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Chinese11/24/2005English
經文:加拉太書五章
鑰節:「原來在基督耶穌堙A受割禮不受割禮全無功效,惟獨使人生發仁愛的信心,才有功效。」(5:6)
提要

        自由就是自由──不帶任何條件。那就是為什麼保羅在這段討論自由的經文(1~18節)婸﹛A真正自由的人有可能將自由當作「放縱情慾的機會」。保羅在這堛煽ˋ繻O與我先前提到的諾斯底主義有關。

        諾斯底主義將物質的世界和屬靈的世界劃分開來。他們相信,所有屬物質的(包括有血有肉的身體)都是罪惡的。這堿O為什麼他們對耶穌產生錯誤的觀念──上帝(完美的化身)的兒子耶穌怎麼可能取一個不完美、不聖潔的肉體?所以,耶穌的人性一定是個幻影──「祂不可能為女子所生」。他們將耶穌完全屬靈化,貶抑祂的人性。耶穌在他們的定義中成了一種「超級的天使」,而不是「道成肉身的上帝」。

        這種觀念對諾斯底主義者的道德有極深的影響。因為他們的身體是罪惡的,他們所能期望的肉身生活也是罪惡的。所以他們就放縱肉體的情慾,行污穢的事。同時,一方面他們宣稱自己的靈魂飛翔在天堂。他們的內在是天使,外在是魔鬼。這一切都因他們看自己在基督耶穌堿O自由的。

        這就是與律法主義相反的諾斯底主義。保羅與他們爭辯,如同與他的猶太弟兄爭辯一樣。保羅強調,不是我們可以藉自由得到什麼,而是我們可以因著自由給別人什麼。我們不止因為自由而「用愛心互相服事」,我們也瞭解,「惟獨使人生發仁愛的信心才有功效」。

        惟在愛堣~是真正的自由。

禱告

        主耶穌,幫助我們「順著聖靈而行,就不放縱肉體的情慾」。讚美我們的上帝,因為今天的經文清楚的告訴我們,我們應當如何活。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Galatians 5
Key Verse:"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love."(Galatians 5:6)
Overview

        Free means free — without qualification. That's why Paul says, in this discussion of freedom (vv.1-18), that "indulging the sinful nature" (v.13) is an option available to the truly liberted. But there is a strong caution here. And it relates to the "libertines" (Gnostics) I mentioned in the introduction.

        The Gnostics separated the world of matter from the world of spirit. They believed that all things material (including flesh and blood) were evil. This is why they had an erroneous view of Jesus — "how can Jesus, the Son of God (perfect in everything) take on flesh which is imperfect and unholy?" they asked, in effect. Therefore, Jesus must have been an illusion in terms of His humanity: "He could not have been born of a woman". So they spiritualized Jesus and "dehumanized" Him. He became a kind of "super-angle" but not "God in flesh".

        This had a profound impact on their morality. Because their bodies (and all matter) were evil, all that could be expected of their flesh was evil. Thus, they indulged their fleshly appetites with impurity while, at the same time, "soaring to the heavenlies" in their spirituality. Inwardly they were "angels", outwardly they were "devils"; all because they saw themselves as "free" in Christ Jesus.

        So here you had the antithesis of legalism. Paul took issue with it as much as he did with his Judaizing "brethren". The issue of freedom, as Paul presents it, is not how much we get out of it, but how much we give because of it. We're not only to "serve one another in love" (v.13) because of it, but we're also to understand that "the only thing that counts in faith expressing itself through love" (v.6).

        Freedom is freedom. But it isn't free unless it loves.

Prayer

        Lord Jesus, grant that as we've read in this chapter, we will "Walk in the Spirit, and not fulfill the lust of the flesh." Praise You, our God, for the clear Word of this chapter as to how we should live. Give us insight as we read the meditate on Galatians 5. Amen.


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