Lesson 23

The Epistle to the Galatians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 5:23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 5:24 Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts. 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let's also walk by the Spirit. 5:26 Let's not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.  

Today's Lesson 

Paul had encouraged the Galatians to live in the freedom that Christ had purchased for them. For those that are in Christ are set free from the flesh, free from sin and free from death. But, they must not use their freedom as a license for sin. Rather, now that they have been set free they are, at last, capable of serving God. The whole law is summed up in this, that they love one another. For this Christ has set them free, if they truly belong to Christ.


This new life in Christ is a life lived by the urging of the Spirit of God that is in us. It is the Spirit that brings the things of God and the things of Christ to us. It is by the Spirit that Christ lives in us. Now the Spirit is not some inanimate force that we feel. The Spirit is a person. The Spirit is divine - fully and wholly God. Where the Spirit lives, He reigns. The Spirit is not a servant to meet our needs. Rather, we are His servants, His arms and His feet in the world. Through us the Spirit works in the world. Through our lips He speaks. Through our arms He works. Through our life, the Spirit lives.


Now our eyes see flesh and blood, but they cannot see the Spirit. We can know that the Spirit is at work in our lives even when we cannot see Him. We experience His presence by what Paul describes as "the fruit of the Spirit." The fruit of the Spirit is, "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." When we experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and especially when we experience this fruit in increasing measure, we can be certain that the Spirit is working in us and through us.


"Against such things there is no law." Just as the apples that grow on an apple tree, the fruit of the Spirit is a natural by-product of the work of the Spirit in our lives. When the Spirit of God reigns in our life, there is no law that He must bow to. He is the sovereign God of the universe. No law contains Him or checks His power, not even the law that He Himself established. Nor can any established law contain the Spirit. Laws are established to restrain sin. But, those that are in Christ have been set free from sin. The Spirit of God will not reside in a temple of sin. For this reason God cleanses and forgives everyone who is saved. And God cleanses and forgives them completely. Without exception.


Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh and now live by the Spirit. This is one complete transaction. One cannot crucify the flesh without the power of the Spirit nor can one live by the Spirit unless the flesh is crucified. God's offer of salvation is a package deal, whether or not we understand what God accomplished or not. You can own a car and not understand anything at all about how an engine actually operates. In the same sense, what God has accomplished in our salvation does not depend upon what we understand about it. Most Christians do not understand how complete their salvation is. Most of us really don't understand our freedom in Christ or what it means to have Christ living in us. If we did, it would have an even more profound impact on our lives than it does.


So, as we walk in the Spirit we should always be mindful of the work of the Spirit in our lives. This will prevent us from being conceited or from envying one another. "The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." We see the wind and we hear the sound of it, but we cannot, in any great measure, control it or understand it. So it is with the Spirit of God in our lives. We experience the fruits of the Spirit, even when we fail to recognize their source or purpose. Nor can we control the work of the Spirit in our hearts any more than we can tame the wind. God's presence in our lives is like the wind: sometimes pleasant, sometimes overpowering, and sometimes hardly even noticeable.


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