Dying To Live
As we come into this part of our series on walking in the Spirit, it might be helpful for a quick review of the main points covered so far in our text. First, we believers are called to freedom! Freedom from the jurisdiction of the law. We are accepted by God, NOT on the basis of our performance, but rather by grace, through faith. Second, if we are to live this Christian life we must live it by the power of the Spirit. Paul calls this "walking" in the Spirit. He guarantees that if we will walk in the Spirit, we will NOT fulfill the lusts of our flesh (that stinking indwelling sin!). He tells us that the reason this is true, is because of how vastly different they are! The flesh and the Spirit are opposites and you can't be "walking" in one and the other at the same time. Third, we further examined the differences between the works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. They are obviously different, no question!
So then, as we come to this fourth part of our series, we will cover something that is EXTREMELY important to our Christian walk. The next verse in the passage is super important. It is Gal. 5:24.
"And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires."
Notice the belonging! Those who belong to Christ - who is that? Well, go back to verse 13, and we find out that these are the "brothers" or those who have been called by God! This is such an important connection that Paul makes. Our belonging to Jesus is reminiscent of part 1. We are secured by His calling and His love! Think about what it means to belong to Jesus Christ. According to Ephesians chapter 1:11,18 we are the glorious inheritance of God! In other words we are his special, unique treasure that He is making beautiful! We are owned by Jesus! In a similar context to Galatians 5, in Romans chapter 8, Paul states that "anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ, does not belong to Him." This changes everything! If we are owned by Christ, we can be secure that He will not misplace us, or misuse us. He will not replace us, or abuse us. He has plans for us, He delights in us. He loves us!
We might ask the question, when did He buy us? The answer was earlier in Galatians. Chapter 2 verse 20 states that 2000 years ago, Jesus Christ died on a cross. In His death, we also died! We had nothing to do with this death! We have been crucified with Jesus! This means that we were united with Him in His death! We were made one with Him by Him. How do we know we belong to Christ? Have you ever put your trust in His death and His work that he accomplished on the cross for you 2000 years ago? If you have put your trust in His work, then He owns you! But his ownership is gracious and kind and loving.
As we continue in this passage, consider the rest of verse 24. Much different than 2:20, in this passage we are the ones who are doing the crucifying. What are we crucifying and when did it happen? We are putting to death our flesh, and it took place when we repented of our sins and put our faith in Jesus death! When we chose to believe in Jesus Christ, we were choosing to set our hearts and our affections and our lives in submission to His! Our desires and passions are not submitted to Him! Death, had to happen! He died so we could live, and now we must live by dying! Repentance is not just a one time act! Often people think that if they prayed the prayer when they were 5, it means that they are guaranteed a place in heaven! NO! The emphasis in the Bible is never, "Did you believe?" The emphasis is "Do you believe right now?" I believe that Jesus Christ is my master! I believe He loves me! I believe He owns me! I believe He forgives me! Because of His death, I live! This is the attitude and the belief of a genuine believer!
This however, must continue. So, you might say that all of the Christian life is repentance! It is a continuing to bring all passions and desires into submission to the One who loves and owns you! That is what Christians do day by day moment by moment! The Christian life is a life that is lived out in the moments! Every moment, we die to our own selfish passions and we live for the passions and desires of the One who owns us and bought us with His very blood! This is the essence of walking in the Spirit! It is to day by day, yield to the desires of the indwelling Spirit, through faith!
In Chapter 3, Paul asked the Galatians, if they received the Spirit by faith or works. The answer is by faith. Then Paul says, "so why then do you think you are made perfect (sanctified) through self effort?" What Paul is emphasizing, is that your own efforts to put to death your desires are not enough! You need to put to death your desires as a result of having the Powerful desires of the Holy Spirit within you! Desires must be fought with greater desires! Loving what the Holy Spirit loves, is what enables you to deny yourself! This is why the ownership of Jesus is so significant! If we are owned by Jesus, then we have the Holy Spirit. If we have the Holy Spirit, then we can learn to love Jesus more than our sin! We can learn to delight in the things that delight Him! As we learn to find joy because of the presence of Jesus, we can say no to lesser passions and deceitful pleasures.