My favorite hour of the day is my morning Bible time. You probably feel the same way. What would we do without the Scriptures? I mean that!
In James 4:8 the Bible says, "Come close to God, and God will come close to you." This is another way of saying, "Say yes to a quiet time with God and he will always show up. Spend time with God whether you're feeling like a million dollars or like a human hockey puck. You'll discover that he is the solid rock in this twisting, turning world of ours."
Today's reading was in Galatians 5. OH. MY. GOODNESS. Where do I even begin? How about at 5:18?
Years ago, I included this verse in my beginning grammar as an example of how conditional clauses in Greek work. The idea of the "if" here -- "If you are being led by the Spirit, you are not under the law" -- is somewhat akin to our "since." In fact, many grammarians would allow us to translate the word this way.
I disagree. After all, there's a word for "since" in Greek, and Paul could have used it here if that's what he meant. No, the idea is a bit different.
By using the word "if," Paul is wanting his readers to ask themselves if that is really true of them. He's asking them to call into question whether or not the Holy Spirit is truly leading them. If the answer is, "Why yes, of course he is!," then the following words apply -- "then obviously you are not under the law." Here's a paraphrase of what I believe Paul means here:
Dear Christian friends, when we are really being guided by the Holy Spirit -- and I truly hope you are! -- then we will no longer feel like we have to force ourselves to obey Jewish laws.
So Paul's use of "if" here signals his concern that we are really being led at all times by God's Holy Spirit. That should trigger a time of introspection in which we ask ourselves, "Am I being guided, this very moment, by the Spirit of God?" If the answer is no, then watch out -- legalism (or its opposite: libertarianism) is about to raise its ugly head if it hasn't already.
Am I a Spirit-filled Christian? Then I am the freest person in the world -- free both from the power of sin and the pull towards works-righteousness!
Honestly evaluate your own life. If you haven't already done so, begin today to make daily Bible study a habit. Then put your faith to the test by getting involved in people's lives.