“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (Galatians 5:17)
The Flesh was defined in the previous devotion as the “old man,” the old sin nature, the deceiver in man from the fall of Adam. The Flesh has been crucified in regeneration (Romans 6:5-14; 8:2). But this deceiver is not eradicated completely from the regenerated man until the man’s physical death.
The flesh lost its ruling power over the spirit when it was separated from man’s spirit in regeneration:
“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)
However, the flesh, even though it is not in power, never ceases to beguile the spirit, to deceive the spirit; and it tries constantly to lead the spirit into a practice of sin. In other words, the flesh and the regenerated man’s spirit are at war. The reason is because they are “contrary” (or opposite) to each other:
1) The “old man” is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts:
“…the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;” (Ephesians 4:22)
2) The “new man” is created in righteousness:
“And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Ephesians 4:24)
1) The “old man,” the flesh, follows the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life:
“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)
2) The “new man” follows his new nature. He desires to please God; for the Love of God has been shed abroad in his spirit. He is a new creature and loves righteousness, holiness, and peace.
“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Paul reveals this struggle by the works produced:
1) The “old man” produces the works of the flesh:
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” (Galatians 5:19)
“Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,” (Galatians 5:20)
“Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21)
I think that Paul is describing the plight of the saved man, the man with Revelation, but without Regeneration (the Gift of the Holy Spirit). He has the Life of God in him; such as did the Old Testament saints, and even the Apostles and others before the Day of Pentecost; at which time they (the 120) received the New Birth, Regeneration, also called the Gift of the Holy Spirit; which did not give life, but power (Acts 1:8). Until he receives regeneration, this man gives way to the Flesh and to its deception; for he lacks power to overcome (Romans 8:2; 14-16). Therefore, he bears the fruit of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21.
2) The “new man,” the man with Revelation and Regeneration, bears the fruit of the Spirit:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,” (Galatians 5:22)
“Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:23)
Note also how Paul presents it to the Church of Galatia:
a) (Verse 13) They had been called unto “liberty”; but not to use this liberty to occasion, or to please, the flesh.
b) (Verse 16) “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
c) (Verse 18) “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”
d) (Verse 24) “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections (passions) and lusts.”
e) (Verse 25) “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Paul draws a very clear and distinct line between walking in the flesh; and walking, being led, and living in the Spirit.
The Secret of the Struggle is: Are you walking by the flesh (by sight)? Or are you walking by the Spirit (by faith), moved by the Love of God abiding in you (Galatians 4:6b)?
If you are walking by, or in, the flesh; you are either void of the Holy Spirit living in you, or you are not yielding to the Holy Spirit that does live in you. Therefore, The Struggle!
Know this, Child of God, if you have received the Spirit of God…
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” (Romans 8:13)
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Romans 8:14)
“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15)
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:” (Romans 8:16)
“To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:5)
“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:6)
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
…Then you have the power to be victorious in the struggle between the flesh and the spirit.
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.” (1 John 3:9)
You do not have to sin any longer. The Resurrection of Christ proves this (Matthew 28:18; Romans 1:4; 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
The Struggle will always be there, as long as you live; but you are the overcomer in Christ. You are the winner, for Christ has won the battles for you.
“O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)
“The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” (1 Corinthians 15:56)
“But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57)
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
“Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:5)