Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
April 14, 2013
I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these
; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you
in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
1901 ASV Translation
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would.
18 But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these
: fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousies, wraths, factions, divisions, parties,
21 envyings, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of which I forewarn you, even as I did forewarn you, that they who practise such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 meekness, self-control; against such there is no law.
24 And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.
25 If we live by the Spirit, by the Spirit let us also walk.
26 Let us not become vainglorious, provoking one another, envying one another.
- I. The Alternative Imperative.
- A. Paul has been addressing the issues of "persuasions" and where they come from; who can we trust and how do we know?
- B. Immediately after that he put "Love" back into the front and center of focus by insisting that the Galatians "rest" upon "freedom" so that they will not be "under" the impact of the biting and complete "eating" of each other (the image is of biting off a chunk and thoroughly chewing it).
- C. Clearly this negative potential calls for an "alternative" method of living (walking in/with/by "spirit").
- 1. Because "loving" arises out of "being loved" (1 John 4:19) the turn toward issues of "spirit" could not be more logical. It is in the area of "spirit" that the promises of love shine. The issue of "spirit" is performance (the body without the spirit is dead), and the issue of performance hinges upon "motivation". Those who "bite" and "fully eat" others are competing with them for "recognition" because of the abilities of the "spirit".
- 2. The issues of "motivation" boil down to one: the "spirit" seeks "glory" (i.e., "recognition for the things done"). In the long string of issues that deal with motivation, there is a "bottom line" that addresses the "Why?" question: whose approval are you seeking? Seeking for the "glory" that men offer to other men is an absolutely dead end. Jesus, in a question to the glory hounds of Judaism, actually declared that seeking the glory of men would undercut a person's ability to "believe" the Truth (John 5:44). On the other hand, seeking God's approval is far and away the most basic issue of "loving God" with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The greatest commandment, then, has to do with properly directed "glory-seeking" and this is, fundamentally, a "walk in spirit" issue. Additionally, Jesus said this would validate a person's doctrine (John 7:18).
- D. At issue in our current text are two questions: Is the word "spirit" intended to be a reference to the Holy Spirit of God, and is the word "spirit" in the Locative, Instrumental, or Dative case?
- 1. As to the first question, the "generic" realm of "spirit" ultimately always boils down, at some point, to the question of "which spirit" is in view. The gift of the Holy Spirit after the glorification of the Son must be seen as a marvelous, and extraordinarily necessary, gift. If the human spirit could effectively control the body, what need would men have of Another Spirit? The fact is, any "walk in spirit" will be twisted into a "glory-of-men" perversion without the dominating presence of God's Spirit. Thus, this first question has its most likely answer in this reality. Paul is writing of a "generic" issue that can only be placed into the mix by the "specific" issue. A "walk in spirit" is an exaltation of "glory" above the other reasons people do things, and the only way that will happen is by the Holy Spirit. It was inevitable at some point for Paul to return to the issue he raised in 3:3 -- how a person is to be "perfected".
- 2. As to the second question, the most likely answer is: Instrumental. Paul's return to the issues of 3:3 (where the terminology is the same and likewise the grammar) means that he is now going to actually dig into the "how" issues of the believer's "walk" (they had been "running" well but were then "hindered" by a false "persuasion"). It is time for the true persuasion to come front and center. That said, we must also be aware that we are dealing with a "realm" (typically the issue of the Locative Case) wherein certain matters come into focus: Paul is dealing with that "realm" even though his focus is upon "method". This "realm of spirit" must be pressed into a place of dominant superiority. People seek physical satisfaction, emotional stability in security, and spiritual recognition. When these objectives get into conflict with one another, something has to give (i.e., capitulation to the lust for a "fix" typically lowers the indulgent in the eyes of those observing: glory is sacrificed for pleasure). Paul is simply commanding the Galatians to let go of their other objectives in every such case.