Galatians 5:16 This 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.
There are several verses that speak of the walk of the Christian. Every step that the child of God takes needs to be taken in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As Paul mentioned in verse 13, true saints do not use the liberty they have been given in Christ as an occasion to sin. The Holy Spirit will never guide a true Christian into sin. The liberty the child of God has been given is the liberty from the bondage of sin.
We see here that when we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. Again, it is clear that no person can claim that God led them into sin. No saved person can ever claim that God accepts their sin and tolerates that. God knows what sin is and He provided the means for man to be forgiven and saved. Those who are crippled by sin are in bondage. They have either completely rejected God’s gift of salvation, or they have rejected the power of God’s gift of salvation. Those who are saved and in defiance of God, will be chastened by Him. He loves His children and He works in them to bring about the peaceable fruit of righteousness.
In verse 17 we see that there is a battle going on in the Christian’s life. In Ephesians 6 Paul was directed to command the saints to have the whole armour of God on. We need that to be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
The Greek word translated as “lusteth” means “to set the heart upon”. Achan lusted after the forbidden things of Jericho. He set his heart upon them and stole from God. David set his heart upon naked Bathsheba and he called for her and defiled her. He committed adultery with her and then murdered her husband.
We do not look at the many examples God has given us of individuals, whether saved or unsaved who have yielded to lust, with arrogance and pride. We understand that we must walk in the Spirit to win against the lust of the flesh.
Every born again Christian needs to be growing in the Lord and thus be able to say no to the lust of the flesh more faithfully. We have noted before that no true Christian can ever say: “I do not sin anymore.” That simply is not true. Our hope is in Christ. In His strength we have the victory.
Paul tells us that the flesh is contrary to the Spirit. There is no common ground there. When the flesh rules, the person cannot do the things that he would want to do. The true child of God does not look for some mantra to repeat when tempted. He does not grit his teeth and try his best to win. He humbles himself and puts his hope and trust in the God Who saved him and then he steps out in faith and does that which is right.
He or she does not allow the scoffing of the lost to intimidate him. He moves ahead in victory and desires to see others know God’s peace. He knows he cannot do that if he is holding on to sin. He knows he needs to walk in the Spirit.
We see in verse 17 that those in the flesh cannot do the things they would. No Christian can be successful in their walk with God by walking in the flesh. They become the laughing stock rather than the blessing that God wants them to be.
In verse 18 we see that if we are led of the Spirit we are not under the law. The Spirit filled saint is motivated by the love of God to do the will of God. He or she does not grumble and complain about being led of the Spirit. They gladly serve the Lord faithfully.
Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
Keep in mind that the born again Christian has been set free from bondage to sin. He or she has been given liberty in Christ. That is a liberty they did not have before. Thus they do not look at God’s commands as laws that infringe on their “rights”. Rather they look at God’s Word as liberating and they want to know their God and Saviour better. God tells us how we can do that.
The book of Ephesians alone has some 90 commands for the true saint to keep. We do not need to make a list of them and check them off everyday. If we are saved we will be fulfilling many of them because we have been saved. We may need to be reminded of some of them from time to time, but again, the true child of God does not see that as a hindrance to life. He embraces them as the way of life.