I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
SPIRIT VS. FLESH
- The Flesh fights to gain control over the Spirit.
Romans 8:7 – Because the carnal (fleshly) mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject (“to stand under” – submission, obedience) to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
- The Flesh lusts against the Spirit. The word “lusts” means to set one’s heart upon, eagerly long for, greatly desire. The word emphasizes the intensity of the desire rather than the object desired. The Flesh sets its heart upon things contrary to what the Spirit sets its heart upon.
Romans 7:28 – But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
- The Flesh hinders us from doing what we want to do.
Romans 7:19-20 – For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
THE WORKS OF THE FLESH
- Adultery – sexual unfaithfulness to husband or wife.
Exodus 20:14 – You shall not commit adultery.
Matthew 5:28 – But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
- Fornication – includes all forms of immoral and sexual acts, pre-marital, extra-marital sex, and abnormal sex.
1 Corinthians 6:18 – Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.
Ephesians 5:3 – But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints;
- Uncleanness – moral impurity.
- Lasciviousness (lewdness) – indecency, shamelessness, and/or unrestrained evil thoughts and acts. A person who has given in to wrong desires to the point that he knows no restraint. Does not care what others think about his sinful deeds.
- Idolatry – giving something or someone the love, time, money and energy that should be given to God.
- Witchcraft (sorcery) – use of drugs or spells to gain control over one’s life. In today’s society it would include palm reading, séances, astrology, channeling, games that are based on evil ideas.
- Hatred – a deep and lasting hostility toward others.
- Variance (contentions) – quarreling, fighting, causing discord.
Matthew 5:44 – But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
- Emulations (jealousies) – intense desire to have what someone else has.
From the Ten Commandments we have the commandment “Do not covet.”
- Wrath (outbursts of wrath) – a violent, explosive temper, bursts of anger. Different from hatred in that it is not anger that lasts but rather, it is the quick outburst of anger.
- Strife (selfish ambitions) – concerned only with one’s own welfare, self-willed, a spirit of partisanship or belonging to cliques.
- Seditions (dissensions) – division, rebellion, standing against others.
- Heresies – rejecting the fundamental beliefs of God and the Scriptures and accepting a false teaching.
- Envying (envy) – goes beyond jealously – not only wants what someone else has, but begrudges the fact that the other person has it.
- Murders – to take the life of another person, to destroy another’s reputation by slander or gossip, to lie about someone’s character.
- Drunkenness – taking drinks or drugs to become intoxicated, seeking to loose restraint for bodily pleasure.
- Reveling (revelries) – uncontrolled indulgence, wild parties or drinking parties, orgies
FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
- Love – (agape) – Selfless love, love like the love of God demonstrated by Christ on the cross.
- Joy – inner gladness, assurance and confidence in God that brings a cheerful heart.
- Peace – absence of strife, state of rest and quietness.
- Long-suffering (patience) – “long-temper”, patient endurance, forbearance, a person who has the power to exercise revenge but instead exercises restraint.
- Gentleness (kindness) – goodness in action, sweetness of disposition, gentleness in dealing with others, a person who has the ability to act for the welfare of those taxing their patience.
- Goodness – full of virtue, helpful, considerate.
- Faith (faithfulness) – trustworthy, dependable, constant in allegiance.
- Meekness (gentleness) – gentle, tender, considerate.
- Temperance (self-control) – to have control of one’s desires, appetites and passions, to not allow any habit or desire to gain control of one’s life.
It is the works of the flesh – something we must do, must make an effort at. It is the fruit of the Spirit – something we cannot do on our own. The Holy Spirit produces it in our lives beyond our own efforts.
It is the works (plural) of the flesh but the fruit (singular) of the Spirit. The Fruit of the Spirit is one and indivisible. We cannot pick and choose which quality of the Spirit we will allow to be produced in our life. It is all or none. When we allow the Holy Spirit to control our life, He will produce all of the graces of God.
WALKING IN THE SPIRIT
Romans 6:6 – Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with (rendered inoperative) that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
- Walk in the Spirit – “Walk” used here literally means “to walk in line with.” It is not the same “walk” in verse 16 which simply means physical walking. To walk in the Spirit is to walk along the path that God lays down.
- Be free from pride of one’s own spirituality or envy of another’s spirituality.