17 “But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is Christ therefore a minister of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I build again those things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. 19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died in vain.” Galatians 2:17-21
The apostle Paul understood the grace of God. The reason he understood the grace of God is because he knew the man he was before he came to Christ. Before he came to Christ the apostle Paul was a pharisee. He zealously followed the law of God, but understood it was impossible to keep the law.
Before he came to Christ he thought that Jesus was actually trying to destroy the law. He zealously tried to destroy the early church seeking out directives from the religious leaders to hunt early Christians down and throw them in prison. Paul even stood with approval as Stephen was being stoned to death.
But on the road to Damascus the apostle Paul had an encounter with Jesus Christ in which Paul’s life was turned upside down. He committed his life to Christ and God used him mightily to write a majority of the new testament and to begin to plant churches and advance God’s kingdom. The apostle Paul was sent as an apostle to the gentiles.
He understood that righteousness was through faith alone. The purpose of God’s law was to govern the nation of Israel because it was a theocracy through a covenant established with God. But the law was never meant to lead to righteousness. The law reveals the righteousness of God and reveals man’s need for a savior. For when one tries to keep the law perfectly it is impossible.
There is only one who was able to perfectly keep the law of God and that was Christ Jesus. This is why He claimed He did not come to destroy the law, He came to fulfill it. In fulfilling the law of God it makes it possible that anyone who would placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ would have the righteousness of Christ applied to them. It is only the precious blood of Christ that is perfect and is only able to wash away our sins.
This is why it is no longer us who live, but we live by faith in the Son of God. Daily we die to ourselves, decreasing that He may increase. May we daily fix our eyes upon Jesus Christ and desire and seek to know Him in a deeper way. He has made the way of salvation possible through the cross and it is through Jesus that we are able to draw near to the throne of grace with confidence.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
The fruit of the Holy Spirit is simply the character and nature of Jesus. It is simply a result of abiding with the Lord on a daily basis. As we fellowship with the Lord and walk with Him daily, we are transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit. As our minds are renewed through the study of God’s word our lives are transformed. There is a distinction between those who seek after the Lord and those who seek after the world. We can’t claim to follow Christ and not reflect the character and nature of who He is. To be a disciple of Jesus Christ is to become like Him and be filled with His love. This is what the fruit of the Spirit is all about.
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. Galatians 5:22-26
The apostle Paul writes about the fruit of the Holy Spirit. When we examine the fruit of the Holy Spirit we see that it is simply the character and nature of Christ. It is produced in our lives as we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit each day. As we study God’s word and spend time in prayer it is the Holy Spirit who transforms us from the inside out.
When we belong to Christ we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. In our Christian journey we are continually led by the Holy Spirit and we put to death the desires of the sinful nature. Early in our walk with Christ it seems these desires still dominate our lives. But as we grow with Christ progressively the strength of the lust of the flesh diminish and we simply walk in obedience to the Lord. It is a progressive process throughout our lives.
It is important for us to keep in step with the Spirit each day. The more time we spend with the Lord in intimate fellowship the more the voice and leading of the Holy Spirit becomes clear. For us to walk in step with the Holy Spirit requires deep intimacy with the Lord.
We are called not to become conceited. Being conceited is simply a result of pride. The greatest thing that will guard our hearts from pride is walking in step with the Holy Spirit. Pride will always blind us. When we become conceited it will negatively affect our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. May we walk in love and humility and continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ.
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
Galatians 6:7-8 NIV
God has created the world with a principle of sowing and reaping. When we sow to the things of God’s kingdom we will reap the blessings of the Lord in our lives. The work of the Holy Spirit will be evident in our lives and we will continually grow in the character and nature of Jesus.
But when we sow to the things of the sinful nature the only result will be destruction. If we claim to follow Christ but continue in the things of sin we simply invite destruction into our lives. This is why the Lord calls us to repent. Repentance means to fully turn away from the things of sin and fully turn our hearts to the Lord.
God is full of grace but He is also a loving Father who has given His children freewill. He has given us freewill to choose how to live our lives. Those who choose to pursue the Lord with their whole heart will experience all that God has for them. But those who choose to live for themselves and the things of the sinful nature will in the end experience destruction. God has given us warning after warning in His word and instruction after instruction to pursue Him and His kingdom. May we simply pursue Him with our whole heart and remove any idol or anything that hinder our relationship with Him.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Galatians 6:7-8
What we sow into our lives is what we shall reap. The apostle Paul makes a distinction between the flesh and the Spirit. Sowing to the flesh is simply indulging in the lust of the flesh. When our lives are built upon simply seeking after and fulfilling the lust of the flesh, it will ultimately lead to destruction.
What many fail to understand is the destructiveness and deceptiveness of sin. When we begin to indulge in sin it is like a snake that begins to wrap itself around us. The more we indulge the more it wraps itself around us and eventually begins to suck the very life out of us. We get so focused on fulfilling the sinful desires within us that ultimately it will destroy our lives.
But when we sow to the Spirit we grow in the nature and character of Christ. Sowing in the Spirit is simply following the leading of the Holy Spirit. Examples of sowing to the Spirit are things like studying God’s word, spending time in prayer, spending time with fellow believers, sharing our faith, ministering to those in need.
When our lives are built upon following the leading of the Holy Spirit we will experience the abundant life that Jesus proclaimed. We are saved by the grace of God, but it requires us each day to walk with Christ and seek after Him. There have been some who have begun with Christ, but in the end have abandoned the faith and the Lord.
Growing in Christ requires effort on our part. It requires us to chase after and seek after the Lord. Every day we have on this earth is either an opportunity to grow in Christ or move away from Him. A true disciple is one who walks closely with the Lord on a daily basis. May we commit ourselves to daily seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. That we will continually sow to the Spirit and resist the lust of the flesh.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Galatians 5:13 NIV
In Jesus we are set free. But our freedom is not to be used to indulge the selfish desires of our sinful nature. When we come to Christ our lives are no longer our own. They belong to the Lord and our lives should be a living sacrifice to the Lord. In all that we do we should bring honor and glory to His name. Some have distorted the grace of God as simply a license to indulge the sinful nature. Claiming that where sin abounds, that grace abounds even more. But when we rightly understand the grace of God and especially all that Jesus went through so we could be free. We will view the lives we live and the choices we make much differently. May we use our freedom to walk in obedience and walk in holiness and simply pursue the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.
I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.
Galatians 2:20 NASB
We simply live this Christian life by faith. It is not based upon works. Works are a natural result of authentic faith because if we are truly following Jesus and following the leading of the Holy Spirit then the fruit of the Holy Spirit will be produced in our lives which will lead to works for God’s kingdom.
We do not live this life in our own strength but in the strength of the Lord. In all that we will face upon the earth the Lord will strengthen us and enable us to overcome. His grace and strength is greater than anything that we will face. But it requires us to abide in Him daily through prayer and the study of His word.
His desire is to simply develop a close, intimate relationship with us. It is in the place of intimacy that we are simply transformed into the image of Christ. People might be able to argue against the truth of God’s word, but what they can’t argue against is a life transformed by His love and His grace. May we simply abide each day in Him.
“For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.”Galatians 1:10 NASB
As followers of Christ the only person’s opinion who matters is Jesus Christ. We live in a world in which people desire the praise and worship of others. People become addicted to fame and attention. But as Christians we are called to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. This will cause some to become offended by our lives and offended by what we say. But again Jesus is our Lord and Savior. Let us seek the Holy Spirit for strength and wisdom each day. It is only through fully relying upon God that we walk in true freedom.