People want to please God and try as they might to obey the law but their human nature is too weak to oppose the power of sin. God’s law shows how He wants people to live but sin seems to be another law in opposition of God’s law. People struggle to do the right thing but at times their efforts seem hopeless. God’s grace frees people from the power of sin. Through God’s forgiveness He makes them righteous. God does this for those who are in Christ Jesus and they are no longer guilty. The Christian has become God’s special holy people. (Ephesians 2:1-9)
Sin is uncontrollable in the life of people and it brings upon them terrible troubles. People who obey the powerful sinful desires in their life face the results of death. (Romans 6:23) God has made another law, not the written law but a law that tells people how to live to please God.
Jeremiah wrote about this law. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) This new law is not like the written law but would be written in the hearts and minds of the people. The new law would show the people how to know and love God. The new law would give the people a right relationship with God and He would forgive them of their sin.
This new relationship with God was possible because of the death of His Son Jesus. After the death and ascension of Jesus God sent the Holy Spirit to live within the Christian. (John 14:16-17) It is the Holy Spirit that gives life. (Genesis 2:7) It is the Holy Spirit that gives life to Christians. (Galatians 5:16) It is the Holy Spirit that raises dead bodies to life. (Verse 11)
The written law showed people the nature of sin but it could not free them from sin because people cannot become righteous by their own efforts. God’s grace is more powerful than sin and God had a plan to rescue people from the bonds of sin. God sent His Son in the flesh to live as a man. Jesus had a human nature that could be tested, hungry and thirsty. Though Jesus was fully man He did not have the tainted blood of a man, as He was born of a virgin. Yet Jesus was tempted as man in every way but remained completely obedient to the Heavenly Father. When Jesus died on the cross He offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sin debt of the world. Because of this incomprehensible act of self-less love no man need bear the wage of sin. All men can receive this free gift of salvation from the penalty of sin and be forgiven by God. Once we have accepted this free gift through Jesus Christ God view us as righteous. But first we must accept the work of Jesus on the cross and trust Him by our faith. (John 3:16)
We cannot become righteous by our own efforts, we cannot obey God’s written law by our own efforts, but God in His mercy and love has changed our situation. By His Holy Spirit the Christian can be guided through life here and be given the power to live a holy life. The Christian lives by the Sprit and does not do the sinful things wrought in the natural sinful human nature. (Galatians 5:16)
In these verses Paul describes two different kinds of life.
- A normal life without the power of the Holy Spirit. Someone who lives such a life cannot please God. Instead, that person lives by their own thoughts and desires. And such a life will be sinful, because sin controls that person’s mind. Death is the result of such a life.
- A life that the Holy Spirit controls. This is the kind of life that a real Christian should have. God’s Spirit guides that person’s thoughts and desires. So that person pleases God. And the results of that person’s life are good.
Paul uses three different names for the Holy Spirit. They are Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God. But these are not three different Spirits as the Holy Spirit comes from God the Father and from God the Son. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God and His Spirit works in the life of the Christian.
In verses 5 we see the contrast of the two opposite conditions. Man living within his human nature causes sinful behaviour but the life on one in the power of the Holy Spirit pleases God. We can see this difference clearly in Galatians 5:19-21. “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:19-23) In Galatians we see the contrast between the life living in the human nature and the live living in the power of the Holy Spirit. Everything that is in the human nature is sinful. (Galatians 5:19-21) In the human nature people live for self-desiring power, lustful entertainment and great possessions. Because of their desire they will do evil things to obtain them. In Galatians 5:22-23 there is a very different list. This list shows the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in the believer’s life. All that is in this list is good and helpful to other people. That is because the Holy Spirit works to gain good things for other people through the believer’s life.
The result of this work is different also. The result of sinful living is death and life in peace will come from the power of the Holy Spirit. The Christian who walks in the power of the Spirit will have eternal life and peace with God. The follower of Christ will also have peace with other people and be at peace with himself. By the obedience of the believer in God’s Word he is no longer an enemy of God. The Holy Spirit guides the believers mind and self is no longer on the throne but Jesus Christ which is His only rightful place in the believer’s life.
A follower of Jesus can begin to live life in this manner as soon as he has invited God into his life. As soon as one accepts the truth of Jesus Christ God’s free gift is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives power to the Christian to live life in a manner that is pleasing to God.
This, of course, does not mean that a Christian now lives a perfect life. The Christian life is a renewal process and the Devil will continue to test our thoughts. Such thoughts and desires can lead to sinful acts which are not pleasing to God. As the Christian grows in spiritual maturity he learns to depend upon the Holy Spirit to lead him out of the temptation. (1 Corinthians 10:13) The new believer begins his Christian walk in trust in God. The believer must learn to continue that walk in the same manner, trusting and obeying God.
