LIVING BY THE SPIRIT. Lesson 12 for December 17, 2011. In Galatians, 5: 16-26, Paul is talking about “walking in the Spirit” in contrast to doing “the works of the flesh ”. What does the Bible mean by “walking” in God’s ways (Deuteronomy, 13: 4-5; Romans, 13: 13; Colossians, 1: 10 )?.
Lesson 12 for December 17, 2011
In Galatians, 5: 16-26, Paul is talking about “walking in the Spirit” in contrast to doing “the works of the flesh”.
What does the Bible mean by “walking” in God’s ways (Deuteronomy, 13: 4-5; Romans, 13: 13; Colossians, 1: 10)?
PleasingHim in everything
Bearing fruit of good deeds
Growing in knowingGod
Definitely, “walking” means the conduct that must characterize a believer’s life.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Ephesians, 4: 1)
In the Bible, “walking” is related to observing the law.
In the New Testament, a new aspect is introduced in that idea. It not only involves observing the Ten Commandments expanded by Jesus’ teachings, but it also involves that that observance must be guided or motivated by the Spirit.
Paul contrasts the Christian conduct (the fruit of the Spirit) with a non-Christian conduct (the works of the flesh)
WHAT ARE THE WORKS OF THE FLESH?
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God” (Romans, 8: 7-8)
With the expression “the works of the flesh”, Paul is talking about breaking God’s Commandments.
Doing the works of the fleshmeans to be influenced by oursinful nature instead of being influenced by the Spirit.
“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” (Galatians, 5: 19-21)
WHAT IS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT?
“Shall we consider that we are capable of fashioning our lives and characters to enter into the portals of glory? We cannot do it. We are dependent every moment upon the Spirit of God operating upon us and upon our children…
Your compassionate Redeemer is watching you in love and sympathy, ready to hear your prayers, and render you the assistance which you need in your life-work. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, faith and charity are the elements of the Christian character. These precious graces are the fruits of the Spirit. They are the Christian’s crown and shield.... Nothing can give more perfect content and satisfactions.
As you receive the Spirit of Christ, ... you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely…
This fruit can never perish, but will produce after its kind a harvest unto eternal life”
E.G.W. (Sons and daughters of God, January 26)
THE FIGHT OF THE CHRISTIAN
“For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Romans, 7: 22-24 NIV)
The fight between the desire of sinning (the works of the flesh) and the desire of doing God’s will (the fruit of the Spirit) is a constant fight for the believer. We can only win that fight by clinging to Jesus Christ.
The only hope we have to control the flesh is to make the daily decision of be in the Spirit’s side against our sinful side.
It’s interesting how “the works of the flesh” is written in the plural and “the fruit of the spirit” in the singular. There are a lot of ways to sin, but only one way to live a life that pleases God.
In Galatians, 5: 16-26, Paul uses five different verbs to teach how a believer’s life can be lived.
“Towalk” (to stroll), verse 16. To daily live in harmony with God’s will as Enoch did.
“Tobeled” verse 18. To let the Spirit guide us to the right paths.
“Tocrucify”, verse 24. We must make the firm decision of making the desires of the flesh die. We crucify the flesh when we feed our spiritual life.
“Tolive”, verse 25. The believer must renew the experience of a new birth every day.
“Towalk” (to march in one direction), verse 25. If we have already accepted the conduction of the Holy Spirit, we'll effectively show it in our daily life.
“The Holy Spirit is our efficiency in the work of character building, in forming characters after the divine similitude. When we think ourselves capable of molding our own experience, we make a great mistake. We can never of ourselves obtain the victory over temptation. But those who have genuine faith in Christ will be worked by the Holy Spirit. The soul in whose heart faith abides will grow into a beautiful temple for the Lord. He is directed by the grace of Christ. Just in proportion as he depends on the Holy Spirit’s teaching he will grow. The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul”
E.G.W. (That I may know Him, February 20)