For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1
Paul continues presenting the spiritual aspects of following Christ or returning to the law, as those who wanted the Gentiles in the churches in Galatia to do, by trying to impose on them circumcision for salvation.
Paul now tells the believers in Galatia to realize that what Christ has done is to free them (and all Christians) from the slavery of trying to keep the law for salvation. In fact, what you are doing Paul says, is turning from Christ and going back to the law. To do so, is to fall away from grace.
To do so, is to say that what Christ did is not sufficient - something else needs to be added to Christ's work which merits our salvation. In Chapter three, Paul had asked the Galatians " Are you so foolish?Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (3:3) Paul continues that train of thought by showing that the flesh only works things which; those that do them, (walk in the flesh) will not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul is saying to live by the flesh. for the flesh is to ultimately miss the kingdom of God. To try any other way to make it into the kingdom of God other than by Christ (walking by the Spirit) you will not make it. Paul list all the evil things of the flesh and contrasted them with the fruit of the Spirit (verse 19 to 23).
What is the big deal for us in 2012, we are not trying to enter in by circumcision. I believe the big concern today is those who may have professed that they have entered in by Christ, and have not. How can we tell. We tell by the evidence of the fruit of the Spirit, do we have any of them, in some degree?
Are we trapped in the things of the flesh, are we preoccupied with those things (verse 19-21) do those things rule us?
The fruit of the Spirit is evidence of union with Jesus Christ - In John 15 Jesus says that he is the vine and we are branches of the vine, unless we abide in the vine, Jesus says we cannot produce any fruit..
Galatians 5:24 says that those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passion and desires. When we see Scripture like these we are to examine ourselves against them, we are not to walk away from them, we are to submit ourselves to them in honest evaluation. God already knows your condition, and we all need to pray about these because no one is walking completely as they should. So these Scriptures become prayer. These Scriptures become pleads and petitions to Christ for us enabling grace to help us walk and live by the Spirit.
The Word of God is always forcing us to be real with God, it shows us that their are consequences to our sins and our persistence in them.
We also find comfort when we resist our flesh and allow the Spirit in us to lead us in victory after victory. We can have victories because the Spirit is greater than He who is in the world. It takes sweet communion with Christ in prayer and in reading the Word. It is the work of the Spirit of God who overshadows all these things that help us get the victory over and over again, prayer, reading the word, Church attendance, hearing the Word preached, The Lord's Supper, sharing a fellowship meal, encouraging other Christians and being encouraged by other Christians, this is walking by the Spirit and their is sweet communion with Christ there. Christ is exalted over everything, from that joy, you see sin for the evil, wickedness and death that it truly is, and instead of accepting it, and letting it come between you and that sweet communion with Christ, you lets it stay in that evil, wicked, vile place where it belongs. Thanking your heavenly Father for His Fatherly care for you, His protection of you, His provisions for you. Knowing that He is receiving the Glory that He so deserve.
Christians walk by the Spirit, live by the Spirit - there is where Christ is.
Blessings in Christ.