The Spirit vs. The Flesh

Gal 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Gal 5:17 For 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.

Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Gal 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,

Gal 5:20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions,

Gal 5:21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

It is becoming more and more evident that people simply do not know how to live for Christ. Not that there isn’t a desire to do so, it is just becoming more apparent through social media and through the dialed in avenues we have, to see by and large, the church is struggling to practically live for Christ. You hear about Pastors’ moral failure, corrupt deacon boards, ministry financial scandals, etc. It’s unfortunate and sad to say the church is struggling with the same sins as the world.

Paul in Galatians is dealing with a church that was struggling to practically live for Christ. They loved the Lord and thought they were living for God after their whole hearts but, in a more real since, had divided faith. Their faith was partly in Christ for salvation but when it regarded living an ‘every day life for Christ’ they struggled.

Why did they struggle? What was Paul so upset about? Why did Paul spend the bulk of his time in this letter frustrated? The answer is simple, as it is still the problem today; they moved ‘beyond’ the Cross. The truth is the same, the answer for every sin of mankind is the Cross of Jesus Christ. Simple faith in Christ is how we became saved and is how we stayed saved. (Col. 2:6) The sins listed in this passage are all apart of our corrupt flesh. If we are honest with God and ourselves we have all fallen under at least one of these acts at some point in time.

The heart of mankind is deceitfully and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9), having said that we see the state of the church and we now realize this more than ever. Even after salvation our hearts can often times find an evil place to rest. The battle of the Flesh vs. the Spirit is ever on-going and ever shall be on-going until we reach Heaven. The fight however, is not a physical fight, it’s not a fight of performance, it’s not a fight within our own flesh, it is a fight of faith. Faith in what? You might ask. Faith in ourselves? Faith in our ability to abstain from sin? Faith in the church? No. Faith in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

The ONLY way you can receive freedom from the sins Paul lists is by faith in Christ and His atonement made at Calvary. In order for your flesh to not act out it must be crucified, daily. (Luke 9:23) Every day your flesh has to die. The Spirit of God cannot coexist with your flesh. Your sinful, fleshly desires have to die by being placed to the Cross of Christ.

So many times after the believer is saved we conclude that now we must live for Christ out of our own strength. The truth is even after receiving Christ and becoming a new creation, you still cannot live for Christ within yourself. It has to be all Jesus to become saved, and it has to be all Jesus to continue in salvation. It is all Jesus, all the time. Our free will must be placed in Jesus. You may ask Pastor, how do I do that? Simply place your trust, faith, reliance all on Christ today.

One thing that helps me understand this truth is by reading the word of God. Specifically Romans 6, it shares what happens to us at salvation, and how to keep us in right relationship with God. It gives us the mechanics of our experience as a Christian. Just like Paul shares with us in Galatians if you are led by the Spirit of God, then you are not under any law. You are free from the law of sin and death, because now we have the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:2)

At the end of this list of sins Paul tells us that those who ‘do’ these things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. In the original Greek text the term ‘do’ is the word prasso which means to do, or to practice. It is an action word referring to habitual actions. I gathered this from the great theologian Kenneth Wuest of Moody Bible Institute, “The Word of God bases its estimation of a person's character, not upon his infrequent, out-of-the-ordinary actions, but upon his habitual ones, which latter form a true indication of character. Such people, the apostle says, shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

In conclusion sin is still a factor that must be daily dealt with. And do not kid yourself, repentance is not deliverance. It is merely the first step to freedom and deliverance. It is paramount and essential in order to live for Christ but it does not determine you have been delivered. We must repent of our sins and then ever keep our faith in the one mighty enough to free us from future sins. My prayer today is that we could live like Jesus taught us, being free from all that is listed in Galatians 5:20-21, help us dear Lord to live for you, help us bring Glory to your name.

Love from me to you,

Pastor Colton

People's Tabernacle Church

(731) 727.8242

64 Airways Blvd.

Savannah, TN 38372

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