Commentary on "Living by the Spirit"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, December 10, 2011 - Introduction
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit" (Gal 5:16-25 NASU).
When an individual is born-again a wonderful transformation happens, their spiritual nature, which had been dead before they were saved, is made alive through the power of God. (Ephesians 2:1; Romans 6:13; Colossians 2:13) At that very moment, the believer becomes an entirely new person with a completely new nature. Salvation is not an addition to our life; salvation gives us an entirely new life, new hope, new destiny and a complete transformation of nature! (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:10,15; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). This new nature brings about a radical transformation that changes our desires and makes possible a new way of living.
This new life, a regenerated life, with our new nature that always desires to live in a way that brings God glory, is more radical a change than a pig becoming a sheep. Pigs wallow in the mud because it is their nature to do so. A sheep has no desire to wallow in the mud, and if they fall into it, they don't like it – it's "baaaaaad". Like a sheep, our new spiritual nature has no desire to wallow in sin; we may have enjoyed it before we were saved but it brings no satisfaction, no peace and no fulfillment now that we are born again.
Although we have an entirely new nature, there is still an enemy within ourselves, which in the New Testament is called "the flesh".
"For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not" (Romans 7:18 NASU).
The term, "the flesh," is not referring to our bodies but to a principle of sin that remains in us until we are glorified with Christ. Before we were saved, our sinful nature drove our choices, thoughts and actions.
"Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Ephesians 2:3 NASU).
After we are saved, our new, regenerated, alive nature inspires and motivates our choices, thoughts and actions. We still have the flesh, that principle of sin inside, but it is not determinative like a nature. An unsaved person sins because their sinful nature drives them to sin. A Christian can live in a godly way because we have a new, godly nature that always wants to do God's will, yet our life is not without struggle because the flesh within fights our new nature. We don't have to follow the pushing and prodding of our flesh because we are new creations with a new nature and new power to live righteously and godly.
Copyright 2011 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised November 11, 2011. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Glendale, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
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