The Flesh Versus The Spirit


Galatians 5:16-18 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

I read a lot. A whole lot. I love reading. I wish more people read. But I also watch videos. I was watching a town hall meeting where Democratic hopeful Beto O’Rourke was explaining why he wanted to overturn the Second Amendment. As I watched it another commentator – Colion Noir – began to respond to Mr. O’Rourke’s statements. Mr. Noir was on the other side of the debate. As Mr. Noir began to respond, his responses became more and more ugly, and he began to use foul language that was bleeped out of the video.

Now this is not a political message, nor have I ever preached politics from this pulpit. I preach the Word of God, and today is no different. I am a retired Airman, a proud veteran of the United States Air Force. I gave 20+ years of my life to the protection of this country, and promised to uphold the Constitution of these United States. I offered up my life daily to protect your freedoms. I have been in other countries that do not have the freedoms that we have. And I do not want our country to become like those countries. I support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as it is written. That’s all I’ll say. I do not want any Americans to lose any of our hard fought freedoms in any way. Period. And I have a right to say this, because I was both Active and Inactive Reserve for 29 years of my life. I paid for the right to say this.

Having said all that, I now need to say this. From a spiritual standpoint both sides were in the wrong. Regardless as to who was more right and close to the Constitution, both sides were spiritually wrong. Both sides of the debate are working not from the light, but from the darkness. Why?

Because neither side of the debate was
walking in God’s Spirit!

I do not know whether Mr. O’Rourke’s or Mr. Noir are Christians. I do not know whether they are born again by faith in Christ or not. I do not know whether they are Children of God or Children of Adam. I have no right to make that judgment, as Christ alone is the Judge. The Apostle declared:

James 4:12 There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?

So I am not judging the final destination of either man. I am not qualified to do so. Jesus said in John 5:22

.. the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed
all judgment unto the Son ..

Jesus Christ is the Judge of the quick and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). Not I. I am not qualified. But I can tell you that both men are wrong spiritually because of what the Scripture we’re studying today tells us.

The right or proper way to live – or as the Scripture says “To walk” is not in the flesh, but IN THE SPIRIT. That is what we are told.

The Only Correct “Walk” Is In The Spirit

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

The enemy of Christ and of the Church is the devil, Satan, that old dragon called Lucifer. Lucifer – which means “the Bright and Shining One” (because God made him beautiful among the angels) – is constantly seeking to destroy the plan of God and His Church. The Apostle Peter told us:

1 Peter 1:8 … Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour …

The devil and his forces (where ever they may be) are constantly attacking the Plan of God, the Gospel of Christ. God told us over and over:

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The devil and his allies are what is wrestling against us. He possesses people, influences people, and guides people away from the Spirit of God. He influences governments, communities, families, and even Churches and Church leaders. There are many who claim the title of “Pastor” or “Deacon” or “Elder” or “Bible Teacher” who have been swayed to the devil’s way. The devil does his best to mangle the Gospel so others will not be saved. He does that by perverting the Way of Christ, by tricking us to walk in the power of the flesh and not the Spirit.

Jesus Christ gave His life for His Church. He purchased the Church with His own Blood (Acts 20:28). Jesus Christ DIED for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3) but ROSE AGAIN for our justification:

Romans 4:25 {Jesus} was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.

Jesus ascended into Heaven so that He could send the Holy Spirit to indwell His people. He said:

John 16:7-10 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;

Jesus died for our sins. He rose again for our justification. He departed, and sent the Holy Spirit to us to empower us as well as sanctify us, set us apart from the world. This is why the Christian MUST walk in the Spirit. We must live surrendered lives to Him. It is He Who guides us, and He Who should define us. Jesus sent His Spirit to us to guide us as lights in this darkened world.

Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

How does one walk in the Spirit? This is a command, and something God wants us to do. So how do we walk in the Spirit? Some would answer, “to walk in the Spirit we just obey the Law of God”. We walk in the Spirit by keeping the same Law that Israel kept. But what does the Apostle say?

Galatians 5:1-4 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

If you are seeking to be in a right relationship with God by “keeping the Law” then the Bible says “you are fallen from Grace”. It was the Keepers of the Law that unlawfully crucified Christ. It was the Pharisees who plotted and planned against Jesus to have Him executed. Why? Because Jesus healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath day. You remember this story.

