Sunday, August 4, 2013

Led by the Spirit: Galatians 5

I found Pastor Heaths sermon this morning to be very encouraging. Galatians 5 is not an easy text to unpack because there is so much there. He did a great job in taking us through Paul's argument and bringing the text into our day and lives. May we be led by the Holy Spirit as Gods renewed and redeemed people.

There is another element to this text as well that I would like to bring out which I believe will further encourage and challenge us.

The Shekinah of God led the Israelites through the wilderness in form of cloud and fire (illustrated here). Remember from our series on 'Meeting Jesus at the Feast' that the Shekinah means that God is with us. God actually and really settled, dwelt and inhabited with his people in the tabernacle. Paul is using Exodus language, wanting the reader to remember the stories of how God revealed himself to his people while in the wilderness. Jesus has sent the Spirit to inhabit, settle and dwell with his people. As the cloud and fire demonstrated the active and true presence of God then so now the fruit of the Spirit demonstrates the true and active presence of God in his people today.

This is wonderful news! As Heath made the point to teach us this morning, the fruit of the Spirit is not a list of rules you have to follow to "get in", it is how God reveals to the world and to his people that he is dwelling in and with us. Isaiah hopes for a King who will come and his name will be Emmanuel, which means, "God with us" (see Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23). Jesus has come and he has brought in himself the God of Israel. The one true God of Israel has become King of all the nations through the work and victory of Jesus. In Jesus, God has again dwelt and settled in and with his people. 

This is who the Holy Spirit is: God empowering, indwelling and leading the people of God. To be led by the Spirit is to be filled and freed by the very Shekinah glory and presence of God. Galatians 5 reminds us that we are the new temple where God has chosen to live. This is also what humans were created to be. Let us who are called and justified by the God of grace, worship him as we live free reflecting him who is beautiful and sovereign. 

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