“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”
so that you do not do the things that you wish
The Holy Spirit interferes with what the flesh would otherwise do in its evil lusts. When we operate on the principle of grace [God’s provisions], we will not do the things we wish. The grace of the Holy Spirit will not allow us to invite evil into our souls. The best way to fight against sin is to walk in the Spirit.
Legalistic Galatians thought they could oppose sin by trying to live up to the law. By trying to gain God’s approbation by the law, they failed to engage the grace of God provided by the Holy Spirit. Neither do believers operating under grace give license to sin. Life under grace is neither legalism nor license but a reigning principle that prohibits the sin capacity from doing what it otherwise would.
The spiritual dual within can lead us in two opposing directions.
The indwelling Holy Spirit and the “flesh” are engaged in a titanic struggle for sovereignty of your soul. This is a great war within us. Every Christian on earth is a battleground. Why should we be surprised at the war with sin in us?
“But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells [sin capacity] in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells [capacity] in me” (Romans 7:17-20).
The moment we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit sets up a system of checks and balances within us. Before possessing a new birth, we did as we pleased but now that we have the new life of the Holy Spirit, He puts checks and balances in our lives. He always finds a way for us to get through the spiritual battle.
Some teach that spirituality is a passive submission to the Spirit. No, it is a life of active faith in the power of the Spirit. The Christian life is a life of spiritual mortal combat. We combat our sin capacity by walking in the Spirit. This makes spiritual victory possible for we operate in the Spirit’s power, not our own.
The more the believer says “no” to sin the easier it is to say “no.” When it becomes a habit, we gain momentum in victory over sin.
[In the next study I will outline biblical spirituality]