Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
The Apostle Paul was talking about not being entangled again in the bondage of the law, however there is much that could be said about this verse of Scripture. Whether we came out of a religious background or not, if we have accepted Jesus as Lord of our life then we have been made free. The Apostle Paul said we had to stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free. He said this in the past tense. Liberty has been purchased for us. We have been made free. If you are a Christian and you donít consider yourself free, then ask your self this question. Am I standing fast in that which Christ has purchased for me? Am I boldly staking my claim to the freedom in Christ Jesus? The Word of God says here we have been made free. This is an accomplished fact, yet as I like to point out we have a part to play in this. He told us to do something. He told us to stand fast.
I have discovered through the years there have been times when I thought I had done what God's Word told me to do and yet I was not always seeing what I thought should be Godly results. In these times I only know one thing to do. I go before the Lord and seek wisdom. Without fail God will give His wisdom to those who truly seek after it. His Word declares He will give wisdom liberally.
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.
When we truly have the wisdom and enlightenment of God's Word to stand in and we refuse to budge, all the demons in Hell canít move us. We have to stand fast in this liberty. Christ has truly made us free. This sounds so simple yet God's Word will not fail us. It can not fail ever! Christians who say that they tried doing this and it didnít work are really saying Godís Word tried them and they failed, for surely under no circumstances will God's Word ever fail. It can not happen.
We have to realize that if there is a failure that we are the ones who fail God's Word. If we are not succeeding then we must come to grips with where the failure lies.
I realize this sounds harsh and that is not my purpose here to condemn anyone, but if we are ever to grow up we have to learn from our mistakes and go on. Sometimes these lessons are hard, but the body of Christ must come to this place, the time is too short for anything else. Jesus is coming soon, and He is looking for a spotless bride, this doesnít mean we are perfect but that we have an attitude of maturity and always willing to learn. With this kind of an attitude we will continue to grow. As we look to Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, when we keep our eyes on Him and not on the circumstances, we will grow from faith to faith to faith.
Many have taken the correct steps in learning the truth of God's Word and have seen the reality of His Word and then backed down from their stand when the pressure has been turned up. I can assure you of this, pressure will be applied to get you to back off of your stand on God's Word. Satan will make sure of it. This is persecution.
We should be encouraged to do as the Word of God says and we will see that there are end results that are for our benefit.
2 Timothy 3:10-17. But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
The end result being we will be thoroughly equipped to do every good work. We donít start out this way, we end up this way when we stand fast and walk as God's Word tells us to walk. This is so that we may be complete, meaning we lack nothing, and are equipped to do what ever God has called us to do. The Apostle Paul didnít start out this way either, but he was tenacious and he proved God's Word to be faithful. The Lord never failed Him regardless of what he faced, and he faced much more than most of us could ever say we have or will face for the sake of the Gospel.
As we grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ we will find that the tests that seem so hard today will be much easier the next time around. What seemed like an alligator snapping at us will be no more than a mere nuisance as we develop our faith in God's Word. This does not mean the tests will be a piece of cake but we can be assured that the trial of our faith develops endurance and the ability to stand when others around us seem to be failing. We will be there to hold others up as we learn to walk in patience and not back down in our time of trial. Paul got to the point where he had great joy because of these trials and tribulations.
Romans 5:3-6. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
James as well said a similar thing.
James 1:2-4. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
We see that Paul endured much for His stand on the Gospel, yet He was delivered out of every situation that came against Him. He did not back down when the going got tough.
He stood fast. We need to remember we are not alone in this. We are not down here helpless and floundering about in our own power. God is on our side.
If we are doing what God has told us to do and not just out doing our own thing, we will have the right to say as the Apostle Paul said if God be for us who can be against us.
Romans 8:31. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
In other words it doesnít matter what the enemy throws at us. We have been given the ability to stand under any circumstances. The more we stand the more confidence we will develop in our Lord and His Word. This is something that we have to develop. It takes time to develop this type of confidence, but I encourage you to keep on standing and your confidence will keep on growing. As you do, you will see that God's Word is faithful and true. It is in this steadfastness that you will prove the faithfulness of God and His Word.
His Word declares that He honors His Word above His name, this means that His Word is back up by His full power. We have to get this revelation if we are going to grow up and be steadfast in Him.
Edmund Burke said "the only time for evil to triumph is for the Godly to do nothing."
I could paraphrase that a little and say it like this, when Christians do nothing evil will triumph. So as in everything else in life we have to make a decision to act. If we donít we have already lost to evil.
I truly believe the evil that is dominating much of the Word is a direct result of Christians not doing their jobs. We all have a job to do, and that job is declare the Word of God but also to stand firm in it. God has given great authority to His church, yet if we donít know we have this authority or we wonít walk in what we have been given, how are we ever going to be the victorious church the Word of God says we are? I have had this on my heart a long time now and I am not pointing my finger at anybody, only trying to encourage Christians across the board to begin to seek God and find their rightful place in God's kingdom. Donít let our county be taken over by a generation who doesnít know or want to know God. I donít want this to be my heritage do you?
We have to be consistent in what we do. We must be steadfast in our walk of faith and steadfast in our love of the brethren. Let me repeat the Apostle Paul's words -- But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions.
These things are truly the character building blocks of a man or woman of God who is lacking in no good thing and will not fall when the storms of life come their way.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I would like to invite you to come to Him, the first step is to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.