Deu 12:9 For ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the LORD your God giveth you.
I have always struggled with the law and so has everybody else on earth since Moses came down from Mount Sinai. Jesus simplified the Ten Commandments down to only Two Commandments:
Mat 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38 This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
- LOVE GOD and 2. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR!
It should be pretty simple right? The concept is simple but for some reason the actual execution is impossible! We often try to be pious, polite, kind, generous, loving, etc., etc., but there is always some trial, temptation, or circumstance that derails us from our best intentions.
We look around and notice that everybody seems to be in the same boat. Some people do seem to be pious, polite, kind, generous, loving, etc., etc., but if you ask them they will probably admit that no one is perfect. Other people do not even seem to be trying: they are mean, petty, obnoxious, and even evil! If we are honest with ourselves, we should all finally come to the same conclusion: NOBODY IS PERFECT!
Well…there is one person who is PERFECT according to the New Testament:
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a PERFECT man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
PERFECT: G5046, teleios, tel'-i-os
From G5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with G3588) completeness: - of full age, man, perfect.
How can we measure or identify PERFECTION?
The Greek word teleios measures perfection by our “mental” and “moral” completeness. According to the disciples, people who were in constant contact with Jesus for three and one half (3 ½) years, Jesus was a PERFECT man. These Jewish men determined that Jesus was PERFECT because JESUS KEPT THE LAW, not just the letter of the law but the spirit of the law.
1Jn 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
1Jn 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
After spending twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with Jesus, for over three years…and witnessing His death and resurrection, the Apostles all came to the same conclusion… There was NO sin in Jesus…Jesus is sinless (Jesus NEVER transgressed the law) and therefore JESUS IS PERFECT!
Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet WITHOUT SIN.
The LAW is meant to be a “moral” measuring stick…NOT a stick to beat yourself (or anybody else) up with! If we use the LAW as a “moral” measuring stick, we can see pretty quickly that we do not measure up to God’s strict standards. Here is a list of some of the crimes that required the death penalty in the Old Testament:
- Murder, Gen. 9:6; 2) Negligent Homicide, Exo. 21:29-32; 3) Rape, Deut. 22:25-27; 4) Adultery, Lev. 20:10; 5) False Witness to a Capital Crime, Deut. 19:15-20; etc., etc.
We can be law and order types of people and say, “I don’t see anything wrong with requiring that everybody keep the law. Where are the rocks? Let me cast the first stone!” However, there are a few other crimes punishable by death in the Bible:
6) Falsely representing yourself as a virgin before marriage, Deut. 22:13-21; 7) Contempt of court, Deut. 17:8-12; 8) Cursing a parent, Exo. 21:17; 9) Disobeying a parent? Deut. 21:18-21.
So you would be stoned to death for disobeying your parents according to the Law of Moses! I wonder how many people would have made it to adulthood if this law was still in operation today? I suspect the world population would be a tiny fraction of what it is today…that is, if anybody was left alive to cast any stones!
I am trying to make the point that the Law of Moses is very, very, VERY strict. You do NOT want to be under the law! If you attempt to keep the law via “will power” or via “self-control”, you are “walking after the FLESH”! Why do I say that? If you think you can obey the law, YOU DO NOT REALLY BELIEVE THE WORD OF GOD!!!
Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
If you cannot understand this most fundamental fact, then you have zero hope, you will never make any progress. Jesus can’t help you!
If we seriously attempt to keep the law…We should all eventually reach the same conclusion as the Apostle Paul in the seventh chapter of Romans and throw up our hands and shout to the heavens, “God, who will help me?”
Rom 7:21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 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.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
The Apostle Paul does not leave us in suspense. He gives us the answer, and we should memorize this verse and go back to it each and every time we stumble and fall…and we will all eventually stumble and fall…many, many, times.
Rom 8:1 THERE IS THEREFORE NOW NO CONDEMNATION TO THEM WHICH ARE IN CHRIST JESUS, WHO WALK NOT AFTER THE FLESH, BUT AFTER THE SPIRIT.
Some people sometimes try and make it difficult or confusing, but it is really very, very simple. You may ask, “What is walking after the Spirit?”
