If We Live In The Spirit
“If We Live In The Spirit”
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 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 who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (Gal. 5:16-26).
We Have A Choice!
Paul, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gives two lists in this section: The works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. However, these two lists are not equal, nor do they both lead to the same end! The works of the flesh lead to condemnation, while the fruit of the Spirit lead to eternal life.
Therefore, we must each observe the choice at hand! Clearly, one cannot be acceptable before the Lord while living for the flesh. In fact, practicing any works of the flesh will render yourself unable to have all of the fruit of the Spirit. In fact, Paul states the contrary nature of these two lists: “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Gal. 5:17).
Which will you choose? Will you choose to live for yourself, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh? Or, will you choose to deny yourself and live for the Lord? Choose for yourself today!
“Those Who Are Christ’s”
Christ shed His blood so that He might “redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Tit. 2:14). Christians are to live differently from their worldly counterparts (2 Cor. 6:11-7:1). Christians are to talk differently, act differently, and think differently. Christians have been purified!
But, do we fully appreciate the purification we have received? Consider: Once, we were lost in our sins. Our garments were wholly defiled. We were doomed for eternal destruction in Hell! Yet, while we were still sinners, Christ died for the ungodly (Rom. 5:6-11). This blood, the blood of the pure, sinless, Son of God, enabled each of us to have our defiled garments made pure and white as snow! Now, by the grace of our Lord, we are what we are and now enjoy the hope of a home in Heaven forevermore! This purification took place when we were obedient to the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:22).
Now, that we have received this purification, our responsibility is to live in such a way so that we do not again defile those pure garments! But, how do we do that?
From the text, we must consider ourselves to belong to the Lord Himself. No longer are we to consider our lives as our own, but, rather, the Lord’s! “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).
Is your very purpose for living to please the Lord? You must live for something/somebody. The question is, for what/for whom do you live? A life that is lived for yourself will be engaged in the works of the flesh. However, a life that is fully given over to the Lord will refuse those sinful works and will be fully led by the Spirit.
Are you so dedicated to the Lord to deny yourself and to live for Him? “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk. 9:23). Are you willing to denounce worldliness in order to live a life pleasing to your Savior? If not, why not?
Did You Fully Repent?
When you decided to be baptized into Christ Jesus, did you fully obey the Gospel? Did you repent of your sinful works, thoughts, etc.? Did you determine to put off the old man in order to put on the new?
Or, were you content with only “a form of godliness”? Were you content to be only “lukewarm” in your personal life? Were you reluctant to give up the works of the flesh?
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). Did you deny that power by refusing to obey that Gospel? If so, make the necessary change(s) in your life today!
Will You Repent?
Perhaps you have either: (1) Never obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or, (2) Have obeyed the Gospel, but have not been living a dedicated life for Him. If you find yourself in either of these situations, you need to make your life right with God as well. This world only offers temporary, passing pleasures. However, the one who obeys the Gospel of our Lord will abide forever (1 John 2:17).
Don’t hesitate! Destroy the works of the flesh that are within your body. Crucify them (Gal. 5:24)! Give your life over to the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself to purify your soul!
- Eric Krieg -
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.