As I have addressed the matter of freedom many times in our teachings in Galatians, one might come away with the idea that the Christian life was one glorious victory after another. We do have freedom not to sin, as vs. 16 of the text says, “You shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” We have freedom to serve, as vs. 13, says “By love serve one another, and as vs. 14 says, “We have the freedom to keep the law of love, the whole law is fulfilled, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” With all of this freedom though, why is it that we continually see ourselves coming up short in these areas and continually falling?
Such failings caused Martin Luther to question his salvation. Do you question your salvation due to constant falling into sin? Luther was helped with this problem by meditating on Galatians 5:17, “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.” Luther used this verse to preach to himself. “Martin, you will never be completely without sin, because you still have the flesh. Therefore, you will always be aware of its conflict. According to Paul, the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit. Do not despair, therefore, but fight back, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
As long as we live we will be continually pulled by the body of death (the flesh) and the Spirit; there is a battle taking place which will continue throughout your Christian life. Be encouraged, for when you are most aware of sin is when the Holy Spirit is most active in you. Your struggle with sin is a mark of your genuine Christian faith. The question to ask yourself is found in vs. 17, “And these are contrary one to another, so that you cannot do the things that ye would. Is the desire there to do the things that you would? This then I say then,” walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
This week think of ways to love your neighbor as yourself. May you have the mind of Christ in this matter: neighbor how may I love thee and bless thee?