Mark 3:1-6 {Jesus} entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 5 And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. 6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

Who was it that was angry enough with Jesus to plot against His life? Was it the Romans? No, for even Pilate the Roman Governor said “I find no fault in this Man” (Luke 23:4; John 19:4). Was it the crowd in the synagogue that day? No, not at all. It was the Pharisees with the Herodians who conspired together to have Jesus murdered. Both Pharisees and Herodians were adherents to the Law. It was Pharisees, Scribes, Herodians, and leaders of the Temple of Israel who took Jesus to an unlawful midnight trial. It was this “religious” crowd who had Jesus initially beaten, and then worked the crowd up into such a frenzy that it yelled out:

Release Barabbas (Matthew 27:21)
Let Christ be crucified (Matthew 27:22)
Let Him be crucified (Matthew 27:23)

When you walk in the flesh – even if you are following the Law – you are walking wrongly and apart from God. What does our Father say to us?

1 Samuel 15:22 … Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.

God does not want us doing the rituals of the Law like automatons. He wants us to follow Him with our hearts. He wants us to:

Romans 12:1-2 … present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

You can be right and be wrong at the same time. You can be technically right, and yet spiritually wrong. God wants His Children to heed the Holy Spirit and not just the Law. He says:

Galatians 5:5-6 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

This is why the Church in America is staggering today. The average believer is not living in the Spirit, but by the letter of the Law. Need I remind you that the Apostle Paul was Saul the Pharisee before he was the Apostle Paul. A fully cognizant religious agent:

Acts 9:1-2 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Was God pleased with Saul? Saul was following the Law, and obeying the High Priest of Israel. Was Christ pleased?

Absolutely not!

Jesus knocked Saul down on the Damascus Road, saying ..

Acts 9:4 Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?

I wish Jesus would knock down all the Sauls today that hinder the work of the Gospel. I wish every preacher, deacon, elder, and leader that is following letters on a page rather than the Holy Spirit in the heart would be blinded and led back to the Lord!

When we walk in the flesh we – like the unconverted Saul – persecute Jesus (Acts 9:5).

We who are saved are not under a pen and ink law, but we are under the Law of Love, the Law of the Holy Spirit. We are freed from the Scribal Law so that we can follow the greater Law of the Spirit. We who are Christians are NOT LAWLESS. The Apostle says:

Galatians 5:13-15 For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. 15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

We are given a much simpler Law to follow.
We are to “love our neighbor as ourselves”.
Love others the way you want to be loved.
Treat others with the same hand you want to be treated.
If we do not do this, then the snake eats itself.
We consume ourselves,
We become one with the darkness,
And absolutely of NO EFFECT!

We must choose to walk in the Spirit. We must choose to follow God our Savior. We must always remember:

Galatians 5:17-18 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Defining The Flesh That We Are To Avoid

Now the obvious question is “What should I avoid if I am to walk in the Spirit?” I’m glad you asked. The Bible has an answer. The flesh can be defined by it’s WORKS or by it’s outward MANIFESTATION. We read:

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Now if you’ll notice these “works of the flesh” are indeed violations of the Law of God. The Christian is not lawless. In fact, the Christian following the Spirit is MORE LAWFUL than the religious person. There are written Laws in the Old Testament that forbid sexual immorality and impurity (in the KJV Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. There are written Laws that forbid idolatry (seeking God where He is NOT, such as in witchcraft). Many of these works of the flesh are written down in the Law of God. But ALL of these works of the flesh have ONE THING in common:

They do not come from a Spirit led,
love directed heart!

When God looks at His Children He does not want to see us in sexual sin – either heterosexual or homosexual. He does not want us worshiping other gods and goddesses. He does not want us following spiritual practices created by the unChristian, such as Muslim, Hindu, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc faiths. God does not want to see hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, divisiveness, envy, drunkenness, or anything else that is not Godly in us. We are not be haters nor hateful. And we are warned that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. That is a frightening assessment. What the Bible is implying here is

If you think you are saved,
but routinely are involved in these outward manifestations,
Then you may be mistaken!

What does the Lord want to see in His Children? He wants to see the fruit of the Spirit. What is this fruit of the Spirit?

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

There is no written Law against these behaviors – NONE. These are the traits that God wants to see in His Children. These are manifestations of love. Let us seek His face, and be like Jesus – even to those we do not agree with. This alone honors God, and proves our salvation.

May God the Holy Spirit touch you with his Word!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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