Choices and Consequences

Key Verse: “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”
—Galatians 5:16

Selected Scripture:
5:16 – 6:18

THIS LESSON RELATES to whether we live by the Spirit or according to the flesh. The Apostle Paul had said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” (Gal. 5:14,15) The real issue is whether we are going to live by our old selfish nature or live by the Spirit. He then counsels us with the Key Verse, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

Paul then explains, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (vs. 17) Writing to the Romans concerning this subject Paul said, “That which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.”—Rom. 7:15-19

To illustrate the dangers of falling into indulgence of fleshly sins, Paul provides a long list. He says, “The works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft [Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott: sorcery], hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, … revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”—Gal. 5:19-21

Following this he shows the work of the Spirit in a list of beautiful, virtuous fruits. Describing these, the apostle says, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” (vss. 22,23) Let us yield ourselves to our Lord’s influence and show that we are controlled by that Spirit. If the Spirit is the source of our life, let the Spirit also direct our course. Paul’s wise counsel was, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”—Gal. 6:7,8

Members of the body of Christ have an obligation to encourage and strengthen one another as they walk together hand in hand along the narrow way. Paul set a splendid example in this regard as he noted, “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”—vss. 1,2

We are advised to consider in our choices to “not be weary in well doing” and “as we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” (vss. 9,10) The consequence of doing so will be “peace” and “mercy.”—vs. 16

Dawn Bible Students Association
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