“Directed By The Spirit” ( Romans 8: 10, NEB ) by Carley Evans


“But if Christ is dwelling within you, then although the body is a dead thing because you sinned, yet the spirit is life itself because you have been justified.”

 

Paul is explaining to his readers and to us that although saved, i.e. justified by Christ’s sacrifice and our acceptance of it; we are nevertheless subject to our “lower nature.” Remember, “the outlook of the lower nature is enmity with God; it is not subject to the law of God; indeed it cannot be: those who live on such a level cannot possibly please God.” (Romans 8: 7-8) Though subject to the influence of our lower nature; nevertheless,”we are not obliged to live on that level.” We must “put to death all the base pursuits of the body.” In this way, as we continue to subdue our “lower nature” “by the Spirit” then we “will live.” (Romans 8: 12, 13) Paul says this is true because we who are Christians “are moved by the Spirit of God.” (Romans 8: 14) And, of course, the Spirit of God does not lead us “back into a life of fear.” (Romans 8: 15)

 

“The conclusion of the matter is this: there is no condemnation for those who are united with Christ Jesus, because in Christ Jesus the life-giving law of the Spirit has set [us] free from the law of sin and death. What the law could never do, because our lower nature robbed it of all potency, God has done: by sending His own Son in a form like that of our own sinful nature, and as a sacrifice for sin, He has passed judgment against sin within that very nature, so that the commandment of the law may find fulfillment in us, whose conduct, no longer under the control of our lower nature, is directed by the Spirit.” (Romans 8: 1-4)

“As Christ Loves Us” (Galatians 5: 13, HCSB) by Carley Evans


The opportunity for the flesh of which Paul writes is primarily our tendency to “bite and devour one another” and the inevitable consequence of being “consumed by one another.” (Galatains 5: 15) Indulging the sinful nature is the opposite of love, says Paul. “For the entire law is fulfilled in one statement: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Galatians 5: 14)

Bitter argument and rivalry are not of the Holy Spirit, but of the sinful nature — the flesh. “Since we [who are in Christ] live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5: 25 – 26)

Instead, love one another. “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 8)

Therefore, Paul reminds us not to use our freedom in Christ as an excuse to consume one another in jealousy, envy, rivalry, and conceit. Let us rejoice in our freedom, loving one another as Christ first loves us.

“Evil Lies Close At Hand” (Galatians 6: 1, ESV) by Carley Evans


Paul calls those “who are spiritual” to “restore” “anyone caught in any transgression” “in a spirit of gentleness.” Some are caught in transgression as one caught in a trap. Others who are free of that trap should assist in that person’s rescue from sin. Yet, Paul warns that the one who is “spiritual” must “keep watch on [himself], lest [he] too be tempted.”

Everyone is subject to temptation; and temptation is not temptation if there is no chance of failure. If the Christian life is as easy as saying, “I am free of sin;” then why is there so much sin in our churches, in our homes, in our children, in our marriages, in our work places? Why do we struggle against the flesh if it has been totally crucified?

Paul writes of this, “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7: 21 – 25)

Paul writes, “For whatever does not proceed form faith is sin.” (Romans 14: 22)

And, “do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14: 16 – 17)

The struggle is to maintain faith, to keep trust in God’s ultimate goodness, to believe that everything works together toward His perfection.

“Accomplished Only Once” (1 Peter 3: 18, ESV) by Carley Evans


Christ suffers once, put to death in the flesh for our sins. He is the Righteous One. We are the unrighteous. Christ never suffers again, but remains alive in the Spirit.

Note who suffers: Christ. Note how many times He suffers: Once. Note: Though He dies in the flesh, He lives in the Spirit. Note the location of the Spirit: In us. Note the location of Christ: At the right hand of God the Father where He always lives to intercede for us. Note the One who dies: Christ is the righteous. Note those for whom He dies: We are the unrighteous. Note: We do not die for Him; He dies for us.

Note: We have no need to add to Christ’s work. Jesus, on the Cross, proclaims: “It is accomplished.”

“Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.”

“Look Carefully Then How You Walk” (Ephesians 5: 15, ESV) by Carley Evans


“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.”

As you consider Jesus, all that He is, all He has done and continues to do; look carefully then. Are you one who shrinks back?

“Let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor.” (Ephesians 4: 25)

Paul exhorts us to “make the best use of time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5: 16) “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the desires of the flesh, for these are opposed to each other… But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” (Galatians 5: 16, 17, 18)

Consider Jesus, who was Himself — while on the earth — led by the Spirit.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5: 25)