We have just considered Galatians 6:1-10 and noted that the various exhortations by Paul were positive and good ones. We also saw that they need to be looked at in their context, and with the understanding that they have a place in the whole book of Galatians i.e. they should be interpreted in the light of the whole book of Galatians, particularly chapters 1-5. Looking at each one individually may cause some perplexity with regard to how to apply each one in a way that is proper before God. We also noted that the applications of these exhortations are in line with Paul’s earlier teachings on walking in the Spirit versus walking in the flesh, particularly with reference to preaching the true gospel. Works and observing the law to attain salvation are in fact an expression of the flesh, whereas faith in Christ alone is an expression of seeking salvation in the Spirit. The principle of interpretation in the context is very important and looking at the verses with the background and understanding of the book as well as God’s overall salvation plan in the Scripture is also very relevant.

The previous sharing concluded that the various exhortations should be applied with the principles of walking in the Spirit and being led by the Spirit. But how do we do that and how can we do that? A parallel passage in Romans 8 is helpful for us to consider.

“For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Rom. 8:2-4 ESV).

Notice that the Triune God is intimately involved: God the Father has accomplished it by sending His Son; Christ the Son took on the likeness of sinful flesh and died on the cross in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who believe; and now believers can walk according to the Spirit and refrain from walking according to the flesh.

Those who are believers have the Spirit of God. Those who are filled with the Spirit are those who commit themselves fully to God such that God is willing to commit Himself fully to them, and to enable them to live in the Spirit and to walk by the Spirit consistently. These are those who can apply all the positive exhortations given, not only in Galatians 6 but also in all the epistles, in a manner pleasing to God.

The Spirit is the author of the Bible, Living in the Spirit would mean having the truths of the Bible and the revelation of God in our hearts and lives; these would facilitate walking by the Spirit and knowing the mind of the Spirit.

The mind set on the flesh is hostile to God and it does not submit to God’s ways. The mind set of the Spirit delights in obeying God and submitting to Him. Such a mind would not dishonour God but will seek to glorify Him in all the decisions and choices made; and it goes without question that it will not be contrary to God’s teachings in the Scripture. These are the safeguards that contribute positively to life in the Spirit and protect believers from straying to walking in the flesh.