Saturday, March 03, 2007

Galatians 5:16-18 - Live by the Spirit!

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want (note: rather you do what the Spirit wants). 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

It is so hard to hear people argue that fighting sin and striving for complete obedience to God is falling into works and serving the law. I just read through Galatians this morning and again I clearly see Paul’s distinction between serving the law and serving God. It is all about your heart and where your motivation lies. However, the end result must be a life lived through Christ not gratifying the desires of the sinful nature. There is no argument made by Paul that fighting sin is an act of the law. In fact he is arguing that if you live for the law you will continue to sin. However, if you surrender to Christ and live by the Spirit you will fight your sinful nature and it will be crucified. So walking by the Spirit (v. 16) means fighting in a war between the Spirit and the sinful nature (v. 17). The connection between verse 16 and verse 17 indicates that those who live by the Spirit are not neutral in this war. They are committed to fight on the side of the Spirit against the desires of the sinful nature. This is the conflict of a thoroughly committed Christian who is choosing each day to "walk by the Spirit." If you truly belong to Christ, the sinful nature will be crucified (daily) and your life will not be characterized by living in sin. In fact, these verses indicate that if you’re gratifying the desires of the sinful nature and therefore are not living by the Spirit, then you are the one under the law.

Again, it is so sad to hear people twisting the Gospel and Paul’s teaching about living by the Spirit rather than by the law. The law is man-made rules. But many throw obedience and the pursuit of a righteous, godly and Christ-like life into the definition of the law and thereby excuse themselves from this pursuit. They do this because it takes effort to do these things and they define effort as a bad (legalistic) work. Effort is not bad and is not the definition of the law. Each day the Christian who chooses to walk by the Spirit is engaged in a fierce battle (effort) between the Spirit and the sinful nature. However, it is in Christ and by the Spirit that we receive the power needed for victory as we engage in the fight!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Do you really understand walking by the the spirit? Most people don't know what that means because they really don't know it or understand it. You get bits and pieces here and there. We are being saved aka "healed" through grace by faith. It is a gift from God. No one walks 100% in the spirit or we would already be Jesus, highlight on alreay...We will all overcome like Jesus. It is a life process, not just some words you can repeat from a pastor, like "Jesus I accept you in my heart", and all of the sudden you are now walking in the spirit. People have to walk out their salvation and realize that Jesus is already in ALL of us. We have all been given a measure of faith from our Father. So for all of the experienced believers lets walk by the spirit and learn how to pull more Jesus out of people and help activate Jesus in thier lives and really show them how much God loves them. That is what Jesus really came here to do. He didn't come into the world to condemn it but to save it. Love is the fufillment of the law. So as Paul is stating don't condone sin, however take your focus off of sin and concentrate on love and you will be able to heal people, We ALL fall short of God's glory but be honest can you really see his Spirit move when you worry about other people's sin or even your own for that matter.