IN A NUTSHELL – It’s one thing to “be free”, but it’s quite a different concept to “have freedom”. “Having freedom” keeps one’s eye on the outcomes and the other on choices that lead to personal responsibility. Jesus, by His grace and through his sacrifice, frees us to “have freedom,” not just to spend our days chasing one whim after another. As Paul said in Galatians 5:13 “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” ICE BREAKER – Do you recall when you were in high school any particular person that had the reputation of living an unrestrained (radically free) lifestyle? What level of freedom do they enjoy now? For the Artsy folks among us… How does this statue by Zenos Frudakis illustrating a desire for freedom “strike you?”
CONNECTING TO THE TEXT
- What is the “yoke of slavery” Paul is referring to? Vs.3
- How should our “freedom in Christ” effect our relationships with others? Vs. 13-15
- Through what does “faith work”? vs.6
- How can we harmonize these verses? 1) Gal. 5:6; 2) Eph. 2:8-10; 3) Jam. 2:14; 4) Rom. 3:28
- How might Rom. 6:1-4 help us understand Gal. 5:13-26?
- Is Paul suggesting that one of those reading Galatians could be “severed” from Jesus Christ? Gal. 3:4 What might that look like?
- What does Paul mean by Gal. 5:13?
REFLECTING UPON OUR LIVES
- If circumcision to the 1st century Christian was a symbol of orthodox commitment to the Jewish faith indicating an enslaving relationship to an ineffective religion, then what might a similar (enslaving) symbol for today’s Christian be? (While many from the faith only circle would suggest baptism as the answer to this question we must stop and ask if Paul ever warned anyone against baptism the way he did circumcision.)
- What are some potential symbols or rituals of commitment to a legalistic religion that can sever your relationship from Jesus Christ?
- What does it look like to be someone that is committed to a religion and yet “biting and devouring one another.”
- What “fruit”/"works" as listed in Gal. 5:19-23 have you notice in your life? “Fruit of the Spirit?” or “works of the flesh”?
CONNECTING WITH THE WAY WE DO CHURCH
- What “works of the flesh” do you frequently see in churches? What should be done about that?
- What elements of church programming/events promote in you the “fruits of the Spirit”?
NEXT WEEK – "Two Natures"