This year my family stood in front of an American flag and promised to bear arms for this nation if we were ever called upon by the Government to do so. It is a basic expectation of an American citizen. I hope never to be in a position of being called to do so and especially never in a position where there may be a reasonable objection to do so if tyranny ever became a character trait of this country. I made this promise on the basis that the USA is not by trait a tyrannical power (some may disagree). When it comes to matters of war, Christians may or may not agree to participate in battle on the basis of their biblical conviction, but it is by biblical conviction that Christians must always be at war. The Christian must always be a soldier and always in a constant battle. We do not wage war against countries but against our own flesh. Even if we never fight for a country, we can never be pacifist with our flesh.
In Galatians, the most prominent theme seems to be the theme of freedom. In Galatians 5, Paul really concentrates on our freedom in Christ from the slavery of the law. He explains that we are free from the condemnation of the law, but this freedom is not a license for sin. If we give in to our fleshly desires, we are as much a slave to sin as to the law. This is why the cross is our only hope and our power found in the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
The freedom Paul talks about in Galatians could be seen as a freedom to fight. Those who are slaves are under bondage from their masters, but the Christian, being freed from sin, is able to stand free against our old master. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we have every resource to resist the desires of the flesh and live to please Christ. Every time we hear a description of this in the New Testament, it sounds like a war. We put our enemy to death. We resist the enemy that wages war against our soul. We know that our new desires in the Spirit are against and opposed to the desires of the flesh. In this world, this is freedom. For some this may not sound like freedom. War is difficult and every battle can be wearisome, but there is a greater reality. In Christ our victory is secured and we have a power within us that is greater than the power we are against. Freedom is no longer being under the dominion of sin and death and the evil passions of our flesh. Christ has broken us free from the chains of the flesh so that we can fight and know the victorious glory of living in the Spirit. It’s a war, a glorious war, a war worth waging. One day, every battle will be eclipsed by the final victory as the last enemy of death is finally defeated.
Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
Galatians 5:17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
But let’s never forget:
Galatians 5:24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
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