Walk In The Spirit…
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are contrary the one to the other; that ye may not do the things that ye would. But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law. –Galatians 5:16-18
The Accuser of the brethren will cast doubts on our crucified position in Christ, and try to tell us that our “old man” is still very much alive in us. That is a falsehood. But many accept it, and drag their feet through life on the false assumption that they have a divided self, a divided heart, a divided nature. Their conception of Christian living is a continuous struggle, a losing battle between their old nature and their new: “the flesh lusteth against the spirit, the spirit against the flesh; these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” But that does not mean two co-equal natures battling in the believer one against the other. We have only one nature at a time; we cannot have more, for our nature is our very selves. We were by nature the children of wrath, we are partakers of the divine nature. That is the death and resurrection in Christ. No half measure about that! The old nature is the old man which has been crucified with Christ. The new nature is the new man, which is we risen with Christ and Christ living in us. This verse of Gal. 5:17 on flesh and (the human redeemed) spirit is a concentration in a few words of the teaching of Rom. 7.
We live and walk in the Spirit, led by the Spirit (Gal. 5:25, 16, 18). We are not then walking in the flesh (independent self), which we have crucified (5:24). Because we are not walking in the flesh, the law has no claim on us, for it only presents its demands to independent self (5:18). Because the law has no hold on us, the lusts of the flesh (the motions of sin in the flesh) are not stimulated by its challenge to impose their demands on us (flesh lusting against spirit), and to dominate our helpless self (ye cannot do the things that ye would). While we abide in Christ, we are dead in Him to law, and therefore dead to sin which is by the law.
But if we do not walk in the Spirit, then we return again under law, into the flesh and self-effort, and therefore under the dominion of sin in the flesh. That is not a question of an old and new nature, which was settled at the new birth. This “flesh and spirit” matter is a question of the daily walk, and the possibility of slipping back any time for a visit to the flesh and thus to sin, law and condemnation.