Galatians 4-6


Are you led by the Holy Spirit or enslaved by the desires of the flesh? In Chapter 5, verses 19-24, the deeds of the flesh are described as well as the fruit (evidence) of the Spirit. Jesus said in John 6:63 that the Spirit gives life and the words he spoke were Spirit and life. In John Chapters 4 and 7, Jesus spoke of the Spirit as being living water that quenches our deepest thirst. In John 8:31 Jesus said if we take in and hold on to His word we will know the truth and we will be set free. In Galatians 5:1 we read, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” NASB

God gave us His Holy Spirit because He knew we needed Him.

A yoke of slavery indicates that there is more than one yoke. Paul had been talking about the people being deceived into following the Jewish customs, traditions, rituals, and laws, as a means to salvation. This is a salvation based on the works of man and that is a heavy burden to be yoked to. But there is another yoke that is just as burdensome that has the power to enslave. That yoke is the misuse and abuse of the grace of God.  In verses 16 and 17 of Chapter 5 Paul instructs us to live and conduct our lives by the Spirit. He explains that there is a war going on between the desires of the flesh and the Spirit and that battle goes on within us. We abuse the grace of God when we give in to the desires of the flesh and tell ourselves it is okay to follow the desires of the flesh because our sins are forgiven. Paul warns in the last part of verse 21 of the danger of that kind of thinking.

Of course, this is one of the reasons the Jews want the Church to follow the law and not sin. But there is a problem with that as Paul described in Romans 7. Our desire to follow the Law is no match against the power of our sin nature. Fleshly desire after fleshly desire will overwhelm us quickly and we will be hopelessly enslaved with guilt and shame. There is a remedy however.

There is a third yoke Jesus speaks of in Matthew 11:28-30. We must be born again, born of the Spirit. Verse 24 makes it clear that those who are born again have the power to crucify the flesh. Verse 25 says, “If we live by the Spirit, let us walk by the Spirit.” NASB

In 1 Samuel 15, Samuel told King Saul that the Lord wanted Saul to go to battle against the Amalekites because they had repeatedly attacked those of the people of Israel coming out of slavery in Egypt who were weak and lagging behind. Samuel told Saul to kill the Amalekites, destroy everything, and do not take anything. But Saul kept the best of the livestock and took the Amalekite king captive. Samuel confronted Saul about his disobedience and told him that because he rejected God’s direction God was rejecting Saul as king. Saul said that he kept the livestock for a sacrifice to the Lord. Isn’t that how our mind works? We think we know better than God and tell ourselves that we can tolerate a little fleshly desire. After all, we are strong enough to deal with it. I have actually had people tell me they wanted to remain in their sin for a season so they would have a good testimony some day! Really? Talk about weak and lagging behind!

Well, apparently Saul left more Amalekites alive than their king for Saul was eventually killed by an Amalekite. The lesson here is clear. If we want to be set free we must crucify the flesh and not be led by its desires. We are to be led by the Spirit.

So, how exactly do we crucify the flesh? First, we must be born again and believe we have the Spirit dwelling within us. Next, we must set our mind on the Spirit and not on the flesh as described by Paul in Romans 8:1-17 which is our homework for today along with the other verses mentioned in this study.

Saul set his mind on the desires of the flesh. After all, what harm could rounding up a few sheep and cattle do? Maybe while rounding up the livestock the man who would kill Saul got away.

God has given us His Spirit. Let’s crucify the flesh and be led by the Spirit. Remember, “The mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6b NASB

Got peace? Be led by the Spirit!

Pastor Dave