Christians no longer need to worry over their human nature. Through the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives the human nature is no longer living in control. Self is off the throne of the Christian’s life and Jesus in now sitting on the throne of the Christian’s life.
In the end of time the body of a man will die but this is not a fearful thing for the Christian. The spirit remains alive. (2 Corinthians 5:8) God raised Jesus from the grave and those who share Christ’s life through the Holy Spirit will also be resurrected. The Christian will receive a resurrected body that will never die. Paul explains this in 1 Corinthians Chapter 15.
Christians must strive to end all sinful behavior that belonged to their past. Sin in the life of men has one remaining domain, our flesh. Paul addressed this condition in Galatians 5:24 “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” Paul is trying to deal with some false teaching of his time and ours. One false teaching is that at the moment of crisis when we call upon the Lord Jesus we are made perfect at that instant. The second is that we must “let God” take over while we remain idle. The third is that at some turning point decision will be made and propel us into a higher level of holiness. Paul teaches that the Holy Spirit provides us with the energy and power to continually and gradually be destroying the sin in our lives. This is a process that is never completed in our lives. The Holy Spirit uses to accomplish this task is our faithful obedience to the simple commands found in the Scripture. Our flesh has been crucified with Christ on the cross and we should act as our sinful nature has died on the cross. As the Christian strives to live in obedience to the teaching of God the Holy Spirit gives them new life.
Being led by the Spirit is often through the orchestration of circumstances, (Acts 16:7) but primarily through: 1) Illumination, divinely clarifying Scripture to make it understandable to our sinful, finite minds; and 2) sanctification, divinely enabling us to obey Scripture. (Galatians 5:16-17;25)
Paul speaks of the Christian as someone who has been adopted. When a child is adopted into a family he receives all the privileges of the family. By the leading of the Spirit the Christian gains the assurance that God has adopted him into His family. The old life controlled by the sinful nature has passed away and a new live has begun. The Christian is now adopted into the family of God. The Holy Spirit is the witness within us that we have become God’s children. We now can address God as Abba which means father. Jesus addresses God this way when He was in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Mark 14:36) it showed the closeness of the relationship between Jesus and the Father. Jesus instructed the disciples to use this word when they prayed. (Luke 11:2) Jesus wanted the disciples to think of God as their heavenly father.
Christians have the promise of a future inheritance because now they have God as their heavenly Father. The Christian will share in the glory of God’s own Son Jesus. The Christian will inherit eternal salvation, (Titus 3:7) God Himself, (Revelation 21:3) glory, (Romans 5:2) and all that is in the universe. (Hebrews 1:2) As Christ suffered before He received His glory so the Christian must also expect to suffer too. Suffering for the cause of Christ is the proof of the believer’s ultimate glory when he suffers mockery, ridicule, or physical persecution.
Paul had plenty of suffering in his life as he faced opposition and punishment. Many hated Paul as he carried God’s message. Paul rested in the fact that his sufferings here would last only a short time in comparison to the eternal home he was heading to. The glory of Heaven would last forever and the present pain is very slight when compared to the splendid life to be had in heaven.
Man was not only cursed in the Garden of Eden for sin but also all of creation. Mankind chose to sin against God but creation had no choice. Plants and animals now would also suffer death because sin had entered into the world. However, God has promised that He will free the world from the curse of sin. At that time the world and God’s children will share in this new freedom.
The Jews were expecting the Messiah to bring in a new age where He would rule. The prophets of Old had spoken of this time. A time when there would be peace between the nations, no longer would people make tools for war but for peaceful uses. (Micah 4:3-4) In this new age the land would produce plentiful fruit. (Joel 3:18 Amos 9:13) Even the animals would be at peace with one another. (Isaiah 11:6-9) The new age that the Jews are expecting will happen when Jesus returns as the King. When the King returns everyone will see His glory. The Christians will share in His glory as they are the children that God has adopted and the world will have peace at last.
As the creation as well as the believers both groan for restoration so too does he Spirit. We do not know how to pray for the best interest of others or for ourselves. The Holy Spirit helps us to pray. Jesus had promised the Holy Spirit would come and be our advocate, a power that would speak in support of others and ourselves. (John 14:16) The groaning’s to deep for word are divine articulations within the Trinity that cannot be expressed in words, but carry profound appeals for every believer. The Holy Spirit’s work in our prayers parallels the High Priestly work of intercession by our Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit will speak on our behalf as He knows the pain in the world and the pain that we have. The Holy Spirit also knows what God wants and therefore prays for us. God knows our thoughts and God knows the Spirit and will answer the prayers of the Spirit on behalf of us.
