Living According to the Spirit – Galatians 5:16-26

2 January, 2022

Book: Galatians

Living According to the Spirit

Romans 8:1-13, Galatians 5:16-26


  • There is a battle going on inside every true Christian!
  • It might sound something like this in your own heart-mind:
  • I know, I should be spend my time in prayer & bible reading
    • but what i really want, is to take a nap!
    • The Flesh is warring against the Spirit
  • I should be diligently teaching my children, the bible stories and truths of scripture,
    • But, I’d rather watch a relaxing, family-friendly movie.
    • The Spirit is warring against the Flesh
  • When I should be meditating on Scripture, my mind becomes instead a bee-hive of thoughts and considerations for
    • Re-organizing my office,
    • Renovating my kitchen, or
    • Stewing over some personal issue!
  • When I Know I should be cutting my calories, walking the dog, and going to work-out at the gym…
    • Instead, my flesh demands a sugar-laced snack.
  • When We should be relishing the joy and freedom of sexual purity within the rose-garden of a loving marriage,
    • We feel our flesh leaping in lust at an image of a scarcely clothed woman
  • The Flesh is warring ag. the Spirit & the Spirit ag. the Flesh.


  • We’re Christians!
  • We know and love the Saviour!
  • We want to grow in grace, wisdom, & likeness to Christ
  • We have a genuine desire to walk in victory in Christian Life…
  • We want to display the supernatural Fruit of the Spirit
    • to Crucify & put to death the deeds of the old nature,
  • Yet it seems… there truly is, a mountain of opposition facing us
  • Surely, I must be the only one at my church, who faces that…
  • Surely nobody else in my prayer group goes thru this, they all seem so spiritual, so godly. Truth is: we all go thru it.
  • In order to understand this internal war, we all face…
  • We must understand the root problems and…
  • We must recognise that Christ is God’s solution to them and… The Filling of His H. Spirit is the power to live: Pleasing to God,


Read: Galatians 5:16-26. (it’s on the back of your Notesheet)




First: I want us to see that there’re Two Great Problems we all face:

The Flesh is the 1st Problem

  • Paul uses the term: “Flesh” 2 different ways in Scripture:
  • 1st) to describe the Physical Flesh & Blood of a human’s body
  • 1:3, He refers to Christ: David’s Son acc. to the Flesh
  • We speak of Christ’s flesh and blood
  • We speak of the flesh of bulls and goats, animals
  • We mean the physical muscle, tissue, skin of an animal.


  • 2ndly) Paul uses the term to describe the corrupt, sinful, human nature, we inherited fr. Adam & Eve, our first parents
  • Adam & Eve committed the 1st sin of eating forbid. fruit
  • Their sinful act corrupted their created nature into a fallen, sinful nature
  • Once they had begun to sin, they could not stop sinning.
  • In Romans 5:12-14, Paul describes The passing of that corrupt sinful human nature on to every successive generation since…


  • We’ve all inherited: ‘Flesh’, our corrupt sinful nature, fr them
  • In Romans 8:7, It is Flesh that is hostile to God, it drives us to disobey God, and live for ourselves, and not to please God.


  • The ‘Flesh’ typifies those who’re not born again, not believers, followers, disciples, of Christ and God,
  • Rather the unbelievers desire is constantly ag God & His Word
  • The unregenerate person lives, thinks, acts 4 self, not 4 God,
  • We had no desire to know, to glorify, to worship, to love or serve God – even the very best version of ourselves was, at its core, constantly desiring for itself, for ourselves.
  • It’s the Flesh – the sin nature – that sees the commands, the Law of God’s Law and describes, seizes it to break it, as a means of demonstrating our rebellious independence from God.
  • The Flesh is our first problem.


The Law is 2nd problem we all deal with, which Paul mentions in text.

  • If the Flesh is the ugliest, most negative problem we have…
  • The Law is the exact & complete, opposite problem.
  • Scripture (Psalm 19:7-11, Psa.119) describes God’s Law as: sure, perfect, right, pure, holy, just & good: Nothing wrong w/ Law!
  • In 20, God gave His Law to Moses on Mt. Sinai, for the Jewish People, so they would know what God required of them
  • 2:14-15, Paul says the work of the law was written on every heart, so that every human-being has a conscience,
    • that inner voice which either condemns/excuses us.
  • We know what God requires of us: we have the Law/Conscience.
  • God’s Law, written on stone tablets, or on the heart, is a reflect’n of God who gave/spoke it to us: Perfect, Holy, & Good
  • The Law promises Life to all those who obey all its commands, perfectly, for all of life…. L
  • But, it also promises death to all who fail, even once, to keep even one Command…
  • So, then the Law can only delivers death sentences to all, becoz all have sinned; all have broken God’s Law.
  • The problem is not the Law itself, but our sinful flesh that cannot keep/obey it.


