By Judy Laredo
v16 : I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
So, let’s begin by asking the obvious question: What the heck does it mean to walk in the Spirit?
It means to be totally submitted to the Holy Spirit. Walk in the Spirit can also be stated as “to conduct ourselves in the Spirit.”
David Guzik said in his commentary, “To ‘walk in the Spirit’ means - First: That the Holy Spirit lives in you; Second: It means to be open and sensitive to the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and Thirdly: It means to pattern your life after the influence of the Holy Spirit.”
Pastor Charles Stanley Said, “To walk in the Spirit is to live moment-by-moment in dependency upon Him, sensitive to His voice and in obedience to Him.”
Dependent – Sensitive – Obedient to the Holy Spirit. If we do that, we’re going to live a Godly life.
Albert Barnes commentary stated, “The Christian life is often represented as a journey,…” We too are sojourners (pilgrims, temporary residents) walking in this earthly wilderness towards the promised land.
1 Chronicles 29:15 (AMP) says , “For we are sojourners before You, and tenants, as all our fathers were; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope [of remaining].”
v17 : For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
The Noah Webster’s (1828) Online Dictionary defines “contrary” as opposite; adverse; moving against or in opposite directions; not merely different, but inconsistent … even repulsive.
Pastor Jason Mills from Calvary Chapel Albuquerque, said in his bible study, “These two forces, the flesh and the Spirit, are contrary to one another…They are enemies that will not rest until one is consumed or destroyed.”
Romans 8:5-6 says, 5 “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”
By “flesh” the bible is describing the evil and fallen state of man, which is no longer under the guidance of God's Spirit. The fallen state of man. . .
At this point, I’m going to take a little detour regarding the subject of the “fallen state of man.”
As I was preparing this study, I came across a teaching from Pastor Chuck Smith and I couldn't stop thinking about it. So, I’m choosing to believe this may be of the Lord and trusting this is for somebody here.
Ok . . . So, the fallen state of man … Two natures.
Pastor Chuck’s study went back to the very beginning when God created man. So, we know that God created man, “body, soul and spirit.”
Inferior trinity: Man – Body, soul and spirit
Superior / Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit
When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, his spirit died just as God warned him in Genesis 2:17, "…In the day that you eat of it, you shall surely die." This is the fallen state of man. Because of an act of disobedience.
Adam’s spirit died and fellowship with God was broken. That’s why Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
So, when a person, by faith, receives Christ as Lord, a spiritual rebirth takes place. Pastor Chuck said, ”There is a work of God's Spirit within a person’s heart, and now that person has a spirit that is alive and is conscious of God.”
“That's where I come in touch with God. That's where God touches me. In my spirit, in the Spiritual realm. His Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I am a child of God.” John 4:24 says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:6, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,’ -that is the old nature- and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” -that is the new nature.
Back to Galatians 5:17 and the two natures.
In His commentary about the flesh and the spirit, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “They will never agree; these two powers are always contrary one to the other. If you think that you can help God by getting angry, you make a great mistake. You cannot fight God’s battles with the devil’s weapons. It is not possible that the power of the flesh should help the power of the Spirit.”
Philippians 2:12-13 says, 12 “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”
In the early 1900’s, Dr. Harry Ironside would teach the word of God to Native American Indians at the Southeast Missionary Bible Conference, which is located near Flagstaff, AZ.
“In one of the conferences Dr. Ironside was teaching, a Native American Indian, was explaining his understanding of the conflict between the two natures.
He said, “It seems to me as though two dogs are fighting within me: one is very savage and very bad. The other is very gentle and very good. But the very bad, savage dog fights with the good, gentle dog all the time.” The Native American Indian was asked, “which dog is wining?” And he replied, “Which ever one I feed the most.”
So the question must be asked of ourselves; “Which dog is winning?”
Are we feeding our flesh (giving into the desires of our flesh) Or,
Are we feeding our spirit, (submitting ourselves to the Lord)?
Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”
Dr. Ironside said, “If the will is on the side of evil, the flesh will triumph; But if the will is subdued by grace and subject to the Holy Spirit, the new nature will control.”
James 4:7 says, “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
v18 : But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
In last week’s study, Diane spoke about how we are not under the law. We are under grace. “To be under the law is to be under the curse of it. The Spirit instructs us and helps us to serve the Lord in freedom without fear.”
John Trapp said in his commentary, “Ye are not under the law. For where the Spirit is, there is liberty from the rigidness, irritation, and the curse of the law.”
2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
Albert Barnes commentary states, “If you submit to the teachings and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are not under the law. We will be under the dispensation of the Holy Spirit. Only then we are free from the restraints and control of the Mosaic law and are under the control of the Spirit.”
Andrew Jukes in Guzik’s commentary said, “Satan wants us to prove ourselves holy by the law, which God gave to prove us sinners.”
Romans 8:2, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
The whole purpose of the law is to bring us to Jesus. We are under grace. We are not under the law.
Dr. Ironside said , “as Christians, we are to walk in Liberty – not License - Which is freedom abused.”
Last week, Diane clarified the freedom we have under grace. She said, “The Liberty is our freedom from trying to earn our way to God.” She explained how we are free from sin and free from its power to sin; free from guilt; free from condemnation… We’ve been set free! Then she said, “when we truly understand grace, we realize our debt. We owe him everything.” She is so right!
Ephesians 2:8 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”
I’m not sure but either Adrian Rogers or Hal Lindsay coined the acronym for
G. R. A. C. E. - God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.
v19-21 : 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
A quick breakdown of the works of the flesh. (I call this the “Bad” fruit)
The following descriptions were mostly from GUZIK’s commentary (and a few others):
Verse 19 - “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness,”
These are listed as “sensual sins relating to sex.” Illicit sexual immorality.
The Greek word used here is porneia, which is a general term that refers to a broad category of sexual impurity, harlotry, dirty minds, dirty mouths,” (RC Sproul).
Porneia is where we get our English word for pornography.
”Uncleanness” is the opposite of purity, unnatural practices, sodomy, bestiality.
”Lewdness” is opposite of chastity, indecency, absence of restraint.
Verse 20 - “Idolatry and sorcery”
These are listed as, “religious sins.”
”Idolatry” is the worship of idols (anything in the place of God). Or any god except the LORD God.
”Sorcery” (or witchcraft) is the use of magic or dark arts. The service and worship of occult and spiritual powers apart from the true and living God. Sorcery in the original Greek language is, “pharmakeia” from which we get our English word for “pharmaceutical.” Sorcery is also the use of any kind of drugs, potions, spells, or enchantments.
Verses 20 and 21
– 20 “Hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath,
selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders”
These are interpersonal or relational sins. Sins that primarily express how we treat others.
”Contentions” are disputes in general, fits of anger, or altercations, lawsuits.
”Dissensions” are divisions whether in church or state
- “Drunkenness, revelries,”
These can be thought of as social sins – sins often done in the company of other people.
”Revelries” Simply put, orgies. Lustful, shameless, obscene, out-of-control festivals, gatherings, or partying
– “and the like”
“And The Like” – ”Besides those listed above; includes all that proceeds from the evil passions of a fallen spirit, and all that the law of God specifies and condemns.”
OK, let’s close out the “bad fruit” on some good news:
Matthew 7:19 says, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” OK . . . that really isn’t very good news !
Here’s the good news. We know that all these sins are forgivable. Because of Jesus. Because of the cross. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
RC Sproul wrote, “The Apostle Paul is not saying that if you’ve ever committed any of these sins, there’s no hope for you. . .We know these sins are forgivable. . .but they must be repented of. The cross covers the sins of the repentant, those who show by their lives that they belong to Christ.”
Romans 8:13 says , “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
v22-23: 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
First of all, we notice that the word “FRUIT” is mentioned in the singular. It’s not fruits (plural), its “fruit,” with 9 characteristics. It’s a combined package.
