Denying God and His Righteousness

Galatians 5:16-17 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.”

There are a lot of people today professing faith in Jesus Christ who are still walking according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit. Their minds are set on the flesh and not on God (not on the Spirit). And they are believing a cheapened form of God’s grace, which is not his grace at all, which they feel gives them the liberty to continue in sin. Yet if our minds are set on the flesh, it ends in death, not in life eternal. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God (see Romans 8:1-14).

For those who are walking by the flesh and not by the Spirit have their minds set on the flesh, and so their thinking is skewed. And so many of them end up confusing lust for love. They call it love when it is truly lust, so they think they are “in love,” but they are really “in lust,” and so they end up following their emotions, and many of them end up doing crazy and bizarre things in the name of “love” when it isn’t really love at all. And this ends up breaking up many marriages, for the person following after the lusts of the flesh does not have his (or her) head “screwed on straight.”

So, many of them end up becoming liars and manipulators in order to hide their sins in secret and/or to try to get others to do what they want them to do. For it is all about them fulfilling the lustful desires of their flesh without regard for who they are taking advantage of or for who they are hurting in the process. For the flesh is selfish in nature. And some people will even go so far as to murder those who they feel stand in the way of them fulfilling the lusts of their flesh. That is how powerful the flesh can be. Those who are driven by the flesh, thus, do not exercise common sense.

But, if truly we are in Christ, by genuine God-given faith in Christ, our minds are no longer to be set on the flesh, but on the Spirit. And we should desire to walk by the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. And if we do walk by the Spirit in conduct, and in practice, then we will not gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh. But sadly enough, far too many people claiming to have faith in Jesus Christ are still living according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, and many false teachers are giving them permission to continue living by the flesh and not by the Spirit, too.

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.”

Now, we need to pay close attention to what this is teaching us here, for this isn’t just a list of a bunch of sins. What this is saying to us is that if we make such sins as these our practice (habit) that we will not inherit the kingdom of God regardless of what faith in Jesus Christ we have confessed with our lips. For lip service only will not get us into heaven. For Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. Many who now profess his name, he will one day cast out (see Matthew 7:21-23).

So, we don’t just pray a prayer to receive Jesus Christ into our hearts and now we are good to go for eternity regardless of how we live. And we don’t just confess Christ as Lord and claim to believe in his bodily resurrection and then go on living in sin and expect that God is going to let us into his heaven. For Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and to self) and follow (obey) him. For if we hold on to our old lives of sin, we will lose them for eternity. But if for Jesus’ sake we die to sin and live to his righteousness, then we have eternal life with God (see Luke 9:23-26; cf. Romans 6:1-23).

But far too many people professing faith in Jesus Christ here in America are still living according to the flesh and not according to the Spirit, for they are convinced that a profession of faith in Jesus Christ is enough to secure them heaven for eternity regardless of how they live. But if any of these sins in this list are your habit, your go to, what you do on a somewhat regular and consistent basis, on purpose, deliberately, with full knowledge that what you are doing is wrong and against God and against other humans, and you continue in this, you will not inherit eternal life with 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.”

Now, not one of us is absolutely perfect in every way. Even Paul, as godly as he was, admitted that he was not yet perfect but that he pressed on in his walk of faith and obedience to the Lord. Now he wasn’t saying, though, that he was sinning in any way, only that he had not yet reached absolute perfection, for we won’t be entirely perfect until we are in heaven with God. So, lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for continued and deliberate sin against God and against our fellow humans. But we are all to press on in obeying our Lord Jesus and in doing his will for our lives.

So, when we are now walking by the Spirit and not walking by the flesh, then instead of our lives producing that list of sins, our lives should show forth the fruit of the Spirit. So, instead of lying and cheating and lusting after the things of the flesh, what should be coming forth from our lives should be love, kindness, faithfulness, and self-control, etc. For if we are truly in Christ, by genuine faith in Christ, we should have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires so that we are now walking by the Spirit, instead, and so now we are living to please God and not our sinful flesh.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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