Galatians 5:16; “This I say then walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
Have you ever used the expression; ‘I couldn’t see the wood for the trees’? It means that, even though a truth is clearly evident, it goes unnoticed because of more attention being given to minor details. Galatians 5:16 is like that.
Let me explain. Countless numbers of believers are desperately trying to not walk in the flesh. They are trying not to do the things that are wrong in God’s sight. They are striving and struggling. As a result, they are continually beating up on themselves in the unending search for self-improvement.
This, however, is not wisdom.
Simply stated… it doesn’t work!
No, it doesn’t work.
It doesn’t work for the simple reason that we are all like the man who hadn’t even thought about walking on the grass until he saw a sign which said, ‘DON’T WALK ON THE GRASS.’
The truth is this if we keep telling ourselves that we are not going to do something you can bet your money that sooner or later we will probably do it. That’s the nature of the beast.
To understand Galatians 5:16, (This I say then walk in the spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh) just picture two roads going in opposite directions away from you. One of them is the Road of the Spirit, the other the Road of the Flesh. We are not instructed to stand at the entrance to the “Flesh Road” and say ‘I’m not going down there, I won’t go down there.’ No! Not at all! If you look down that road for too long, you’ll go down it.
We are, however, to walk down the road of the Spirit. But how do we do that? Here’s one suggested way. Paul encourages us to “Speak to ourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody in our heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:19-20).
We, because of what Christ has accomplished and finished for us in His doing, dying and rising again are learning to sing and make melody in our hearts unto the Lord. We are learning to give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are learning continually to look outside ourselves unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:2) the author and finisher of our faith.
As we walk in the Spirit, we are learning to worry about nothing, to be prayerful for everything and be thankful for anything (Philippians 4:6). By the way, living like this doesn’t mean that we shall not be assailed by the lust of the flesh, rather, it guarantees that we shall not fulfil it.
But let me warn you, if you live that way, singing and making melody in your hearts being worried about nothing, prayerful for everything and thankful for anything, people might say you are mad. But so what? It will be a madness filled with the wisdom of Heaven. It will be a delightful insanity, for in so walking you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!
“This is an eternal and unalterable law of God’s appointment, that whoever will learn His mind and will, as revealed in Scripture, must be humble and lowly, renouncing all trust and confidence in themselves. The knowledge of a proud man is the throne of Satan in his mind. To suppose that persons under the predominancy of pride, self-conceit and self-confidence can understand the mind of God in a due manner is to renounce the Scripture, or innumerable positive testimonies to the contrary” (Owen).
The Lord Jesus declared that heavenly mysteries are hid from the wise and prudent, but revealed unto babes (Matthew 11:25). Those who assume an attitude of competency, and are wise in their own esteem, remain spiritually ignorant and unenlightened. Whatever knowledge men may acquire by their natural abilities and industry is nothing unto the glory of God, nor to the eternal gain of their souls, for the Spirit refuses to instruct the haughty. “God resisteth the proud” (James 4:6)— “He draws up against him, He prepares Himself, as it were, with His whole force to oppose his progress. A most formidable expression! If God only leaves us unto ourselves, we are all ignorance and darkness; so what must be the dreadful case of those against whom He appears in arms?” (John Newton). But, blessed be His name, He “giveth grace unto the humble”—those of a childlike disposition.
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures
by Justin S. Holcomb
What you believe about God changes everything.
It affects how you love, work, live, marry, parent, evangelize, purchase, and worship. Is God an impersonal blob, distant and disinterested in the world except for figuring out who the good and bad people are? Is “god” a karma vibe making sure everyone gets what they deserve? Is God a myth that weak, stupid, or oppressive people use to console themselves or dominate other people? Is God a cosmic cheerleader who is concerned mainly with helping you achieve immediate happiness and self-actualization? Or is God someone else?
Read the entire article here.
