A gracEmail subscriber in
South America asks about living by the flesh and living by the Spirit in Galatians 5 and in Romans 8. “How can the believer sometimes show the works of the flesh? And how can one who has not been born again demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit?”
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As you note, the person who is born again still has an old self or former nature which can be overcome by the Spirit, but which does not go quietly away when left undisturbed. That old nature was crucified with Christ, but it does not like to admit it. We must continually reckon or consider ourselves to be dead to sin, therefore, and act accordingly. When we do think and act in this way (which Paul explains in Romans 6), the spiritual truth becomes practical reality and we live out the life of Christ which he works within us by his Spirit.
The more we say “Yes” to God and “No” to the devil, the stronger our new nature grows and the easier we find saying “No” the next time temptation comes along. The opposite is also true, however, which surely must be part of what Paul meant in warning us not to be deceived, for we reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7-9). Not all “reaping” occurs at the final judgment.
Copyright 2007 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby granted to reprint this gracEmail in its entirety without change, with credit given and not for financial profit. To visit our multimedia website, click here or go to http://www.EdwardFudge.com .
This e-mail from Edward reminded me of a November post from my friend Harvey Schultz