Tuesday, January 27, 2015

NTDS (54): Waiting Eagerly

Gal 5:5 But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope.  NIV

Patience is a word we do not like very much. In the fast paced society we live in today, patience might mean you are willing to wait three minutes for your fast food order, rather than get upset when it isn’t there in two. Or, it might mean that you waited more than sixty seconds to get the reply to your text message before you texted back asking, “what’s the matter, don’t you like me anymore?”

That seems to be the concept most of us have when it comes to patience. We have a very difficult time waiting for anything. The Bible is full of encouragement to learn patience. In Galatians 5, the apostle Paul is teaching that there is something we are eager to have, but that we must wait for it.

What is it that we eagerly await? Righteousness. Wait, this doesn’t make sense. Isn’t righteousness something that we should all desire to have as soon as possible? Don’t we want to do “right” in the eyes of the Lord all the time? Why would we want to wait for something that is so good for us to posses?

Those are all good questions, bringing up valid points. We should desire righteousness. We should want to do “right” things. It is certainly not wrong to aspire to be righteous before God. In fact, the desire to be righteous was uppermost in the mind of the Galatians, but Paul had to remind them over and over that their righteousness could not come from outward acts. It had to come by faith and by way of the Spirit working in them.

One of the most difficult things we deal with as Christians, is the battle we face in trying to be “righteous.” Paul says in Gal 5:17 “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

We see what the law of God requires, we desire to do it, but it seems the more we try the more we fail. Until we finally come to the realization that we will never, in our own power, be able to fulfill the law, we are doomed to a life of slavery to it.

So, Paul gives us the remedy to this dilemma. Gal 5:16, 18 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature… if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.”

Our road to living a righteous life begins and ends with faith, not works. Faith for salvation and faith in Christ to fulfill His work in us, through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Even with that, we will not attain full righteousness until that time when we come face to face with our Savior. That is the “hope “ Paul is speaking about in our key verse. The Galatians, who had begun “in the Spirit,” were now trying to be justified by works of the law. They had been led to believe that they could now attain righteousness by the keeping of the law. Have you fallen into that same trap?

Paul says instead to “keep in step” with the Spirit (v25). Doing that comes by faith. In verses 19 -23, he contrasts the difference in behavior of a person who is led by the Spirit and one who is not. The more you allow yourself to be led by the Spirit, the more you will see love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control working in you life.

It takes time to see that work of the Spirit done in one’s life. It happens as you approach each day as another opportunity to give control of your life to the Holy Spirit. We must also understand, that even though God sees us a righteous because of our relationship to Jesus, we will not always “act” righteously. We do not always do the right thing because we do not always allow ourselves to be controlled by the Holy Spirit.

Be patient. Wait eagerly for the time that we will always do the right thing. Our sanctification will be complete. We will sin no more! But for now, live in the glorious freedom that you have in Christ, walking by faith and trusting the Spirit with the reins of your life!

God bless you


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