Friday, July 28, 2017

Blogging Bible Study Galatians Week Nine...5:16 - 26

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi
The earnest appeal from Paul in the first half of the chapter...don't abandon grace! fleshed out in the second half of the chapter as he describes the difference between living according to one's self (sinful nature or, as the KJV calls it , the flesh) and the Spirit.

Verse sixteen has hit me various ways over the years...first, it was a promise:  live by the Spirit and you won't gratify the desires of the sinful nature. IE, living under the influence and instruction of the Holy Spirit would protect me from wandering into sinful actions.

And I do think that's true, but lately I've seen another application to selfish, sinful nature will be deprived of fulfillment.  Which means it's gonna complain about it.  Loudly, at times.  Now, it's true that the less you feed something the weaker it grows, but very few things starve quietly and that sin nature is certainly not one of them.  Which certainly does not negate the promise of the verse...but it does reflect the internal battle that rages at times.

Because, as Paul points out in the next verse, the sinful nature and the Spirit are contrary to each other.  You have to go one way or the other; you can't follow both at once.  They lead in opposing directions.

Think about that for a minute.  You can't follow both at once because they lead in opposing directions.  And look at the list of things that Paul states are works of the sinful nature:

Sexual immorality. 
Fits of rage
Selfish Ambition

Some of those things we easily lump into 'The World/The Sinful nature'...but some of those things are quite comfortable in our modern churches.   Some of them have just changed names and become matters of civil rights instead of morality and are now actually embraced by church after church in an attempt to be inclusive.

Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is not inclusive.  Not one bit.

I warn you , as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.  (5:21)

Remember, you can't follow both because they lead in opposite directions! Those who live like that will not inherit the kingdom of God because they have been led away from it.  Away. From. It.

But we do tend to focus on the more...blatant...acts of the sinful nature and totally overlook the ones in the middle of the list: hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy.  When we realize that those have just as much root in the sinful nature as the ones that get the headlines, and are just as deadly, we might actually repent and seek to walk in the Spirit.

Paul describes the fruit of the Spirit; what people who truly seek to live by the Spirit will see in their lives and relationships:


He points out in verse 18 that one led by the Spirit is not bound by laws...because, as he states in verse 23, the Spirit produces lawful behavior.

Following Jesus means crucifying the sinful nature AND its passions and desires.  And, while it's true that the sinful nature will not go down without a fight, it's also true that we have the power and ability, through the Spirit, to crucify it. It can be done.

By living according to the Spirit.

So, Paul says, lets keep in step with the Spirit, and not get conceited about it, which will result in provoking and envying each other, a warning that hearkens back to verse 15.  If we do not provoke or envy one another, we will never reach the point where we are biting and devouring one another.

Abandoning grace means relying on oneself and one's own strength...the sinful-natured follow the letter of the law. But that sin-natured self will not produce the fruit of the Spirit, only the works of the flesh.  It taints even the attempt to live holy, if that is the means by which one is trying to do so. The better way; the way of grace is to walk in the Spirit and from that we will be able to crucify those self-centered attitudes and actions.

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