Monday, May 19, 2008

In Search Of Truth

Biblepod2_2 Galatians Chapter 5:16-21

In verse 16, we're commanded to "live/walk in the Spirit". Sounds pretty deep, doesn't it? And this isn't just any spirit, or our own spirit. The Greek here indicates that Paul means the Holy Spirit, God himself!

We might look at verse 16 and say, "how do I figure out how to live in the Spirit?" Although our relationship with the Holy Spirit is an incredible mystery, we can be thankful that God gives us some guidelines to help us determine whether we're living in the Spirit or not.


Sometimes translated as "sinful nature". In this context, the word "flesh" refers to the corrupt, sinful aspect and tendency of humans.

The first thing we can determine is that the desires of the Spirit and the desires of our "flesh" are against each other. (v.17) So unfortunately we have to rule out the philosophy of, "if it feels right, do it." Choices and attitudes that are offensive to God often feel very good in the short term, so our feelings are not a reliable compass for our lives.

This doesn't mean that our lives will become dreary and burdened with rules. Although we are still under moral obligation to obey God, we don't have to be burdened with the guilt of our failure (and yep, we will fail!) and feel separated from God because of it. If we allow ourselves to be led (the Greek in verse 18 also means "governed" or "ruled") by the Holy Spirit, we won't be burdened with the shame of our failures. The Holy Spirit is given to those that trust in Jesus, and because of him we don't have to fear the judgment of God anymore. (Check out Romans 8:1-2)

Paul must have known that these concepts of living by "flesh" and "Spirit" might not be understood clearly by his audience, so he gave us some helpful hints to indicate which we are currently following. We're going to pick apart some of these words to try and get a better understanding of what they mean for us today.

So what kind of actions indicate that we're living in the "flesh"? Lets take a look at some of them:


Also translated as immorality. The Greek has a clearly sexual definition. Unlawful or unbiblical sexual activity. In simple terms, this kind of sin is any sexual activity that takes place outside of a marriage between one man and one woman(who are not close relatives and have not been divorced from someone previously). (See Mark 10:11-12. See Matthew 19:8-9 for the exception to this.)


This Greek word refers more to attitude. Internally selfish motives or an openly shameless desire to live for ourselves.


Excessive, unrestrained sexual activity. The Bible is certainly not against sex. God created it! But sex is never meant to be about just gratifying ourselves with no regard for our husband or wife.


Although at a glance we might think this doesn't apply to us today, the Greek word here refers not just to physical idols, but ANY false god. With so many man-made religions in the world, the concept of idolatry has never been more relevant. God sees and knows what is absolutely true in all of reality. From his perspective, worshiping any God but him is like worshiping Superman or Captain Picard. Everything we're capable of enjoying comes only from God. So imagine how offensive it must be to God when we enjoy all these wonderful things he's given to us and then willingly ignore him and give credit to fictional characters instead!


The practice of magical/supernatural arts. However, have no fear geeks and gamers! Provided you are in no way led to an actual practice of real supernatural arts, there is no command against enjoying the imaginitive fictional variety found in sci-fi/fantasy books and games.

We'd encourage you to look over verses 19-21 carefully, using more than one translation of the Bible if possible. We've picked out a few of the words that can be confusing, vague or commonly misunderstood, but God has more to say on this issue of "the flesh" in those verses.

Also, remember as you look at those verses, that even if you see them in your life, even if you realize you have some real work to do, God loves you. And if you've made the choice to trust Jesus with your life and everything in it, you are forgiven, and God will never condemn you.

The warning in verse 21 refers to people who continually make a practice of this kind of behavior. Those who are not struggling or making any effort to avoid these sins. If this is the case in someone's life, then it is likely they don't really believe that the Bible is the truth. And if they don't believe the Bible is the truth, they can't logically believe that Jesus is who the Bible says he is. Since "inheriting the kingdom of God" hangs on belief and trust in Jesus, we can assume that is why Paul makes this statement.

Romans 8:1-2 gives us a huge sense of relief when it says-

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

When God asks his children to take a hard look at their own lives, he doesn't do it so that we will become depressed and feel discouraged and worthless. He does it because we are worth more than we can imagine and he has something so much better for us if we'll follow him to find it!

Well, looks like we'll spend an unprecedented THIRD week on one chapter!

Next- How you can tell when "the Spirit moves you"!

Coffee House Question


Can you think of an example of sin that feels good "in the moment" but actually does harm later on?

1 comment:

  1. Found you thanks to Jesus Geek. Sounds like you've got a good thing going here. I'll be dl'ng the first hour when I get home. I concur that you should serialize and give Podiobooks a shot. It'll give you new exposure. I'll be dropping my audio book over there later this year.