“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 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,” Galatians 5:16-17..
In these verses Paul is once again explaining the way out of the predicament he spoke of in Romans 7, the sin that dwells within our flesh and prevents us from doing the good we want to do, and causes us to do evil instead.
He further states, “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law,” Galatians 5:18.
So Christians are free from having to keep the Law as long as they are led by the Spirit. If one is not led by the Spirit, he is led by the flesh, and is walking in sin, because he is under the Law and cannot can keep it.
“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God,” Romans 8:6-8.
Outside of the Spirit, we are in sin, and if we keep sinning willfully, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries, Hebrews 10:26-27.
Paul said, “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,’” Galatians 5:13-14. Our kind Father works this in us as we abide in His Son Jesus.
Again, this is accomplished by walking by the Spirit, and not the flesh, for in the Spirit we are clothed with the righteousness of Christ Jesus, through whom we fulfill the Law.
Walking in the Spirit is walking in love, for God is love. We not only love one another and our neighbors and our enemies, we also love God and keep His commandments which include following Jesus and learning obedience from the things which we suffer. If we don’t do this, we are illegitimate children, walking in the sin of our flesh.
Dear ones, we all have sin dwelling within us, as Romans 7:17-18 says, “So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which indwells me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is present in me, but the doing the good is not. For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish.”
We were all conceived in sin and brought forth in iniquity because we descended from Adam, and his sin was passed on to us. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. So sin dwells in our body of flesh. But we are delivered from it by the blood and sacrifice of Jesus, wherein we now walk in the righteousness of Christ in and by His Spirit, rather than in and by our flesh.
Jesus appeared to take away sins; and in Him there is no sin. “No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him,” 1 John 3:5-6.
Read further and you will see the children of God and the children of the devil are known by their works; the children of God practice righteousness, the children of the devil practice sin. And who are the children of God, but those who walk by the Spirit.
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God,” Romans 8:14. This is why we must abide in Jesus, for to not abide in Him is to walk by our sinful flesh.
Jesus has become to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption. This is not of ourselves. We are in Christ because God put us there, 1 Corinthians 1:30. The only righteousness we have is the righteousness of Jesus. For this reason we must abide in Him to be righteous, And to abide in Him, we must obey Him; to obey Him, we must learn obedience from the things which we suffer, such as temptations and every other suffering we encounter, for obedience is learned through suffering, Hebrews 5:8.
“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,” 1 Peter 2:21.
God is patient and He is willing to guide us and teach us obedience, and we need only subject ourselves to Him and learn the lessons He teaches us. If we don’t, we are illegitimate children, choosing to walk by the flesh, rather than the Spirit of Christ. “But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons,” Hebrews 12:8.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
Please weigh everything I say on the scales of the word of God.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org