Here’s the notes from last night, part 2 of our study in walking in the Spirit, looking at Galatians 5:16-25.
“the works of the flesh” = what the old nature in us does when it is left to itself.
“evident” = easily seen, common knowledge, obvious (i.e. “you don’t need Mosaic law to know them”)
The “works of the flesh” are the results of “fulfilling” (teleshte) the desires (epiqumian) of the flesh. In other words, these things demonstrate what it is the flesh is desiring…
The list: “Things like these” means this is not exhaustive.
The stakes: see 21b – these things exclude people from God’s kingdom
- Physical pleasure, regardless of God’s law, marital covenant, personal relationships, or others’ well-being. (sexual immorality, impurity, orgies)
- Expression of itself (sensuality, fits of rage)
- Making God in my own image or another, lower image, in order to love and enjoy creation while excluding Him (idolatry)
- Experiencing spiritual power outside of God (sorcery)
- Getting its own way, regardless of personal relationships or other’s desires (enmity, strife, dissensions, divisions)
- Things that belong to other people (jealousy, envy)
- Venting feelings regardless of the consequences (fits of rage)
- Experiencing pleasure at the expense of health and clear thinking (drunkenness)
- Experiencing pleasure in the heightened form of group experience—getting together with others to revel in and express the desires of the flesh (orgies)
Sum up of the list: What the flesh wants is clearly seen by what it does when it can do whatever it wants—typically selfish pursuit of its own pleasure without regard for others.
Observations about the list:
1. These “works” are the “fulfilling” of the “desires” of the flesh (v.16).
2. This is what the flesh wants, and will “lead” us into if we allow it to. (v.18)
3. These are the things we will “walk” in unless we’re led by the Spirit. (v.18)
4. These things are directly opposed to what God’s Spirit wants. (v.17) (see rom 8:7)
#4 above explains v.21b → living a life of practicing these things leads to exclusion from the KoG. That is because they demonstrate a heart and mind (a person) fundamentally opposed to God and the desires of His Spirit. They show that someone has not bowed the knee to God and His desires (law). They show they’re not in the new covenant (Spirit within).
So…they have no place in His kingdom, which is the place totally governed by His desires (law). Of course, if the Spirit leads us by His desires, we won’t simply be law-keepers, but those who follow His will out of joy and desire to please Him (v.18). (see Eph 5:3-11, 1 Peter 4:1-5)
But…if the Spirit leads us, we won’t simply be law-keepers, but those who follow His will out of joy and desire to please Him (v.18). (see Eph 5:3-11, 1 Peter 4:1-5)
So: Why is the Spirit opposed to these things? First, because they are a rebellion against God. Second, because they each set up the individual and his desires as his own God: as the sole authority and the reason for the universe. And, they are the opposite of God’s love: they hurt and destroy people (they produce the opposite of love, joy, peace, etc…) They create people, and a world, devoid of love, joy and peace. The Spirit desires to bring God’s rule of love, joy and peace to the world in the person of Christ. These works go in the opposite direction. Third: Because the Spirit’s work is to conform us into the image of Christ…
We are given two ways to escape these things, negative and positive.
A: last & next week: Be led by the Spirit and bear His fruit.
B: Be Christ’s: and thereby crucify the flesh with its passions and desires. (see 2:20, Rom 6)
The flesh is crucified: publicly shamed and condemned to death, and hung up to die powerlessly. (like a failed revolutionary…)
If you belong to Jesus, if you are unified to Him by faith, you are unified to His life AND His death. His death is your death, and His life is your life. When you get saved, what’s true of Him becomes true of You. (We need to preach this to ourselves…)
- Do you belong to Christ? (if not, the flesh is still the power-broker in your life)The Gospel: Jesus did none of these things, but suffered as if He did…
- Let’s recognize the works of the flesh for what they are: expressions of rebellion against God.
- Let’s allow what is true of us (flesh is crucified) to be worked out in our daily life. Dead to sin! Alive to God! Let’s heap scorn on the flesh’s desires and works. Let’s practice not loving them or tasting them. Let’s let the Bible tell us what they are and where they’re headed.
- Looking forward: Let’s cultivate an awareness to the Battle within: and a new awareness of the leading of the Spirit as opposed to the flesh.
Ending Scripture Readings: Ephesians 5:3-12, Romans 6