Thursday, March 17, 2011

Walk in Spirit

 This is a devotional that I wrote for the group from our church that went to Honduras.

Walk in Spirit
Read Galatians 5:13-26

Throughout the whole book of Galatians Paul is reminding the church that in the gospel they are no longer  bound by the law but rather freed by God’s grace, through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  But now, suddenly, we get to the end of the book and find that Paul is telling them how they should live!  How can this possibly make any sense?  Isn’t it legalism for one Christian to tell another Christian how to live?  Won’t it drive newcomers away if they find that we have certain actions we are to do and others that we are not to do?  Isn’t this contrary to grace?
There are so many people today, tired with the legalisms of yesterday, that automatically reject any admonition for “proper living” as legalism.  But we see here that our freedom in Christ necessitates a certain lifestyle.
What we learn through the book of Galatians (as well as Romans, Ephesians, and the Peters) is that when we receive the grace of God we are made alive in our spirit.  We were once dead in our sins, but have been made alive in Jesus.  Your spirit is not dead, rather, it is very alive!
So now we are actually in bondage to a higher law, the law of the Spirit (Matthew 5:17-20, Romans 6:18).  In fact, God has written His law upon our hearts.  It is not that we can now live however we like, because the Spirit is in direct opposition to the sin nature, which means that we may not do whatever we want (verse 17) but can instead live as we should.
Paul is saying here (cf. 1 Peter 1:13-16, 2 Peter 1:3-9, Romans 6-8:17, Ephesians 2:1-8, 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Colossians 3:1-17) you once lived according to the intense desires of the flesh and you were powerless against them, but now that you have been made alive by the Spirit you must no longer satisfy those desires of the flesh.  Instead, walk in spirit, listen to the Holy Spirit, and if you do this you will not satisfy the desires of the flesh because they are in opposition to each other.  This then ties the second half of the chapter back to verse 1 “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
So, do not fulfill the longings of the flesh, but rather walk in spirit.

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