Grace For The Journey
We have been learning in this week’s blogs that the believer in Christ is a freed man! We are looking at what that means from the teaching of Galatians chapter 5. We continue in today’s blog to learn just what this freedom means? How should that affect our lives? I invite you to have your Bible open as we go through God’s Word. Yesterday we learned that freedom is the power to live so as to please and glorify God and that this power significantly impacts our relationships. Today we will look at the conflict and conquest that freedom in Christ brings.
Our Conflict: The Struggle Between the Flesh and the Spirit
The Bible says in Galatians 5:17, “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”
In this verse . . .
The Apostle explains why we need to be walking by the Spirit –
To have a life controlled and energized by the Holy Spirit.
The explanation is found in the fact of the conflict going on between the Spirit and the flesh. Though we are judicially dead to the sinful nature and its power and can experience the deliverance of our new life in Christ though our union with Him (Romans 6:1-14), the sinful nature is nevertheless not eradicated.
The acceptance of Christ into one’s heart will inevitably provoke a determined resistance on the part of the old sinful nature which previously has had everything its own way.
It is imperative for our spiritual growth that we grasp the fact that
The old nature is not removed or reformed at regeneration.
Failure to understand this important fact frequently plunges a new convert into needless bewilderment and even despair of his standing before God when, after a period of victory and fellowship with Jesus, he stumbles into the old sins and faults he thought had been dealt with through the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Our Conquest: Deliverance from the Law through the Spirit
The Bible says in Galatians 5:18, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.”
Again, this does not mean Christians are without responsibilities and command to obey. The Lord said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments.”
The point is we have a new means of living.
Just as justification is not by the works of the Law,
So sanctification cannot be achieved by human effort.
The believer is not spiritual because he keeps a set of principles or imperatives. He keeps the imperatives of Scripture because he is spiritual.
To be under the law is to be under its authority as a rule of life, and thus to try to keep it as a means of sanctification.
If the believer is to live the glorious life of freedom in Christ he must understand the difference between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit.
The Bible says in Galatians 5:19-23, “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy murders, drunkenness, revelries , and the like; of which I tell you beforehand , just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law And those hwo are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
These verses show us several things . . .
(1) A Contrast of Source or Means—Flesh versus Spirit—one or the other is dominant.
(2) A Contrast of Results or Effects—Works (points to human resources) versus Fruit (points to inner life and the divine resources that are worked out in our lives as we grow in our walk with Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
(3) A Contrast of Characteristics and Blessings.
The Works of the Flesh (19-21). These fleshly characteristics are only a small illustration of the activities of the flesh. These “works of the flesh” involve the heart, the mind, the emotions, and the physical part of man which has been affected by sin. The works of the flesh demonstrate our nature to seek to satisfy and please ourselves and our earthly desires rather than know and please God.
The Fruit of the Spirit (22-23). “Fruit” is singular which suggests that these nine qualities form a unity. When one is missing the whole is spoiled. They form picture of the drastic difference that a life of walking in the Spirit makes. These “fruit” affect our relationship with God, others, and ourselves. This type of life is a Spirit-produced, Spirit-controlled life that is satisfied with God, sacrificial in love toward others, and savoring the joys and effects of our faith-relationship with God.
Our Crucifixion: The Foundation for Transformed Living
The Bible says in Galatians 5:24, “And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
This does not refer to self-crucifixion or self-mortification –
That which man does in the energy of the flesh to overcome the flesh.
It refers to the truth of Romans 6:1-14 . . .
The truth of the believer’s co-identification with Christ
Through the baptizing work of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).
This is the work of God which positionally and judicially unites us into Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection so that, while the flesh is still active, its power is broken with the result we can walk in newness of life. The flesh is still alive to us, as the context makes perfectly clear, but we are dead to it and we can, through the Spirit, have victory over its desires.
We will look at how to cultivate this life of freedom in tomorrow’s blog.
This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”