The “fruit” is different from gifts. As believers, we may receive only one gift, but we should be exhibiting multiple characteristics of the “fruit” as evidence of our faith.
As the Holy Spirit works in our lives, our character begins to change.
He is the One who transforms us --from the inside out-- and we become more Christ-like.
Philippians 2:13 says, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”
The first characteristic of the “fruit” listed is “LOVE.”
G. Campbell Morgan said, ”As the apostle Paul said the whole law is summed up in the word “love," (Galatians 5:14) so now it is evident that the one fruit of the Spirit is “love.” All the words following “LOVE” form a “description” of the meaning of love.”
Romans 13:10 says, “Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit: (The following descriptions of the fruit of the Spirit were taken from several bible studies and commentaries.)
(1) LOVE: Agapē ( ag-ah'-pay )
An intense desire to please God, and to do good to mankind. The very soul and spirit of all true religion; the fulfilling of the law, and what gives energy to faith itself. This love is not about feelings, it’s a choice. It’s about how we act, what we do. It is love in action.
The Apostle Paul wrote an entire chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, to explain what it means to have this steadfast, loyal, unconditional, everlasting, love.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 4 , “LOVE suffers long and is kind; LOVE does not envy; LOVE does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 LOVE never fails…”
Now, let’s replace the word LOVE with JESUS and reread the scripture . . .
“JESUS suffers long and is kind; JESUS does not envy; JESUS does not parade Himself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek His own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 JESUS never fails…”
Now, replace the word LOVE with YOUR NAME and see how that goes . . .
In Greek, there are four words for love used in scripture. (Barclay):
(1) Eros: This is sexual love; It is the love which has passion in it. It is not used in the New Testament at all.
(2) Phileo: Is used for friendship. A brotherly love between close friends regardless of gender (there is no sexual connotation). It is the warm love which we feel for our nearest and dearest.
(3) Storgē: It means a deep, tender affection and is especially used of the love towards parents and children.
(4) Agape: This word is used to express the kind of love God demonstrates toward His elect.
Romans 5:8 Says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
(2) JOY: Chara ( khar-ah )
Rejoice! The gladness, exultation of knowing God’s complete and assured forgiveness from one’s iniquities and transgressions. This is not a temporary happiness, this is an eternal joy. We just need to decide where our joy comes from. Are we content with the world or are we joyful in the Lord?
Romans 15:13, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
(3) PEACE: Eirēnē ( i-ray'-nay)
It is the assurance of complete pardon from all our sins that brings peace. The calm, quiet, and order, which takes place within one’s soul, knowing that “there is therefore now NO condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1). It’s the justified soul (The “just-if-I’d-never-sinned” soul). Where all fear, all doubt, and all dread are completely removed “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalms 103:12).
Romans 5:1, “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have PEACE with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
(4) LONG-SUFFERING: Makrothumia ( mak-roth-oo-mee'-ah )
Also translated as patience, bearing up under a burden, self-restraint, slow to anger, steadfast in difficult circumstances.
Colossians 3:12, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, LONGSUFFERING.”
(5) KINDNESS: Chrēstotēs ( khray-stot'-ace )
Gentleness in the KJV, moral goodness, uprightness, kindness of heart in every action and every word, pleasant, politeness, act of good-will.
Ephesians 4:13, “And be KIND to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
(6) GOODNESS: Agathōsunē ( aga-tho-soo'-nay )
It springs forth from the heart. It’s the uprightness of heart and life, kindness, to do good to benefit others. A desire to be a blessing. It is virtue and holiness in action.
Ephesians 5:9, “(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all GOODNESS, righteousness, and truth),”
(7) FAITHFULNESS: Pistis (pis'-tis )
Here, faithfulness in dealing with men. Loyalty, trustworthy, constancy or allegiance. Fidelity - as in a husband or wife. Careful and exact observance of duty, or performance of obligations. “The Spirit of God works faithfulness in us, both to God and to people.”
Hebrews 11 gives us a list of faithful believers in the Old Testament who trusted God. Biblical faithfulness -FAITH- is believing that God is Who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.
