How we live indicates if we are driven by our flesh or the Spirit of God. The book of Galatians says, “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.” (5:17). This conflict was a problem in the ancient world and continues to be today.
Paul, while speaking of true spiritual freedom which is freedom from the Law, gives two clear lists in Galatians 5 with which to check ourselves. The works of the flesh (our old sin nature from Adam) result in us acting like animals who “bite and devour one another” like wild dogs (5:15). Then verse 19 gives a fifteen-point list that starts with sexual sins like immorality. Then it refers to spiritual sins like idolatry and sorcery (drugs) etc.. Finally, he gives a long list of relational sins like “enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these.” Those who habitually “practice” such things will not "see the kingdom of God." True Christians are not perfect and can trip up on these, but they won’t continue in them constantly. Is this where you are?
Next is a list of the “fruit of the Spirit” (singular) that genuine believers should exhibit. This is a life not lived by the Law but by the Spirit. It starts with love, joy peace etc. and ends with self-control. There are nine fruits that the Spirit here that are a picture of Christ ultimately. Therefore, we go from lust driven by the selfish flesh to love produced by the Spirit.
What is Paul saying? He is saying that if you are born again by faith in Christ alone through His grace alone then you will walk by the Spirit to live a holy life. The unseen Spirit of God abides in and walks with the believer through life. You won’t need a list of laws to tell you what to do (v.18). This is actually a higher standard that living by Law because it is direct from the Holy Spirit. However, the Law is not totally abolished. It helps man understand it is impossible to keep (the Law, that is) and should bring us to repentance. But the Holy Spirit that dwells in every believer is the One who gently leads us along and directs us (I Cor. 12:13). Are you yielded to Him?
Therefore, what do we do when we find a believer caught in sin? What is our responsibility? We will find out this Sunday (3/11) as we look at Galatians 6 next. Here we find instruction on how to humbly help those caught in sin. Do you know how?
Building project update: A week ago the county met with us and made minor plan suggestions except for requiring us to pave our parking lot. Plan changes are being made before we make the formal application for the building permit.
Spring you clocks ahead one hour Saturday night. If you are able, watch some of the excellent sessions from the Shepherds Conference this Thursday and Friday at www.shepherdsconference.org.
Sunday welcome our Camp Gilead friends as they update us on the ministry there. The Seniors Brown Bag Luncheon is happening right after church also in the Fireside Room so pack your lunch and enjoy the fellowship.