There has been a suspicion all along that telling people to live by the Spirit and giving them true freedom in Christ will lead to sin (Gal. 2.17). Apparently the feeling was that not everyone has the strength and commitment to live by the Spirit, and they would too easily misunderstand and fall into questionable, if not sinful, behavior.

In Galatians 6.1, Paul counsels that in the case of someone falling into sin, our first reaction should not be to accuse and abuse, but to faithfully and gently restore that person to a proper understanding and a righteous life. But we need to guard our own hearts, lest we be too easily convinced that we could go in that same direction as well. We need to help each other towards godliness, not ride with each other down the broad path that leads to destruction. Pride goes before a fall, so no one should deceive himself into considering himself too godly to ever sin. We all need to be circumspect, self-examining, and accountable to others. By sharing the load and watching out for each other, we can make it together to Glory. We are a team and a family.

Beware not to think shallowly about these things. Because we live in freedom doesn’t mean God will overlook our sins. Sin is still sin, even if committed with good intentions. Always live to please the Spirit, and you will be received into heaven at the end of your journey. But to fall into sin, even on the basis of Christian freedom, will not end well. Never give up, never let up, and never take your eyes off the prize. Use every opportunity—every breath you take—to seek righteousness.

There are many pressures to take a different path—something easier, something that makes more sense to you, something that allows you to conform to your friendship circles and social pressures. Don’t fall for the guise of the easy road. There are too many hucksters, manipulators, and deceivers out there to ever let our guard down. What counts is faith expressing itself in love. What counts is the cross of Jesus Christ. What counts is new creation. All that matters is God’s will and God’s kingdom. Those who live this way will find both peace and mercy (Psalm 23.6), and Jesus will grace you with his favor. Amen.