Hebrews 11:6 says, “But without FAITH it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
(8) GENTLENESS: Praotēs ( prah-ot'-ace )
Sweetness of disposition, meekness (does not mean weakness – it is might restrained), mildness of temper, softness of manners, politeness, humility.
2 Timothy 2:24, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be GENTLE to all, able to teach, patient,”
Titus 3:2, “to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, GENTLE, showing all humility to all men.”
(9) SELF-CONTROL: Egkrateia ( e-krat'-i-ah )
Temperance, moderation, constraint, self-government, disciplined. The ability to withhold oneself, to say “no” to our flesh and sinful desires.
2 Peter 1:5-7, 5 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6 to knowledge SELF-CONTROL, to SELF-CONTROL perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7 to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.”
At the end of verse 23 the scripture
“…Against such there is no law.”
John Calvin Said, “where the Spirit reigns, the law no longer has any dominion.”
One commentary grouped the fruit of the Spirit this way:
Love, Joy, Peace:
Character as an inward state
Longsuffering, Kindness, goodness: Character in expression toward man
Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control: Character in expression toward God
v24 : And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Matthew Henry said, “We need to die to sin, as Christ had died for it.”
Romans 6:11 says, “Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
v25 : If we live in the Spirit , let us also walk in the Spirit.
The word “walk” used here is stoicheō ( stoy-kheh'-o ) which means to walk in line, as a soldier marches, or to walk in relation with. In this verse, it’s used here as an exhortation for us to keep step with one another in submission of heart to the Holy Spirit. We need to keep in step with the Spirit.
Albert Barnes said, “Let us yield ourselves to the Spirit’s influences, and show that we are controlled by Him.”
In his commentary, Bob Hoekstra said, “We also need to be filled with the Spirit. We are not only called to walk dependently upon the Spirit, but our lives should be overflowing with the work of the Holy Spirit”
John Calvin put it this way, “…the Spirit of God cannot dwell in us without manifesting Himself by the outward effects.”
Matthew 7:20 says, 20 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
v26 : Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
The first 4-words in that verse is the point. . . “Let us not become. . .”
John Wesley said, “They who do not carefully and closely follow the Spirit, easily slide into this: the natural effects which are, provoking them to envy that are beneath us, and envying them that are above us.”
Philippians 2:3 says, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
Warren Wiersbe said, “ It takes patience, an atmosphere of the Spirit, walking in the light, the seed of the Word of God, and a sincere desire to honor Christ. In short, the secret is the Holy Spirit. He alone can give us…freedom from sin and self. He enables us to fulfill the law of love, to overcome the flesh, and to bear fruit.”
Romans 6:22 says, “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”
Albert Barnes regarding v26 said, “Why should he who is soon to wear the robes of salvation, made “white in the blood of the Lamb,” envy him who is “clothed in purple and fine linen…?”
So, how do we know that the Holy Spirit is working in us, producing spiritual fruit unto everlasting life?
John 15:4, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
In a bible study from Jon Courson, he said that “The secret of bearing fruit is abiding in Jesus”
John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”
“And The secret of abiding is obeying
John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
“And The secret of obeying is loving“
John 15:14, “You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.”
“And the secret to loving is knowing”
John 15:15, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.”
Jon Courson also said, “the fruit isn’t for us, it is for our heavenly Father who is the Vinedresser. John 15:8 (NASB), “My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.”
So, I end with this: Romans 13:11-14,
And do this knowing the time, that now it is high
time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer
than when we first believed.
12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
(This teaching contains commentaries, websites, bible studies and notes including but not limited to: Barclay, Barnes, Calvin, Clarke, Darby, Ellicott, Guzik, Henry, Ironside, Luther, Morgan, Nicoll, Scofield, Smith, Sproul, Spurgeon, Trapp, Wesley, Wiersbe, BibileHub, Bibliaplus, BlueLetterBible, GotQuestions, Expositor’s and The Pulpit Commentaries, etc.)