Walk by the Spirit

Galatians 5:16-18

 16But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

The Apostle Paul wrote the New Testament letter to the Galatians in order to counter false teaching that this early church had quickly embraced.  Judaizers were preaching a false doctrine that Gentiles must submit to Mosaic Law before they could experience salvation through Christ.  This teaching was contrary to the doctrines of grace and justification by faith alone in Christ Jesus.  In the letter we see Paul rebuking the audience (Ch. 1), reminding the audience of his apostolic credentials (Ch. 1 & 2), reemphasizing and explaining the doctrine of justification (Ch. 3 & 4) and describing how to apply this doctrine practically as believers (Ch. 5 & 6).

In Gal 5:13-15 Paul teaches the first century audience that they are free from Mosaic law but that this liberty should not be taken as freedom to fulfill the desires of their flesh.  Paul then reminds the audience that they are called to love and serve one another.  Through this love they fulfill all moral requirements of the Old Testament law.  In Gal 5:16-18 Paul tells the Galatians to walk in the Spirit so that they do not fulfill the sinful desires of their flesh.  If they are led by the Spirit they will no longer be bound by law but will fulfill the law as the Spirit would produce fruit in them.  The final two paragraphs contrast the works of the flesh with the fruits of the Spirit.  This meant that the Galatians should be mindful of the works of the flesh and instead, walk in the power of the Holy Spirit that had been given to them upon salvation.

One difference between the Galatian audience and the New Testament church today is that we do not believe we should follow Mosaic Law in order to receive salvation through Jesus.  We do not have Judaizers today and we are not being taught that adherence to the Old Testament Law is necessary.  We believe that salvation is by the grace of God as a result of our faith in Jesus Christ.  We believe that salvation is not a result of our works (Ephesians 2:8).  One additional difference is that the New Testament church today does not question the position of Paul as an Apostle.

The theological principle in Gal 5:16-18 is to be led by the Holy Spirit constantly.  There is a war between our flesh and the Spirit of God in us.  We must allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.  If we do, we will walk in love and bear fruit.  Instead of being bound to living under rules and regulations ̶ the law, we fulfill the law as we walk in the freedom the Spirit gives.

Today we can find ourselves trapped in the snare of legalism and moralism.  As a result, we become prideful, judgmental and loveless.  Or we mistake the freedom from the law as a means to continue in sin.  The end result is a burdensome, false Christianity that does not result in love, but rather a ladder to holiness that can never reach the top.  Where is the freedom in that?  How do we walk in the Spirit?  We spend time praying, meditating on His word, committing it to memory and in fellowship with other believers.  If I awake in the morning full of worry, I can choose to take on the day with that worry or I can turn to God’s word in Philippians 4:6-7.  I can also write down the promises I find in His word so that I am ready to combat my flesh.  This allows the Spirit to lead in my life and it builds my faith.  If we constantly allow the Spirit to lead us, we will be full of love, bearing fruit and winning the war against the flesh, not by our actions, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Why Does God Allow Evil To Continue?

This is a question that Christians need to be able to answer. You may have been asked this question before if you are obediently sharing your faith as we are commanded (Mark 16:15).

First let us remember that evil is a result of sin. All have sinned (Romans 3:23)… Sin is a result of the fall and we all inherit that sinful nature. Everyone of us is guilty of evil.

Whoa! Wait a second, I wouldn’t go that far….

Why not? Sure we see or hear about evil acts daily. The news is filled with stories of evil acts such as rapes, murder, or child abuse. But what about the evil in our own hearts? If you were to ask God to stop all evil in the world, where should we ask Him to draw the line? Should we ask that it stop with murderers? Thieves? Liars?… God would be just in stopping all evil immediately but that would encompass the entire human race.

Remember, our standard is God. God is holy, pure, just, kind, merciful, true….
Anything contrary to Him is inherently evil. God is also patient. He has allowed us to continue breathing air, tasting food, experiencing the wonders of His creation, all while we continued to sin against Him. God was kind and merciful by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ, to earth where He lived a perfect life, free of sin. He was beaten and crucified. Three days later He rose from the dead conquering death so that we can be forgiven. All who REPENT of their sins and have FAITH in Jesus as their savior become JUSTIFIED before God. His goodness is credited to us because our badness was placed on Him at the cross.

So, evil exist as a result of the fall. We all are sinners and are guilty of evil. God is patient with us and provides salvation because of His love and mercy. Remember, every other religion in the world tells us to be good and hopefully your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds. Christianity is different. Jesus Christ came to tell us that NO ONE is good and even one sin against an infinitely holy God is deserving of Hell (Romans 6:23). That is why we need a savior. That is the Gospel and the only cure to evil in the world…Jesus Christ.

Evil will be punished. Those who don’t repent and trust Jesus will experience God’s wrath at judgment and be sent to hell. This is why we must share the good news as Jesus commanded.