The secret to continuing in the Spirit

Walk by the Spirit and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh, we’re commanded in Galatians 5:16.

I’ve struggled with how that looks practically, and often resort to striving to achieve this in my own flesh. Just this Sunday, God brought the verse below to my attention. The key is faith, not works, rituals, legalism, morality, trying harder, or relying on formulas.

Galatians 3:2

Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the [Holy] Spirit as the result of obeying the Law and doing its works, or was it by hearing [the message of the Gospel] and believing [it]? [Was it from observing a law of rituals or from a message of faith?]

 

I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by believing what you heard?

 

I want to know from you just this one thing: did you receive the Spirit by legalistic observance of Torah commands or by trusting in what you heard and being faithful to it?

 

I want to know only one thing. How were you given God’s Spirit? Was it by obeying the Law of Moses or by hearing about Christ and having faith in him?

 

Tell me this one thing: How did you receive the Spirit? Did you receive the Spirit by following the law? No, you received the Spirit because you heard the message about Jesus and believed it.

 

Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?

 

I want to learn only one thing from you. Did you receive the Spirit by your own efforts to follow the laws in the Scriptures or by believing what you heard?

 

Tell me this one thing: did you receive God’s Spirit by doing what the Law requires or by hearing the gospel and believing it?

 

Tell me this one thing: How did you receive the Holy Spirit? Did you receive the Spirit by following the law? No! You received the Spirit because you heard the Good News and believed it.

 

Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by trying to keep the Jewish laws? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you heard about Christ and trusted him to save you.

 

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?

 

This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

 

So answer me this: Did the Holy Spirit come to you as a reward for keeping all the Jewish laws? No, you received him as a gift because you believed in the Messiah.

 

I want to find out just one thing from you: did you receive the Ruach by deeds based on Torah, or by hearing based on trust?

 

Tell me this: Did the Holy Spirit come upon you because you lived according to the law? Or was it because you heard His message of grace through faith?

 

The very next verse asks us “having begun in the Spirit, are you now being perfected in the flesh?”
So the means of justification is the same means of sanctification. God’s means of grace is always the same– hearing the word and believing it.
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word about Christ, Romans 10:17.

 

Don’t try harder. Just believe the word of God, particularly the message about Christ, and watch the Spirit do work in your life.
Grace and peace.

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