WALK AFTER THE SPIRIT
Romans 8:1 (NKJV) There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
In the King James Version the word “according” is not used, but the word “after.” Thus the title “Walk After The Spirit.”
There is no condemnation to those who walk after the Spirit. Yet there is condemnation to those who walk after the flesh, even if they are believers. Yet the condemnation is not from Christ.
John 5:22 (NKJV) “For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son,”
John 12:47 (NKJV) “And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
God is not now judging us and either is Jesus. So how is it that the one walking after the flesh is in condemnation? It is because, unless we trust the mercy and grace of God, we are under the law. No one measures up to the law.
Romans 3:19-28 (NKJV)
19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, 22even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.
What Paul means by walking after the flesh is that we are not trusting God or His ways. We are walking according to our own wisdom and understanding and doing whatever our flesh wants to do. The flesh always fails to trust God, and as we are not able to succeed in obeying the law apart from God, the enemy points at our failure to put us in condemnation. Though God is not now judging (that day will come for unbelievers), the law judges us every time we walk in the flesh.
The good news is two-fold. First, God has given us His Spirit, and when we follow the Spirit that is an act of trust in God. Whenever we trust God, He accounts that to us for righteousness because He is righteous. He then gives us His mercy and also His grace. In His mercy He forgives every failure no matter how many times or how often. His grace is His power to do what the Spirit is leading us to do. The Spirit will only lead us according to God’s will, so we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, but the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.
Philippians 2:13 (NKJV) for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
Romans 12:2 (NKJV) And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Second, God has already put all judgment that should be due us on His Son and punished Him fully for our sin and every failure to obey the law (2 Corinthians 5:21). Therefore, He is able to give us the righteousness of Christ despite our repeated failure today and tomorrow and declare us the beneficiaries of His grace simply as we trust His grace and mercy each time we need it. In fact He tells us to come boldly to His throne of grace each time we need it because we have a perfect High Priest, Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16).
Romans 6:14 (NKJV) For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Now Consider This
Walking after the Spirit will be a direct confrontation to your flesh.
Romans 8:1, 4 (NKJV)
1There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
4that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
As soon as you endeavor to walk after the Spirit of God, your flesh will rise up (see Romans 8:8). The flesh not only cannot please God, it does not want to. It is against God (verse 7).
Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
When you walk after the Spirit, you do not fulfill the lusts of the flesh, so your flesh does not have its desires satisfied. Your flesh will feel deprived.
Galatians 5:17 (NKJV) For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Flesh that is use to getting its way will get upset, become loud and demanding. It will be persistent. If you have never brought your flesh under control, it will try to control you, as it always has in the past. You will have a battle on your hands.
You may lose. One way the flesh defeats us is to get us to use the power of our flesh to defeat itself. No house divided against itself will stand and Satan does not fight against himself. When you try to defeat your flesh with your own will power, you are being duped by your flesh. As long as flesh is in control it wins, not God. Whether you do good or evil, as long as your flesh is in control, you are under the law, you are not trusting God, and you are in condemnation.
The enemy does not care if you do good things. As long as it is not the Spirit of God leading and empowering you to do them.
Satan is defeated every time you are led by the Spirit of God, no matter how small the step of faith is. Every time you say, “Yes.” To God, you are saying, “No!” to Satan.
If you are having trouble saying, “Yes” to God, ask Jesus to help you. Say, “Jesus, help me say, ‘Yes’ to You.” Jesus will help you, because then you are not relying upon your strength. You are relying upon His strength (remember grace is His power working in you). This is what He wants. Your victory is never in the strength of your flesh. It is always in Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:57 (NKJV) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul rejoiced in the fact that he was too weak to overcome in his own strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NKJV)
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul knew that any victory he won without Christ would rob God of Glory and appeal to the vanity of his flesh (Galatians 5:26). The goal of Paul’s heart was to bring glory to God in every thing he did. He knew his weakness was an opportunity for God’s strength to shine.
1 Corinthians 1:25-31 (NKJV)
25Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”
Being led by the Spirit requires you to yield your strength and your wisdom and confess that you require His strength and wisdom for every breath you take and every righteous choice you make.
So turn away from your flesh and its desires and you turn to God, looking on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). Then you wait for Him to speak. Whatever He says, you having the same Spirit of faith, will also speak. And whatever He does, you are empowered to do likewise, by His Spirit of Grace.
Ephesians 3:8 (NKJV To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.
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