Flesh versus Spirit

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5:18 ESV)

I. The Christian Life is a Life of Conflict Against Sin (verse 17).

A) It is a present conflict (Rom. 7:21).

B) It is a powerful conflict (Rom. 7:22-23)

C) It is a perpetual conflict (Rom. 7:24-25)

II. The Christian Life is a Life of Dependence on the Spirit (verse 16).

A) The Spirit helps us fight against sin (Rom. 8:12-13).

  • The Spirit makes us willing (Psalm 110:3; Phil. 2:13).
  • The Spirit makes us loving (Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:23; Ezekiel 36:26).
  • The Spirit gives us power (Phil. 2:13; 2 Tim. 1:7; Ezekiel 36:27).

B) The Spirit is proof that we are freed from the law’s condemnation (Gal. 5:18; Rom. 8:1-4).

Paul says in verse 17 that because of this conflict between the flesh and the Spirit we won’t be able to do want to do. He anticipates that there will be times when we will fail. But even then we ought not to be discouraged because if the Spirit is operative in our lives, that shows we are God’s children, people who have put our faith in Jesus Christ and who are therefore justified by faith and not by works. We are not under the law and can no longer be condemned by it for our failures. Our acceptance is not based on our performance and our obedience is done n the light of God’s unconditional love for us in Christ – not out of fear that if we fail he will no longer love us (Acts 13:38-39; Rom. 8:14-15; 1 John 4:13-18).

  • How do we walk in Holy Spirit?

i. By renewing our minds primarily through God’s Word (Rom. 8:5, 6; 12:2; Col. 3:1-2; Eph. 5:18-21 & Col. 3:16-17).

ii. By praying for the Spirit’s help (Luke 11:13)

iii. By taking care not to grieve the Spirit (Eph. 4:30-32)

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