  • But, Praise God, Paul says in 8:3 God did what: Law could not do, becoz it was weakened by the flesh – our flesh.
  • The Law cannot make us righteous,
    • it can only identify: Righteous or unrighteous.
  • The Law cannot restore us & help us to obey its commands,
  • The Law cannot remove the old corrupt, sinful, fallen, human nature, which every one of us inherited.
  • The Law can only testify against us that we have broken its commands – God’s commands
  • The Law Demands fr. us: penalty set, for: commands we broke
  • Every time we disobeyed Moses’ Law or our inner Conscience
    • Law demands the death-penalty for the Law-breaker.
  • So, The Law Ultimately has one over-riding purpose…
  • to teach us that we are absolutely destitute, and unable to save ourselves…. Bad News!  But the Good News from Romans 8:3,  God has done what the Law could not do, by sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin.


Second: Pt: is this: One Glorious Solution: Christ!

  • We just celebrated Christmas! – God sent His Own Son!
  • Christ came as truly man & truly God
    • As truly God, He represented, & spoke for God, to us,
    • As truly Man, He represented all believers, to God
  • Christ being miraculously conceived, born of a Virgin, without a human Father, did not inherit the sin nature, we all have.
  • Christ lived in perfect obedience & righteousness, never breaking even one command, for all of His eternal existence
  • Christ was tempted, infinitely worse than anything we’ll ever endure, w/o sin, and w/o even the possibility of sin.


  • Christ Lived His Sinless Life, on every Christian’s behalf
  • We, who believe in Christ, receive His Righteousness applied to us, to our account, at the moment we believe.
  • His Righteousness becomes Our righteousness
  • The Law’s demand for righteousn’ss is fulfilled for us, by Christ


  • Christ Died to pay the Law’s demands against His People
  • 5:21, tells us that God made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that in Him, we might become the Right. of God
  • His Death for sin, became our payment for our sin
  • The Law’s demand for our Death is fulfilled for us by Christ


{The Challenge}

  • So, How can His righteousness be applied to my, to your acct?
  • How can His death be applied to me, to you, for your sin?
  • We come to God, confessing sin, seeking God’s forgiveness
  • We receive Christ as Lord & Saviour, in the person of His Holy Spirit, who dwells within every believer.
  • But, Preacher, didn’t U just say, we have no desire for God?
  • Didn’t U just say the Flesh wars against God?
  • How can we come to God, if we have no desire for God?
  • Answer: God’s H. Sprit draws, brings us, & makes us alive
  • God’s Holy Spirit, changes our internal inclinations, so that we become aware of our desperate need to be saved, and so…
    • we begin to long for God,
    • we long to be right with God,
    • we long to have communion and fellowship with God,
  • and so, being made alive, and being changed, by the Holy Spirit,
    • we must come to God, by faith in God, seeking for God’s forgiveness, and turning away from sinning any more.

So, Have you come to Christ?

  • Have you come, confessing your sins
  • Have you come seeking forgiveness for your sins
  • Do you trust in Christ for your salvation & your Christian life?
  • Are you living walking by faith in God?


Third Pt: And, So, We’re Made Alive by the Spirit

  • 3:18, we are made alive in the Spirit
  • 3:5, we receive the washing of regeneration (being made alive) and the renewal of (by) the Holy Spirit.
  • 8:9, Being “in Christ” we have the Spirit of God within us
  • 1:13, Believing “in Christ” we’re sealed/filled with H. Spirit
  • John ch.’s 14 & 16, Jesus taught us about His Holy Spirit
  • The Spirit will convict us of Sin, Righteousness & Judgement
  • The Spirit will teache us the truths of the Scriptures
  • The Spirit will remind us of the Christ’s words, & works
  • The Spirit will enable & empowers us to live for Christ, not self.


The Christian Life, that we’re called to, is the New Life in the Spirit!

