Topic: Galatians Passage: Galatians 5:16–5:21
“Somewhere in my diary—1890?—I wrote "I have staked all on the essential goodness of human nature…" [Now thirty-five years later I realize] how permanent are the evil impulses and instincts in man—how little you can count on changing some of these—for instance the appeal of wealth and power—by any change in the [social] machinery…
No amount of knowledge or science will be of any avail unless we can curb these evil impulses and set free ourselves for good. Can this be done without the authoritative ethics associated with faith in a spirit of love at work in the universe?"
Beatrice Webb (the founder with her husband of the social welfare system in England, who had rejected Christianity and had spent her life working to set people free through education and social welfare.)
Because there is no freedom to do good apart from the gospel of grace.
You can trust it with all of your heart. It will not let you down.
Because in order to be deeply changed, we must understand that there is a battle within. Ground zero for this battle is our heart and mind.
What is this flesh?
What are these desires and works of the flesh?
What kind of battle is going on inside the Saint?
Our Flesh hates the things of God and is hostile towards the things of God.
The Flesh is what we are when rebellion against God and insubordination and hostility towards His Law rules our bodies and our minds.
The Flesh weakens convictions against sin.
The Flesh will cause us to excuse our sin and the sin of others, justifying that “a lot of folks struggle with that.”
The Flesh drives us to be comfortable with a mask mentality where we dress up and pretend to have it altogether instead of being honest about our sin and battling against it.
The Flesh pushes us into a religiosity as we come to worship where it is more about pretense than actual awe and reverence of God.
The Flesh puffs up knowledge and shrinks the heart for God.
The Flesh wants you to forget God’s design of grace and salvation and desires you to get bigger and the Cross of Christ smaller.
The Flesh preaches a false gospel that proclaims, “You must do certain good things to be accepted by God.”
The Flesh preaches a false gospel that proclaims, “Go ahead and indulge; Jesus already paid for it.”
The Flesh whispers in your ear that your desire for obedience to Christ is legalism.
The Flesh compares your virtue to that of the neighbor in order to give you relief that you’re okay after all.
The Flesh obsesses with rooting for sports teams, buying more stuff, filling life with fun and working longer hours in order to lure you from those things eternal.
Are you discerning the enemy within? Discern the flesh, the sin nature in you.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality,
There is the first category; Sexual sins
The next category includes a few Religious sins: 20 idolatry, sorcery;
The third category is Relational sins: enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions…
A forth category is Substance abuse: 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these...
…I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
The Flesh seeks to command the deeds of the body.
So what does this indicate about the kind of battle is going on inside the Saint?
17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
Your ultimate need is Jesus.
And just as your eyes must be on Him for salvation…
Your eyes must be on Him for your sanctification…
One pastor said, “Until you believe that life is war - that the stakes are your soul - you will probably just play at Christianity with no blood-earnestness and no vigilance and no passion and no wartime mindset.”