifestyle of the one who is not under condemnation: There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, (Christians who walk after the flesh as a sinning lifestyle? No!) who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Rom. 8:1

This is not working for your salvation.  This is working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Phil. 2:12

"Grace Replaces Obedience": Not Taught in the Holy Bible

Does this mean that if you are not led of the Spirit in a certain instance you are immediately put back under the law and doomed to being judged under the law?  No, 1 John 1:9 is clear that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

But we need to understand that being under grace equals being led of the Spirit, and that today's teaching that being under grace guarantees that we can never again be put back under the law and its condemnation because we "believe" in Jesus--even if we walk after the flesh as a matter of course and without repentance--is a cruel lie. Living a lifestyle of walking after the flesh is not true repentance.

Remember, against the works of the flesh there is law, but against the fruit of the Spirit there is no law. 1 John 1:9 takes care of our failings to be led of the Spirit (sins) but the norm for the born again believer is that we be led of the Spirit as a "saved by grace" Christian.  

This message is the opposite of the the "grace replaces obedience" (C. I. Scofield's false standing versus state doctrine) kind of Christianity which is not found in scripture.  Paul made it abundantly clear that we cannot "do as we would" as saved-by grace-Christians. Why may we not do "as we would" as Christians? 

"the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these things are contrary the one to the other. That is why we cannot do the things that we "would" (want to). Gal. 5:17

Our flesh is our natural selfish inclinations, and the Spirit is the Holy Spirit. He requires is that we be holy, just like the Lord Jesus Christ.

Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord. (See Heb. 12:14).

Holy living is the opposite of indulging sinful desires. That is why the flesh (self) wars against the Spirit. We may not do the things that we want to if they are against the holy leading of the Holy Spirit. We must do as we are led of the Holy Spirit. He will not lead contrary to the word of God.

related article: What Law Are Believers Under?  (Answer: The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus)

True Gospel Vs False Gospel

 

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Liberty To The Captives Established in June 2001