Wednesday, October 13, 2004

The Civil War of the Born Again Believer p3

Galatians 5:16 & 25
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

What does it mean to walk in the spirit? First, we need to understand that this word walk does not mean [to walk] as we understand it in our modern English. Walk, from the Greek is peripateo - and refers to - the direction and purpose of the life.
For the flesh wars against the Spirit, and the Spirit wars against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
This verse, as we looked at in the previous article, is the essence of what I have termed; "the civil war of the born again believer". This simply means that, although we try to do what is good and right, we often fail. This was true for the apostle Paul, who taught us [how] to walk in the Spirit.

Many times we assume we are Godly people because we do good in view of those who see us. But often, and more times than not, it's the things that we do when no one is watching, the thoughts that roll through our minds, that no one can ever know, nor would we ever dare to share, which is the true measure of our goodness. In this, God is not fooled, nor is any person. The reason is simple; our conscience tells us otherwise. Our conscience is a gift of God to every human that has ever been born. It is something that God has placed in all souls, for the ability to reach him, and to be able to discern his truth.

First off, let us understand that the thoughts we conjure up are nothing more than thoughts. God does not hold us accountable for these thoughts, no matter how bad they can be. It is the action upon these thoughts that God does judge. This also causes us to question, is God really working with me? If God is with me, why then do I continue to do these things that I know I should not. Well friend, this is the position that God wants us to be in. He wants us to know and understand that we are sinners and that even though we love God, and desire to please him, we utterly fail. If we are honest with ourselves and willing to stand back and look at our whole self – what we do, what we think, what we desire, then we are living in the Spirit.

God's desire is that our hearts are convicted, that we realize that we are not perfect, nor can we be, no matter what. This is the work of the Holy Spirit and he is the one who will guide us and instruct us on that which we ought to do. This has nothing to with salvation, for we are already saved. This has to do with being able to live a Godly life, when we do not have the capacity to do so. God equips us so that we are able to achieve this level of perfection, in an imperfect world.

In order to be able to achieve the level that we want to reach, that which we desire to reach, must be placed into God's hands. This is to say, into the Holy Spirits hands. For it is his work to achieve the change that we so desire and desperately need. This is what it means, in a nutshell, to walk in the Spirit. What is important for us, as sinners, is to realize the goal to live a Godly life. This is what Paul meant by using the word to walk. It simply means, the direction of life one chooses. We as true, born again believers, have chosen to live a life that is pleasing to God, to shed ourselves of that which we ought not to do, whatever that may be, for in God's sight, nothing we do is good enough. Do not despair friend, for the following verse helps us to understand that this is not as severe as it sounds, for God is gracious and merciful towards our fallen nature.

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Galatians 5:18

Under the law? Sounds brutal doesn't it? Well, in essence, it really was for the Israelites in their day and time. They lived by the law, the Mosaic law. You remember that don't you? Eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth? You see, there is no mercy in the law, lest it not be the law. The law, must have power to reinforce its purpose. Without law, the world would be out of control and before long, mankind would descend so badly that all hope would be lost. This is what happened in Noah's day and was the reason for the great flood. There was no law given in that day to keep mankind in check, to hold him responsible to himself and to his fellow man.

Today though, we do not live under the law because Christ died to fulfill the punishment of the law. Jesus Christ, the one who was without sin, died for ALL of mankind, because mankind is a fallen sinner. Jesus paid the price for the penalty of sin so we would not have to. This is one of God's judgments; the judgment of sin. This is the cup of indignation that Jesus drank from, that no mere man could take and do the work of God. this is why Jesus claimed: "I do the work of my Father".

The reason we cannot satisfy the judgment against sin, from our own goodness, is that we are sinners, and we know this fully. Perfection (the law) requires perfect judgment (justice). If this truth is revealed to you, then God has revealed the most important thing he could ever accomplish; revealing to us our dual natures - the old man, that which we once were, lost in our sin, and unaware of that sin, and our new nature, that which is born from above, first paid for by the blood of Jesus on that wretched cross, then, living through the power of the Holy Spirit, enabling us to walk in righteousness, while we live in a world of unrighteousness.

Walking by the Spirit is the antithesis of living by law (Romans 8:1-13).

So then, if we say by the law, then each time we sin, we are held accountable to that sin. The law was brutal and no man could keep it. The law was given to mankind, not to teach him goodness - nay! The law was given to man to reveal to him that he is a sinner. This is why scripture declares that Jesus fulfilled the law. This is to say, the punishment, or judgment, of violating the law. Moses was the law-giver, which is death, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ, which is life.

What this means is simple. God does not judge us on our nature. He judges on the amount of light each person has received. This is to mean that God does not judge us on that which we are born into; sin. The death of Jesus paid the penalty of sin once and for all, for it was final. Because of this act on our Lord's part, we now have been given to us grace and truth. This simply means that we are now forgiven for that which we cannot attain to. This is to say, even though we know and believe that salvation through Christ is truth, we realize that we are sinners, as we continue to sin. It is precisely here that God has made a way for us to be justified, in our sin, for Jesus was made the propitiation for sin.

Now then, since we grasp this and are now able to understand, we must be able to grow in our faith. To do this, we must have the Holy Spirit to guide us and allow him to work inside our hearts to change our evil thoughts and ways. This is called, the gift of the Holy Spirit. It is now God's work to finish the work that he started in our lives, to get us through this life and into the next. It is God's work to do this very thing, as we have no capacity to do this. This is why we are to walk in the Spirit. The Christian life is not moral rectitude, which is negative. It is the fruit of the Spirit, which is positive.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 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.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance:

against such there is no law.
Well, I suppose that this is enough for now, but in the next article, we will try to put the above verses into context and see if we can really grasp that which God is wanting us to do; walk in the Spirit. Or, to say it in our modern vernacular; making the choice (repentance) to live a life that is pleasing to God and to ourselves, for this is good for our soul, for it brings to mind our assurance and confidence. For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.

As we are able to see, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, are all active in our complete salvation, and nothing could be more satisfying, more comforting, than to know that our great and wonderful God has completely and entirely secured our eternal redemption. All it takes from our part is to listen to that still voice and say; I trust God and believe He will do as he has promised.


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than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong"
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