Sunday, March 31, 2019

696. The Spirit Vs. the Flesh (Walking in the Spirit)

“The law is not of faith.” This word from Paul is a central theme throughout the book of Galatians. It needs to be kept in mind as we look through the letter, including chapter 5 as the apostle compares the Spirit to the flesh. Believers in Christ who had been freed from the law are no longer in the flesh, but in the Spirit (Romans 8:9). Although we can be tempted with the works of the flesh that Paul lists in Galatians 5, it is those who are of the flesh that will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (unbelievers). They are stuck in “works” mode… which may appear as sinful and at other times it may appear as Godly. This is not a passage on living “good enough” to inherit eternal life. We’ve all continued to struggle with being perfect… we still may have moments of anger, quarrels, jealousy, impure thoughts, etc. Fear not! God is always with you and He desires to be our helper during those times.

The Galatians were earlier accused of having fallen from grace because they were trying to be perfected by the law of works (Galatians 3:3 & 5:4). As children of God, we receive an inheritance as a gift because we are an heir, not because we are living in a way that is going to be considered morally acceptable. This is not to diminish or disregard the importance of behavior - Paul’s exhortation is for us who are in Christ to behave in a way that reflects the true righteous nature of who we’ve been born to be in Christ. This is not accomplished by our empty efforts of trying to produce our own fruit, but by the Holy Spirit within us. Now we can bear His fruit, apart from the law of works.

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