From Galatians 4-6
Initially in Galatians, Paul commands the Gentiles not to observe the works of law. If they do they will be abandoning Christ and falling from grace. Today we look at the later chapters. He switches direction and reminds them to observe more important commands. To walk in the Spirit and deny the desires of the flesh.
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 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. (Gal 5:16–21)
When they came to believe Jesus was the Christ one of the first things Paul instructed them was to avoid these sins. He also stressed this in the strongest possible terms, that if they did these things they would not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul knew that the Lord would help them win victory over these sins. The Galatians are potentially in danger of some of them. Paul earlier said, ‘if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another’ (Gal 5:15).
Paul moves on to a more pleasant topic. The fruits of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Gal 5:22–26)
Paul has not said the Galatians were manifesting these fruit. But he has said this in part to encourage them to pursue these fruits and to warn them because they probably lack them.
Words for believers
I can’t speak for everyone reading this blog whether they do gratify the desires of the flesh or bear fruit of the Spirit. The warning and encouragement is clear. Be warned that those who continue in the desires of the flesh will not inherit the kingdom. This is not a death sentence if you have, rather it is opportunity to repent and receive forgiveness.
On the other hand I think it is helpful if we keep exhorting one another as Paul did to ‘keep in step with the Spirit’. What does this mean other than spending time with Jesus, praying to him for guidance and a filling of his Spirit and seeking each of these fruits (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) as we need them.
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