Sunday, August 19, 2012

Galatians 5:16-18

Summary retelling of Galatians 5:16-18

Paul now begins the final conclusion of his overarching point to the Galatians: if you walk according to the Spirit, you will not be gratifying the desires of the flesh.  The desires of the flesh are against the Holy Spirit.  By definition, then, the desires of the Holy Spirit are also against the flesh.  Paul concludes this section by saying then that if we are following the Holy Spirit then we don’t have any need for the Law.

Thoughts for Today
First Thought:
Paul’s first point is really simple.  It is blessedly simple!  If you are living by the Spirit you are not living to gratify the desires of the flesh.  The opposite is also true.  If you find yourself caught up in the desires of the flesh … odds are pretty good that you aren’t following the leading of the Holy Spirit.  It doesn’t get much simpler than this at all.  This is blunt, cut-and-dry, and black-and-white.

Are you willing to be honest about yourself and ask whether you are following the Spirit or your flesh?  Why is being honest with ourselves in this matter hard to accomplish?

Second Thought:
Paul’s second point is equally blunt.  That’s great for those of us who like bluntness!  The things of the flesh are against – in opposition to! – the desires of the Holy Spirit.  It isn’t like when we satisfy our flesh that we are simply putting God on hold.  When we pursue our flesh we are actually working in opposition to God.  That’s pretty serious if you think about it.

Why do you think that Paul makes such a serious point?  Do you agree with him?  Do you think everything done to satisfy the flesh works against God?  What happens to you if you believe that?  What happens to you if you don’t believe that?

Third Thought:
Paul then brings the Law back into the argument.  If we are under the Spirit, we are not under the Law.  Again, this makes a ton of sense.  One of the main uses of the Law is to curb bad behavior.  Another use of the Law is to expose what bad behavior we’ve done.  But, if we’re living according to the Spirit, then there is no bad behavior!  If there is no bad behavior, then we have no need to be under the Law!  Thus, we need the Law when we are sinful and do not follow the Holy Spirit.  But when we are genuinely following in God’s ways, the Law is not necessary.

Does it make sense that we only need the Law when we are bad and sinful?

Passage for Tomorrow: Galatians 5:19-26
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