Tuesday, July 07, 2015

A war within - Galatians 5:16-18

"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law." (Galatians 5:16-18)
Prior to our being born again in Christ, there was only one driving force in our lives, that being the lusts of our flesh. While we instinctively understood the call of righteousness and the difference between right and wrong, we failed to find the strength and power to do what was right and righteous. We were slaves to the carnal desires of our flesh to do its bidding and to seek its satisfaction. We may have wanted to do right but we always seemed to end up doing what was wrong. Paul explains it this way, "I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. For I joyfully concur with the law of God in the inner man, but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:21-24)

In our fallen state, our flesh never desired the things of the Spirit and it opposed our desire to do what was right. Our bondage to sin enslaved us to our fleshly desires so that we were no longer free to do the good we wished to do. There was a war within ourselves, a war we were unable to win. Paul says, "For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate." (Romans 7:14-15) Fortunately, Jesus came not only to forgive us and to free us from our sin but also to send forth His Spirit into our hearts to lead us into righteousness. Now there are two driving forces within us: our flesh and His Spirit and it is up to us to choose between the two. We are no longer slaves to our flesh but are able to choose whom we will listen to; whom we will obey. We can now choose the leading of the Spirit over the cries of our flesh.

The goal of the law was to regulate our lives by stipulating the denial of the flesh with its lusts and desires, a command that we were helpless to keep in totality. However, now that we have the Spirit of God living within us, we no longer need the law to command our flesh. If we yield to the leading of the Spirit then it will always lead us into righteousness and never to fulfill the desires of the flesh. Therefore the law is no longer necessary. We know longer need the law to teach us right from wrong for our worry is not with right and wrong but rather simply obeying the Spirit of God. If we follow the Spirit then we will automatically do what is right for He will only lead us into what is right.

The Spirit and the law; both have the same end in mind, that being righteousness, but only one has the power to guide and deliver us to that end. The Law speaks of righteousness but it is the Spirit that can grant it in our lives. Both are good, but only one has the keys to unlock the promise. Let us live by the Spirit and worry no longer regarding the law.

David Robison

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