Galatians 5:16-26 (NIV)
16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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[a] you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited,provoking and envying each other.
Paul has spent a good bit of time in this letter to the Galatians defending the law of the Spirit, (the law of grace), against Judaizers and Jewish Christians. These people taught that Paul was relaxing or dismissing much of the OT law in order to bring the Gentiles into the church.
Of course this was not the case at all! Over and over again Paul reasoned with the church members regarding two points. (1) They had died to the Old Testament law with its strict requirements and traditions. They were now under grace through faith in the risen Savior and Son of God, Jesus Christ.
And (2) as God’s children, they are guided by the desires of the Spirit and not the sinful nature. For obviously the sinful nature drives people toward doing things which are worldly, and contrary to the Spirit. Therefore if they are led by the Spirit of Christ, they no longer lived to satisfy sinful lusts (VV 16-18). Of course, all of this applies to us today as well.
In (VV 19-21), we find a listing of some of those acts of wickedness which we are to avoid. They include sexual immorality, hatred, discord, selfish ambition, fits of rage, and so on. Paul then warns the church as he warns us that those who practice such things will not have a place in the kingdom of God.
Instead of these things, we are to practice living the fruits of the Spiritual life. There is a list of these in (VV 22-23) which include: love, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the things which are pleasing to the Lord; “Against such things there is no law,” as Paul reminds us.
Finally, the Lord’s apostle tells us that we who belong to Christ have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. He encourages us to continue in our walk with the Lord by “staying in step” with the Spirit, and not to become “conceited, provoking and envying each other,” (VV 24-26).
Again, this is elementary Christianity, but we all need to be reminded of its importance often. As children of the Spirit of Christ, we need to incorporate these elements of our Lord into our daily lives, and become known by them.
By doing so, we serve as a reminder of the love Christ has for all of us who will come to Him in repentance and obedience. If we will walk with the Savior in the Light of His word, His blood continually washes us clean of sins we will occasionally commit. We find this in (1 John 1:7).
And this is part of the joy we have as children of God’s wonderful grace. As long as sin does not define our lives, and we repent of any transgressions we have engaged in, we have God’s forgiveness! Praise be to the Lord God Almighty, for He is a loving God…
- “The NIV Study Bible, copyright 1995, Zondervan”