8. To this purpose the Psalmist, (Psalm 107) mentioning how God, in a wondrous manner, often brings sudden and unexpected succor to the miserable when almost on the brink of despair, whether in protecting them when they stray in deserts, and at length leading them back into the right path, or supplying them with food when famishing for want, or delivering them when captive from iron fetters and foul dungeons, or conducting them safe into harbor after shipwreck, or bringing them back from the gates of death by curing their diseases, or, after burning up the fields with heat and drought, fertilizing them with the river of his grace, or exalting the meanest of the people, and casting down the mighty from their lofty seats: — the Psalmist, after bringing forward examples of this description, infers that those things which men call fortuitous events, are so many proofs of divine providence, and more especially of paternal clemency, furnishing ground of joy to the righteous, and at the same time stopping the mouths of the ungodly. But as the greater part of mankind, enslaved by error, walk blindfold in this glorious theater, he exclaims that it is a rare and singular wisdom to meditate carefully on these works of God, which many, who seem most sharp-sighted in other respects, behold without profit. It is indeed true, that the brightest manifestation of divine glory finds not one genuine spectator among a hundred. Still, neither his power nor his wisdom is shrouded in darkness. His power is strikingly displayed when the rage of the wicked, to all appearance irresistible, is crushed in a single moment; their arrogance subdued, their strongest bulwarks overthrown, their armor dashed to pieces, their strength broken, their schemes defeated without an effort, and audacity which set itself above the heavens is precipitated to the lowest depths of the earth. On the other hand, the poor are raised up out of the dust, and the needy lifted out of the dung hill, (Psalm 113:7,) the oppressed and afflicted are rescued in extremity, the despairing animated with hope, the unarmed defeat the armed, the few the many, the weak the strong. The excellence of the divine wisdom is manifested in distributing everything in due season, confounding the wisdom of the world, and taking the wise in their own craftiness, (1 Corinthians 3:19;) in short, conducting all things in perfect accordance with reason.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation
This declared by the first class of works, viz., the admirable motions of the heavens and the earth, the symmetry of the human body, and the connection of its parts; in short, the various objects which are presented to every eye.
2. In attestation of his wondrous wisdom, both the heavens and the earth present us with innumerable proofs not only those more recondite proofs which astronomy, medicine, and all the natural sciences, are designed to illustrate, but proofs which force themselves on the notice of the most illiterate peasant, who cannot open his eyes without beholding them. It is true, indeed, that those who are more or less intimately acquainted with those liberal studies are thereby assisted and enabled to obtain a deeper insight into the secret workings of divine wisdom. No man, however, though he be ignorant of these, is incapacitated for discerning such proofs of creative wisdom as may well cause him to break forth in admiration of the Creator. To investigate the motions of the heavenly bodies, to determine their positions, measure their distances, and ascertain their properties, demands skill, and a more careful examination; and where these are so employed, as the Providence of God is thereby more fully unfolded, so it is reasonable to suppose that the mind takes a loftier flight, and obtains brighter views of his glory. Still, none who have the use of their eyes can be ignorant of the divine skill manifested so conspicuously in the endless variety, yet distinct and well ordered array, of the heavenly host; and, therefore, it is plain that the Lord has furnished every man with abundant proofs of his wisdom. The same is true in regard to the structure of the human frame. To determine the connection of its parts, its symmetry and beauty, with the skill of a Galen, (Lib. De Usu Partium,) requires singular acuteness; and yet all men acknowledge that the human body bears on its face such proofs of ingenious contrivance as are sufficient to proclaim the admirable wisdom of its Maker.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 5-Henry Beveridge Translation
1. of holy patriarchs;
2. of holy angels;
3. of the sun and moon.
Hence that dread and amazement with which as Scripture uniformly relates, holy men were struck and overwhelmed whenever they beheld the presence of God. When we see those who previously stood firm and secure so quaking with terror, that the fear of death takes hold of them, nay, they are, in a manner, swallowed up and annihilated, the inference to be drawn is that men are never duly touched and impressed with a conviction of their insignificance, until they have contrasted themselves with the majesty of God. Frequent examples of this consternation occur both in the Book of Judges and the Prophetical Writings; so much so, that it was a common expression among the people of God, “We shall die, for we have seen the Lord.” Hence the Book of Job, also, in humbling men under a conviction of their folly, feebleness, and pollution, always derives its chief argument from descriptions of the Divine wisdom, virtue, and purity. Nor without cause: for we see Abraham the readier to acknowledge himself but dust and ashes the nearer he approaches to behold the glory of the Lord, and Elijah unable to wait with unveiled face for His approach; so dreadful is the sight. And what can man do, man who is but rottenness and a worm, when even the Cherubim themselves must veil their faces in very terror? To this, undoubtedly, the Prophet Isaiah refers, when he says, (Isaiah 24:23,) “The moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of Hosts shall reign;” i. e., when he shall exhibit his refulgence, and give a nearer view of it, the brightest objects will, in comparison, be covered with darkness.
But though the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves are bound together by a mutual tie, due arrangement requires that we treat of the former in the first place, and then descend to the latter.
John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Henry Beveridge Translation
Published in 1646
The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.
CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.
XV CONCERNING the prophecy of Christ, it is that whereby He hath revealed the will of God, whatsoever is needful for His servants to know and obey; and therefore He is called not only a prophet and doctor, and the apostle of our profession, and the angel of the covenant, but also the very wisdom of God, in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, who for ever continueth revealing the same truth of the gospel to His people.
John 1:18. 12:49,50, 17:8; Deut.18:15; Matt.23:10; Heb.3:1; Mal.3:1;1 Cor.1 :24; Col.2:3.
The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46