Galatians 5:16 (CSB) - "I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will certainly not carry out the desire of the flesh."
Yesterday, we mused over the first part of Chapter 5 - our freedom in the Son. Today, we will consider the Fruit of the Spirit working in our lives.
Paul begins by describing the conflict we face the fierce struggle within the believer
(5:16-18). The Contenders in this conflict are presented for our understanding (5:17-18). We start with the first contender - our evil nature (5:17a) – our flesh. Often we say – “The Devil made me do it.” When in reality, it is our own sinful nature that does it. Our evil nature is why we cannot keep the Law. That brings us to the second contender - The Holy Spirit (5:17b-18). When we are being led by the Spirit, we are no longer under the control of the Law. Yet, we will walk on the right path.
Paul discusses the Council of God (5:16). “Live according to your new life in the Holy Spirit” (5:16a). “Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves” (5:16b)
OK, that sounds simple enough. Right!
Paul now expands this concept – as he talks about ... The children (5:19-26).
First, he enumerates the fruits of the flesh (5:19-21). Immorality, idolatry, hatred, discord, selfish ambition, envy, drunkenness, etc. When we attempt to become righteous under our own efforts – living by the Law, we find that the flesh is able to sow its own seeds for harvest. And they grow like weeds. Paul is here stating that if one is attempting to get into heaven by his works – it won’t work. Get the message - WORKS WON’T WORK.
He then turns to the fruit of the Spirit (5:22-26). Paul lists nine attributes of this fruit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and self-control. Some have thought because of Paul’s emphasis on love that the fruit of the Spirit is love.
Notice that the word translated Works is plural in the Greek – while the word translated Fruit is singular. The remaining 8 words are adjectives describing this Love.
- Joy (gladness)
- Peace (moral peace – a rest with God)
- Patience (slowness to seek revenge)
- Kindness (integrity)
- Goodness (upright heart and life)
- Faithfulness (character of one who can be relied upon)
- Gentleness (meekness, mildness)
- Self-control (one who masters his desires and passions)
Bearing the fruit of the Spirit is possible when we have crucified the flesh – how? Through Christ – GRACE.
So catch this truth -- WORKS WON’T WORK, BUT GRACE GROWS THE GARDEN
If we have received the Spirit – then we walk in the Spirit – not the Law. However, consider whether one would be fulfilling the Law by living in the Spirit? There would be no debate.
Verse 26 – warns us to beware – when one tries to live by the law, see what they become. Conceited – eager for all the glory [they, after all, are the reason for their own salvation],
irritating – always challenging or confronting [their way does not allow for grace], and, envious - a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another – in other words – breaking the 10th commandment [they are bitter inwardly for not having the freedom that Grace gives].
Prayer: Holy Spirit, I pry for the grace needed to see my garden flourish and grow. I know that the things I have tried on my own don't work, and when I let You control and run my ife the wonder of Your love flows through me. I can resist the works of the flesh, when I am walking in You. Amen.