Walking by Faith, According to the Spirit

Galatians 5:16-18 ESV

“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.”

When you are reading the Scriptures, it is good to take the time to break down these words and phrases and to look at what they actually mean. I highly recommend journaling what the Lord is teaching you through the Scriptures, if at all possible, because it helps you focus on what is being said, and it helps you to make personal application to your life what is being taught. Plus, you have something written you can refer back to later.

Okay, let’s dig into this passage. What does it mean to “walk by the Spirit”? Well, our walk has to do with how we live our lives day in and day out. It includes our habits, our speech, our attitudes, and our actions (conduct). So, if we are walking by the Spirit of God, then this would mean that we are living our lives according to the Spirit, according to the will of God, and in line with the Scriptures and in line with God’s character and will for our lives.

This means that we will be conducting our lives in holiness, righteousness, honesty, uprightness, integrity, moral purity, godliness, faithfulness, and in self-control. And it means that we will not be conducting our lives in sexual immorality, impurity, godlessness, faithlessness, adultery, deception, and in self-indulgence, etc., which is the point of what this is saying here. For, if we are living godly and holy lives we will not be living godless and wicked lives.

For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh. I wish every person who confesses Jesus as Lord of his life would get this. So many people are teaching salvation from sin as merely a free ride to heaven, basically, with nothing required of us at all. They are teaching God’s grace as merely forgiveness of sins, freedom from punishment, and the hope of heaven when they die, with no death to sin.

But we can’t be saved from our sins and be in relationship with Almighty God and be on our way to heaven if we are still living in sin, deliberately and habitually committing sin against God and against our fellow humans. It doesn’t mean we are perfect people, but it means we should now be walking by the Spirit and no longer according to our fleshly appetites. And being led by the Spirit does not mean we are lawless. Keep reading..

Galatians 5:19-21 ESV

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 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.”

A lot of people who are following what some of us call “the cheap grace gospel,” which is a cheapened, diluted, and altered gospel of Christ, which is a half-truth (lie) gospel, are living exactly like this, for they feel that God’s grace has given them permission to continue in their sin, only now without guilt and without the fear of punishment. And the Apostle Paul is their “cheap grace” guru, and this is because they don’t really read all he wrote.

They “cherry-pick” the Scriptures they like, pull them out of context, and make them say what they want to hear. Ephesians 2:8-9 is one of their key passages of Scripture because it says we are saved by God’s grace through faith and that this is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest anyone should boast. But they leave out verse 10 which says that we are now God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works that God planned out in advance that we should walk (in conduct) in them.

So, what is this saying? It is saying that we can’t earn or deserve our own salvation by our own fleshly works, of our own choosing. But it is also saying that even the faith to believe in Jesus comes from God and is not of ourselves, so we don’t get to decide what this faith looks like. God does! And what his word teaches is that we must live holy and godly lives in moral purity and in integrity and that we are not to live in the filth of this sinful world or else we will NOT inherit the kingdom of God!

Galatians 5:22-24 ESV

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Fruit, in this context, is not eatable. It is not bananas, oranges, grapes, etc., but it is the results, the outgrowth, the evidence of lives committed to God, in partnership (union) with Jesus Christ. If we have the Spirit of God living within us, by God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, the results of that should be all of the above. Again, this doesn’t mean we will be perfect, but this should be our practice. These qualities should be evidenced in our lives in our attitudes and actions and should be increasing in volume.

But this is not of ourselves, for this is the fruit of the Spirit, not of the flesh. We can’t generate all these in our own flesh. They are the evidence that God’s Spirit is living within us and that Jesus is living his life in and out through us as we yield control of our lives over to him, and as we cooperate (in partnership with him) with him in his will and purpose for our lives. We should be people who love with God’s love, and are kind, and are faithful.

For, those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Again, this is not a mark of absolute perfection, and we definitely will grow in this as we grow in our walks of faith, and daily we will still have to put sin to death and to put on Christ and his righteousness and to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return.

But lack of perfection or the spiritual growth process are never to be used as excuses for deliberate and habitual sin. For I hear these excuses on a regular basis, such as “I will never be perfect,” or “No one is perfect,” or “It takes time to overcome a sinful addiction,” even if they have had a lifetime to overcome it. So, here we go back to the previous section and we read that those who make sin their practice (addiction) will not inherit eternal life with God. And we need to take this seriously, for God means what he says.

My Jesus, My Savior

Michael W. Smith

My Jesus, My Saviour,
Lord, there is none like you,
All of my days, I want to praise
The wonders of Your mighty love.

My comfort, my shelter,
Tower of refuge and strength
Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.

I sing for joy at the work of your hands,
Forever I’ll love you, forever I’ll stand
Nothing compares to the promise I have in You.

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