“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh”
and you shall not fulfill
“Shall not fulfill” is a very strong term for not at all (double negative). God guarantees or promises that we will not carry out the desires of the flesh if we walk in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives a strong desire to do God’s will.
This promise is not a guarantee of cancelation of sins or the sin nature. The Christian will struggle with the sin capacity as long as he lives on this earth. Yet we have a promise from God that we will “not at all fulfill the lust of the flesh.” God does not say “maybe” or “possibly you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh” but “you shall not.”
The sin capacity continues to influence the Christian till the day he dies. Although Christ crucified sin judicially on the cross (Romans 6:6), sin still stimulates us to violate God’s will. The solution to our sin capacity is not regulations but living a life empowered by the Holy Spirit. The reason we must continually walk in the Spirit is that the sin capacity will influence us until we die.
“I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin” (Romans 7:21-25).
the lust of the flesh
“Lust” is a desire, craving, longing after mostly of evil cravings. It is a strong desire to have what belongs to someone else or engage in morally wrong activities.
The “flesh” is the willing instrument of sin, the opposite of the believer’s spiritual nature. It is human reasoning and desires autonomous from God and the spiritual life. God expects us to neglect, starve and ignore the flesh (Matthew 26:41; John 6:63; Romans 7:18; Philippians 3:3; 1 John 3:9).
“And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14).
The onus for living the Spirit-filled life lies on the believer.
The Christian must exercise his volition both in salvation and sanctification. In salvation, the Christian must put faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. In sanctification, the Christian must yield to the power of the Holy Spirit to execute the Christian way of life. The Christian does this by confession of sin (1 John 1:9) and yielding everything in his life to the control of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). There is no peaceful co-existence between the flesh and the Spirit. Co-existence, yes. Peaceful co-existence, no. There is no compromise between the two domains.
Christians cannot ever be completely free from evil desires that originate in their sin capacity. Still, they do not need to surrender to them because they have the power of the Holy Spirit available to them. God gives us a strong assurance that if we depend on the Holy Spirit, He will give us victory over sin.
God puts the onus on the believer to refuse to obey the ruling of sin by placing ourselves under the power of the Holy Spirit. God chained the dogs, but if we unchain them, that is our responsibility. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are free to choose the right and refuse the wrong. The Holy Spirit will not do for us what he asks him to do. The believer must cooperate with the work of the Holy Spirit.
The most effective way of keeping water moisture from forming in the gas tank is to fill the tank with gas. Thus the believer must allow himself to be filled with the Spirit to preempt the passions of the soul.