  • 5:22-23, Paul tells us the Spirit Produces: Fruit-Evidence (singular) of His presence/activity within,
  • Note: it’s not fruits, or evidences of the Spirit,
  • It is the singular fruit or evidence of His Presence:
  • The Spirit is like One Jewel of with multiple facets of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such as these there is no law….
  • Paul’s list is not exhaustive, its merely representative list, there are more facets to this singular jewel, than he mentions
  • The Influence, Fruit, Evidence of the Spirit shines out thru us, in circumstances where our natural response would be anything but love, joy, peace, etc.


  • 8:2, The law (power) of the Life-giving-Spirit has set us free, in Christ, from the law (power) of sin and death
  • The power of the corrupt sin nature (Flesh) is broken!
  • But, yet, it is still present within; it’s presence remains.
  • The Flesh is broken and defeated, but refuses to give in!
  • Just like Satan whose defeated, yet fights on, so the Flesh
  • Christ is the victor & His Spirit continues to war against: Flesh


So, How do we live this Christian life, not endlessly wallowing in the mud of the Flesh but Soaring in the Power of the Spirit?

  • Hence the struggle, I sketched out at the very beginning!
  • Galatians 5:17, The Flesh lusts (wars) against the Spirit, and the Spirit lusts (wars) against the Flesh, for these are opposed to one another, so as to prevent U doing things U want to do.
  • In Romans 7:15, it was Paul’s struggle. “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate!”
    • Watching TV, instead studying scripture & praying… etc.
    • Eating sugary snacks instead of exercising….etc…
  • And that struggle, that internal war between defeated flesh and the victorious Spirit of Christ, will continue until we die, or Christ returns….


  • And Listen, while that struggle is going on (and it will continue)
  • Do not listen to the voice of the devil, softly whispering:
    • you’re not a true Christian,
    • no true Christian would ever struggle like this!
  • Listen, scripture makes it plain, Romans 8:9, If you were not a true Christian, you would not have the abiding, indwelling pres. of Christ, in the person of His Spirit… But becoz you are a true Christian, you do have the indwelling presence of His Spirit.
  • If you were not a Christian, there’d be no struggle, because there would be no Spirit, for the flesh to war against.
  • Remember this: The Flesh, Sin nature is defeated, doomed, destined to one day be entirely removed, may it be soon!
  • But, In meantime, we wrestle, in the Spirit, against the Flesh
  • So, we are made alive by the Spirit and…


Fourthly, Lastly: We Live by the Spirit

  • Remember these truths
  • 2:13, It is God who is at work in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure.
  • Romans 8:16–17 The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
  • So, What practical steps can we take to walk-live by the Spirit and put to death the Flesh?


1) Consider the Things of the Spirit

  • e. Set Your minds on the things of the Spirit, (Rom.8:5b)
  • Those who live according to the Spirit, set their minds on the things of the Spirit
  • There’s a similar idea in Colossians 3:1–2 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
  • So, what does it mean?
  • To set your mind means to adopt an entirely new way of thinking & considering, that is the Spirit’s way.
  • It is to align the direction of our life in God’s way, not the flesh’s way, not the sinful wicked way
  • To set your mind on the things of the Spirit is to look and see our world, our lives, our reactions, our focusses, our habits, our words, our…. Everything… from God’s viewpoint, not ours
  • The things of: Spirit: refers to those things that are near and dear to the Spirit, which is God: Father and Son
  • The things of: Spirit refers to God’s Word, which He inspired
  • The things of the Spirit is
    • Not: me, myself and I,
    • but God, His Word, my Christian Bros & sis, & Others
  • Instead of asking: what will satisfy my fleshly desires?
  • We Ask: What action-reaction, what thought-word-deed
    • will please God in this situation?
  • How can I honour God, as Holy, in this moment?
  • What will bring glory to His name, in this situation?
  • Where do we find that info: – It’s not What-Would-Jesus-Do?
    • That question involves much speculation….
  • Far, far better: What-Has-God-Said-written: Scripture
  • So, first we set our minds on the things of the Spirit, found in Scripture


2) Conduct yourself by the Spirit,

  • Not only do we set our minds on the things of the Spirit, and strive to understand from scripture how we can please, honour, glorify God in any moment,
  • But, we do, we live, we conduct ourselves in those responses, but only in the power of the Holy Spirit!
  • Galatians 5:1616 But I say, walk-live-conduct-yourself, by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
  • The Flesh is sneaky! The sneakiest of all our faculties.
  • It watches as we see from scripture how we are supposed to respond, and then gently whispers: “oh, that’s easy, you can do that, you don’t need Anybody’s help for that…”
  • No, No, No, a thousand times no!
  • Beloved, Do not make my much repeated mistake of seeing what God requires and then striving in your own strength to do it in your own power!
  • Paul says: walk, live, conduct yourselves by the Spirit.
  • The power of the Spirit is the only God-pleasing way to live!
  • So, How? Here’s one example:
  • We see from scripture that a soft answer turns away wrath.
  • Someone gets mad at us, & immediately we cry out to God for the strength, the manner to respond with a soft answer,
  • and when the moment is right we do exactly that.
  • God empowers us to respond in a God-pleasing manner and God gets the glory, even if it is only within our own hearts that we recognize that God did it, not me.