As Christians we have all had trials and tribulations in our life. We have suffered pain, disappointment, faced opposition, and persecution. Even though our troubles have been great God has been working in our lives towards our benefit. He has been helping us and looks after us when no one else can or cares. He is our heavenly Father who loves us. In His providence God orchestrates every event in our lives. Even the suffering, temptation and sin He uses that to accomplish both our temporal and eternal needs. (Deuteronomy 8:15-16)
Neither do we need to fear the future as God promises to look after the people who love Him. We rejoice in the good times and we should rejoice in the bad times as well. (1 Peter 1:6) For our trust is in the Lord and He has a plan for our lives. He is looking after us through our present trials and He will bring us into the new age when we shall be free of all these present troubles.
Paul speaks about the people who God foreknew. God is His foreknowledge knew that they would respond to His call. In the Old Testament God chose the Israelite people to be His chosen people, His nation of Holy Priest. (Amos 3:2) God watched over them in the wilderness. (Hosea 13:5) To them God gave many benefits, (Romans 9:4-5) and He still cares for them today. (Romans 11:1)
God also has a plan to benefit people from every nation and tribe because of His love and He has made a plan for them before the world began. God decided to save the lost sheep and He would help them to be holy. God would do this by sending His Son Jesus into the world to sacrifice Himself for our sin debt. (2 Timothy 1:9 1 Peter 1:20) Jesus Christ shows us the glory of God the Father, (2 Corinthians 4:4) He was before the beginning of creation, (Colossians 1:15) and by His resurrection Christ is the beginning of a new creation. This is God’s plan from the beginning to save all those who would put their trust in His Son Jesus Christ. They would be adopted by God as His children, they would become a brother or sister to His Son Jesus. Jesus would make them righteous and He would share His glory and this is how they would become like Christ. (1 John 3:2)
From the beginning it has been God’s purpose to call people unto Himself in order to fellowship with them. For those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ He has made them righteous through Jesus Christ. The glory for the Christian is in the future when they shall be with Jesus and be like Jesus. Paul uses the past tense as if the Christian has already received that glory from God. This was predestined by God before the beginning and Paul is certain that it will come to be. God will fulfill all His promises and when Christ appears the Christian will appear with Him in glory. (Colossians 3:4)
God so loves us that He did not spare His Son Jesus from the cross. Jesus’ death on the cross is the greatest gift that man could ever receive. Through Jesus Christ are sin debt can be paid and our relationship with God restored. To Paul’s point, if God would not spare His Son from the cross for us, then He will also give us everything we need.
In the court of God’s law the Christian has already been judged not guilty because of the redeeming blood of God’s Son Jesus. Nobody can accuse Christians when God is on their side.
Also in the court of God’s law the Christian has someone to speak on their behalf. Christ died on the cross and arose from the grave. He ascended to heaven and not sits at the right hand of the Father, God. Christ sits at the place of the highest honor and has all authority in heaven and on earth. “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18) Jesus is our High Priest and speaks for His people. The Christian has the Holy Spirit to speak for them on earth, (Romans 8:36) and they have Jesus to speak for them in heaven. “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1 John 2:1)
The Christian loves Jesus but it is not the Christian’s love for Him John 13:1 but His love for us as demonstrated in His work for the Christian’s salvation. (1 John 4:9-10) The love that Jesus Christ has for the Christian cannot be separated from him. Paul list seven possible troubles that can come into the Christians life which can try to separate the Christian for Christ’s love. Paul does not believe that is possible as he had experienced many of these troubles himself. (2 Corinthians 11:23-27) Even if the Christian dies for his faith in Jesus Christ this will not separate him from the love of Christ.
Paul uses Psalm 44 to remind us that in the past people suffered for their faith in God. The words in Psalm 44 describe how the Israelites were suffering for their faith. The Israelites appealed to God to help them in these times of trouble. We too, in these days will suffer for the sake of our faith in God and His Son Jesus. But we have our victory through Christ as nothing can separate us of from the love of Christ.
While we are yet suffering we are not without the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. Our hope in Jesus Christ will never disappoint us. God is on our side and no one can successfully oppose us. (Verse 31) We shall gain the great victory in the power of God who loves us.
Paul determines everything that might try to separate us from God. But there is nothing. While we are alive in the flesh Christ is with us and when we die we will be all the nearer to Him in heaven. Therefore, neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God. Paul also looks to the spirit world and not even fallen angels or powerful rulers in heavenly places can come between us and God. (Ephesians 6:12)
Paul then goes beyond the imagination and speaks of the future and the new world that God will create. He includes the vast measurements of the universe but their height and depth which seem to have no end. It is possible that Paul was thinking of the spiritual forces that rule between heaven and hell. It is difficult for us to think of such things but Paul is confident that God’s love is more powerful than that which is unknown to us.
Jesus Christ is our Lord because we want to obey Him and place our trust in Him for the wellbeing of our lives throughout eternity. Jesus is God’s Son and He is fully God. Jesus loves us as much as God the Father loves us.