Tag Archives: the flesh

Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 5 Part 3)

We are making great progress as we think through the themes in this great epistle to the Galatians.  I’m teaching this book to a group of students at the Word of Life Bible Institute on Jeju Island, Korea, June 11-15.

 Let’s continue our study as we notice the next section of chapter 5.  Here the theme seems to be the battle between the flesh and the Spirit (vv. 13-26).

“The flesh” in the Bible often refers to our sinful nature, which is the case here.  We were called to be free, but we are not to use our freedom to indulge our sinful natures.  Instead we are to humbly serve one another (v. 13).

We must walk by the Spirit and such walking will keep us from gratifying “the flesh” (v. 16).  “The flesh” and the Spirit are mortal enemies.  Paul lists 15 “acts of the flesh” and counters those sins with nine fruit of the Spirit (vv. 19-23).

This is no small matter.  If we “walk by the Spirit” we will commit ourselves to crucifying the flesh (v. 24)!  Could Paul have said it any stronger?

May I ask you today — What fruit of the Spirit are you in most need of developing?  Ask God to give you specific steps in that area.






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Posted by on June 16, 2018 in Galatians


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Major Themes in the Book of Galatians (Ch. 4 Part 3)

Let’s look at the second half of Galatians 4 this morning.  We’ve already seen a couple of themes in this chapter, but please notice what Paul does now.  He gives us the example of Abraham’s two wives!  The story of Abraham and his two wives is told to us in Genesis 16.

God has clearly promised Abram that he would have a son, even in his old age (Gen. 17). But 25 years passed and his wife Sarai wasn’t getting pregnant.  In Genesis 16 it is Sarai’s idea that Abram sleep with her Egyptian slave Hagar. Sarai even defends her advice by saying “The Lord has kept me from having children” (v. 2).

After ten years of living in Canaan, Sarai gives her Egyptian slave Hagar “to her husband to be his wife” (v. 3). Abram sleeps with her and she conceives.

In her pregnancy Hagar begins “to despise her mistress” and Sarai blames Abram “for the wrong I am suffering” (v. 5). She admits she put the slave in his arms, but add, “May the Lord judge between you and me” (v. 5).

Abram gives Sarai authority to mistreat Hagar. She does and Hagar flees. But the angel of the Lord finds Hagar and commands her to submit herself to her mistress and promises that the Lord will increase Hagar’s descendants “so much that they will be too numerous to count.” (v. 10).

The angel tells Hagar she will have a son and will name him Ismael “for the Lord has heard of your misery.” He will be a man who will live in constant hostility toward all his brothers. Hagar names the Lord “the God who sees me.” Ismael is born when Abram is 86 years old!

Was it of faith for Abram to sleep with Hagar?  for him to listen to Sarai and try to force God’s promise into fulfillment?  Or did God purposely wait until Abram was too old and Sarai too barren to fulfill His promise — so that all would know this was of God!?  We clearly have the contrast of that which was accomplished by “the flesh” versus that which was the result of “a divine promise.”





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Posted by on June 10, 2018 in Galatians


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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 119): Part 20

ר Resh

153 Look on my suffering and deliver me,screen-shot-2016-11-29-at-6-07-10-am
    for I have not forgotten your law.
154 Defend my cause and redeem me;
    preserve my life according to your promise.
155 Salvation is far from the wicked,
    for they do not seek out your decrees.
156 Your compassion, Lord, is great;
    preserve my life according to your laws.
157 Many are the foes who persecute me,
    but I have not turned from your statutes.
158 I look on the faithless with loathing,
    for they do not obey your word.
159 See how I love your precepts;
    preserve my life, Lord, in accordance with your love.
160 All your words are true;
    all your righteous laws are eternal.

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Posted by on April 26, 2017 in enemies


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