Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Galatians 5:17 Commentary by Jacob Atitebi

25th of April, 2017.

TEXT: Galatians  5:17

For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.


The desire of the flesh is always contrary to that of the Spirit. Our flesh will always want us to do that which is against the word of the Lord. Naturally the flesh is full of evil desire.

We naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures. Paul had this experience when he wrote to the saint in Rome (Romans 7:15-25). As Christians, we made mistakes and sometimes give in to our flesh. Paul says in Romans that your nature, your flesh, even though it is aware of that which is good and holy, does not obey that which is good and holy. For example the deeds of the flesh are evident, anger, jealousy, strife, etc. But the deeds of the spirit are patience, kindness, gentleness, etc. Humans by nature are disposed to living by the flesh. History is the record of human nature at work, not pleasant to read. You and I are by nature not good. More precisely by nature we are unable to enter the kingdom of God.

I said yesterday that you cannot walk by the Spirit and at the same time walk by the flesh. The flesh and the Spirit cannot be in peace with each other because to give in to sin means you have violated the Spirit. If the flesh is up, the Spirit is down; if the Spirit is up, the flesh is down.

A spiritual war takes place in every believer. The non-Christian does not have that same kind of struggle for he is nothing but “flesh.” He has not the Spirit of God in him to check him up. Once a person comes to know Christ, he enters a significant spiritual struggle. This is proof that he is born again.

Legalistic Galatians thought they could oppose sin by trying to live up to the law. By trying to gain God’s approbation by the law, they failed to engage the grace of God provided by the Holy Spirit. Neither do believers operating under grace give license to sin. Life under grace is neither legalism nor license but a reigning principle that prohibits the sin capacity from doing what it otherwise would.

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