  • Notice quickly the two results Paul gives us:
  • 1) Vs.16, you won’t gratify the desires of the Flesh
    • very powerful Pt. Christians can overcome the Flesh!
      • Albeit, never perfectly, in this life,
    • But we can know victory over besetting sins, If we submit to living, walking & conducting themselves
      • by the Power and the Leading of the Holy Spirit.
    • 2) Vs.18, Lit: since by-the-Spirit, you are-continuously-led-controlled & directed, you’re not subject-to-the Law’s demands.
    • Conducting ourselves by the Spirit is evidence that we’re no longer under the condemnation of the Law.
    • We are in fact, true believers in Christ
    • We’ve received the righteousness of Christ, imputed to us.
    • Notice also: in conclusion to describing the fruit of the Spirit, Paul says there’s no law against such as these
    • The Spirit of God will never lead us, direct us, control us, or produce evidence of His presence, that breaks God’s Law…
      • Despite what some Charismatic churches do-say.
    • The Spirit will only lead us & influence us in ways that honour, please, and glorify God, which is always according to His Word, and never against His Law.


3) Conform yourself to the Spirit

  • Notice vs.25, which reads in a very literal sense as:
    • “Since we live by the Spirit – to the Spirit also, let us all walk-in-a-row, conforming ourselves” (to Him)
  • ESV, NIV: “keep in step with the Spirit”.
  • The idea is of marching as a group, in a row of soldiers
  • There’re two ideas worth examining here:


  • 1) We all, as a church, as a body, must live, walk, & conforming ourselves to the Holy Spirit’s leading,
  • It is necessary that not merely the leadership, but every single member of the church live, walk, keep in step, with the Spirit
  • If some members live outside of the leading, controlling, guidance of the Holy Spirit, it will hinder the work of the Spirit within the church as a whole…


  • 2) we each must conform ourselves, not occasionally, but consistently. Like a soldier who decides to walk in step with his regiment, but only once every 15 minutes or so….
  • He constantly trips up himself and his fellow-soldiers.
  • The Spirit-filled Christian life, is a consistent, regular, patterned “march” of Conformity to the Spirit of God, for all of life, not every so often, not so long as your attending church.
  • It’s a day in day out, one foot in front of the other, life lived always keeping in step with the Spirit, so that you will be in step with the other believers….
  • There’s more I could say, but I mustn’t keep us too long


To summarise it all:

  • We began this life under the continual influence of the Flesh, the fallen, sinful, human nature we inherited from Adam & Eve
  • We had the works of God written on our hearts, so that our conscience continually accused or excused us,
  • We were all enslaved to sin, and death & under: Law’s demands
  • But God, In Christ, fulfilled all the law’s demands against us
    • His Righteous Life lived on our behalf
    • His Sacrificial death, died for us, to pay our penalty
  • But God, in the Person of the Holy Spirit, has broken the power of sin and death to which we were enslaved.
  • God in the Person of the Holy Spirit has made us alive, has filled us and empowers & enables us to Live, to Walk, to Conduct ourselves according to His Spirit.


How do we respond to all this?

  • By Faith in God, we receive what Christ has done for us
  • By Faith and Repentance, in the Power of the Spirit we live to please, honour and glorify Christ


How do we do that??

  • We Continually Consider the things of the Spirit
  • We Continually Conduct ourselves in the Power of the Spirit
  • We Conform ourselves to the Spirit as individuals & as church.








Conclusion: Remember it’s all because of Christ!

  • Christ lived in perfect righteousness, that he might impute that righteous obedience to us
  • Christ died on: cross, that we might receive forgiveness sins
  • Christ was raised from dead so we could be Justified.
  • Christ abides in us, through His Spirit, which fills us….
  • How Great is God our Saviour…..
  • Glory be to Christ!