WALKING AFTER THE SPIRIT = BELIEVING THE WORD OF GOD
“What is walking after the flesh?”
WALKING AFTER THE FLESH = NOT BELIEVING THE WORD OF GOD
If you are interested, I go into more depth on the subject of “walking in the spirit” in my free book: SPEAK, HEAR, AND BELIEVE.
Joh 6:63 The Spirit is the one who gives life! Human strength can do nothing. The WORDS that I have spoken to you are from that life-giving Spirit. Contemporary English Version.
HUMAN STRENGTH CAN DO NOTHING!!!
THE SPIRIT IS THE ONE WHO GIVES LIFE!!!
These two sentences are the key to “walking in the spirit”. These concepts should be very easy to understand, but it turns out they are very difficult to grasp. We all want to second guess what God is doing. We all want to help God out. We all want to hurry God up! We see Abraham do it when he sleeps with Sarah’s servant. We see Jacob do it when he steals his brother’s birthright. We see Moses do it when he murders an Egyptian. When we decide to “help” God out, we are walking in the flesh, we are being PROUD. Unfortunately for us, God “resists” the proud!
1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God RESISTETH the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
RESISTETH: G498, antitassomai, an-tee-tas'-som-ahee
From G473 and the middle of G5021; to range oneself against, that is, oppose: - oppose themselves, resist.
Needless to say, we do NOT want God to actively oppose us. However, because “walking in the flesh” is so natural to us, we will often find ourselves being “resisted” by God.
Gal 5:16 But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never carry out the desire of the flesh.
Gal 5:17 For the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that whatever you want, you may not do these things.
Gal 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Lexham English Bible.
When we become a Christian, we find ourselves in this titanic struggle, we find ourselves in a great “tug-of-war” between our spirit and our flesh. There is an old story about a good wolf fighting a bad wolf attributed to some unknown Native American elder that goes something like this:
A grandfather is talking with his grandson and he says there are two wolves inside of us which are always at war with each other. One of them is a good wolf which represents things like kindness, bravery and love. The other is a bad wolf, which represents things like greed, hatred and fear.The grandson stops and thinks about it for a second then he looks up at his grandfather and says, “Grandfather, which one wins?
”The grandfather quietly replies, the one you feed the most.
According to the Bible, we don’t need to worry about the bad wolf, we simply need to feed the good wolf and the bad wolf doesn’t stand a chance! How do we feed the good wolf?
1Pe 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the WORD, that ye may grow thereby:
1Co 3:1 And I, brethren, could not SPEAK unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
1Co 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
Rom 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
We feed our spirit by reading, memorizing, and meditating on the WORD of God!!!
We can make resolutions to eat better, to exercise more, to treat people better, to get more education, or to earn more money, but in the end we are not really capable of being good, healthy, mature Christians by walking after the flesh.
Jn 6:63 HUMAN STRENGTH CAN DO NOTHING!!! The WORDS that I have spoken to you are from that life-giving Spirit. Contemporary English Version.
However, if we will make the simple resolution to: 1) read the Bible every day, 2) to memorize a Bible verse every week, 3) to study a Biblical principal every month (love, hope, grace, spiritual gifts, fruits of the spirit, etc., etc.)…Then GOD can change us from the inside out…the good wolf will surely win!
Trying to keep the Law by our own strength is surely destined to fail because we are relying on our flesh to transform ourselves and it is…an impossible task. However, feeding ourselves with God’s WORD and trusting that His GRACE will gradually transform us into His image is… a sure thing!
As we spend more and more time feeding our spirits with God’s WORD, we will notice something extra-ordinary…a struggle of epic proportions, one fine day will become effortless. That is because we have imperceptibly stopped trying to keep the law by our own strength, and we are only relying on the GRACE of God! We stopped trying to save ourselves and we are completely relying on God to lead and deliver us.
To walk as a mere ordinary human being is not to "walk in the Spirit" The Pulpit Commentary.
God does not merely want good people. GOD WANTS SONS TRANSFORMED INTO THE IMAGE OF JESUS CHRIST!
Rom 8:13 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.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.