But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Galatians 5:18
I recently had one of many interviews in the last month. One interview was followed by a second component, a written test. One of the questions asked me to write a brief explanation about the Criminal Code of Canada. In Canada we are all bound under the Criminal Code, which codifies all of the criminal laws of Canada. Whether you read the Code or not, a citizen or not, as long as you live in Canada and break one of these laws, you will be punished. In essence, we are all bound by the Criminal Code. Yet, Galatians 5:18 tell us something else. What did Paul mean when he says we are not under the law, if we are led by the Spirit?
READ MORE: Do you ever feel powerless?
In last week’s article, I wrote about feeling powerless over temptations. We become so powerless that we do things that hurt ourselves and we hurt each other. What possesses a sexual predator to act so ghastly towards another human being? Is it a crave for control? a desire for pleasure? or are they also victims of their own circumstances? Regardless, the Criminal Code says bestiality, sexual abuse, child pornography, and many others, are all wrong. And when persons are caught breaking the law, they will go before the court of law and be punished for it. The accused might have many excuses: drunkenness, mental health concerns, etc, and even if some excuses were taken into consideration during sentencing, the accused is still going to be judged as guilty of breaking the law.
There are some temptations, though, that are not in the criminal code. For example, fornication (having sex with someone when you are not married), or adultery (a married person having sex with another person). According to the Criminal Code consensual sex at the age of consent is not a crime. But morally they are still wrong because these sins are hurting you or someone else. Although we might not feel the pain it is causing us during the act, we all can attest to the pain that a broken heart leaves behind. It feels like a dagger in the soul. But, the one who hurts the most is God. The One who purified us and called us chosen, holy, and dearly loved. He hurts when we act like pigs in mud. So, while some laws are not in the Criminal Code, they are in another code, the bible.
Therefore Paul is saying something so profound in those few lines that the naked eye cannot fathom it. It is this: We do not need the Criminal Code to govern us when we are being led by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit will never lead us into temptations, much less cause us to commit a crime. Therefore, it is when we are walking in the flesh that we need a law to govern us because the flesh is literally uncontrollable.
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Since we insist on living in the flesh, we need laws to govern our bodies. Like little children, we need an authority to tell us what we can and cannot do. But, when we become mature in the Holy Spirit and have no need for milk (Hebrews 5:12), we will agree with Paul, “if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” When we are in Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, our instructions come from the Spirit. The Spirit needs no law. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So, do you want to live a life that is pleasurable and happy? Like Paul, I say, choose to be led by the Holy Spirit.