“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”
Paul now calls us to action based on our status in the Spirit. The dynamics of the Spirit should arrest our proclivity to criticize others.
If we live in the Spirit,
Paul’s argument is “if” then “let us.” The “if” relates to principle, and the “let us” relates to the application. God always appeals to living the Christian life based on our standing in Christ and the Spirit.
The “if” in the phrase “If we live in the Spirit” is not hypothetical but actual. Christians live in spiritual lives because they entered into God’s life at salvation. Paul assumes that every believer lives in the Spirit. Since we hold status with the Spirit, we should walk according to that status.
let us also walk in the Spirit
The word “walk” means to draw up in line, hold to, go in a line or row, and go in battle-order. There is an emphasis on the word “walk” in Greek. The word “walk” means walking in a straight line, to conduct oneself (rightly). This is a different Greek word than the word “walk” in verse 16. The word “walk” in verse 16 means to walk around (as a course of life). The word “walk” in this verse means to take a step at a time in line with a leader. With each step we take spiritually, we must walk in line with the power of the Spirit.
God wants us to walk in line with the Holy Spirit, to walk according to His principles. The Christian who conforms to the standards of the Spirit lives in God’s will. Spiritual Christians get in line to march behind the Holy Spirit.
The believer can walk confidently because the Spirit makes it possible for him to live beyond his natural powers. When we keep in step with the Spirit, He enables us to walk our talk.
We can walk in the Spirit because God crucified us to the cross with Christ in terms of spiritual standing. That was an act of sheer grace. God did the doing. Legalism that imposes regulations from without cannot provide what the inner dynamics of the Spirit can afford. When we yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit, He takes us beyond the system that imposes rules from without. This form of spirituality is a far cry from the charge of license from the legalists.
God always appeals to us to walk with Him based on our standing in Christ.
Legalism always tends toward the pride and arrogance of self-effort. It always misses the true ground of glorying – Christ and His work on the cross of Christ. We walk in the Spirit on the authority of the work of Christ for us.
Since all Christians live in the Spirit, they ought to line themselves up with the Spirit. A grace-oriented person always casts himself on the Spirit of God. When this happens, we stay in harmony with other Christians. We do not provoke or cause envy in them (5:26) because we walk in step with the Holy Spirit.