|Lesson 12||December 10 - 16|
Freedom in Christ
Memory Text: “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16, ESV).
“Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION”. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Publishers. Used by Permission.
Walking in the Spirit
Galatians 5:16 (NKJV) 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
Deuteronomy 13:4-5 (NKJV) 4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear Him, and keep His commandments and obey His voice; you shall serve Him and hold fast to Him. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has spoken in order to turn you away from the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of bondage, to entice you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall put away the evil from your midst.
Romans 13:13 (NKJV) 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
Ephesians 4:1, 17 (NKJV)
1 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called,
17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind,
Colossians 1:10 (NKJV) 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Acts 11:26 (NKJV) 26 And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.
John 14:6 (NKJV) 6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
Acts 22:4 (NKJV) 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women,
Acts 24:14 (NKJV) 14 But this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a sect, so I worship the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
Exodus 16:4 (NKJV) 4 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.
Leviticus 18:4 (NKJV) 4 You shall observe My judgments and keep My ordinances, to walk in them: I am the LORD your God.
Jeremiah 44:23 (NKJV) 23 Because you have burned incense and because you have sinned against the LORD, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD or walked in His law, in His statutes or in His testimonies, therefore this calamity has happened to you, as at this day.”
Galatians 5:16, 25 (NKJV)
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Romans 8:4 (NKJV) 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Galatians 5:18 (NKJV) 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
The Christian’s Conflict
Galatians 5:17 (NKJV) 17 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.
Romans 7:14-24 (NKJV) 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. 16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Romans 8:7 (NKJV) 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
John 3:6 (NKJV) 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Read Romans 7
The Works of the Flesh
Galatians 5:18-26 (NKJV) 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Jeremiah 7:9 (NKJV) 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know,
Hosea 4:2 (NKJV) 2 By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed upon bloodshed.
Mark 7:21-22 (NKJV) 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.
1 Timothy 3:2-3 (NKJV) 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; 3 not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,[a] but gentle, not quarrelsome, not covetous;
1 Peter 4:3 (NKJV) 3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.
Revelation 21:8 (NKJV) 8 But the cowardly, unbelieving,[a] abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Galatians 5:21 (NKJV) 21 envy, murders,[a] drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
The Fruit of the Spirit
Galatians 5:22-24 (NKJV) 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
Matthew 5:21, 22, 27, 28 (NKJV)
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Matthew 22:35-40 (NKJV) 35 Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” 37 Jesus said to him, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.
Galatians 5:6 (NKJV) 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
Galatians 5:13 (NKJV) 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
2 Corinthians 6:6 (NKJV) 6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV) 12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit,[a] in faith, in purity.
1 Timothy 6:11 (NKJV) 11 But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.
2 Timothy 2:22 (NKJV) 22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NKJV) 13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
John 13:34-35 (NKJV) 34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
The Way to Victory
Galatians 5:16-26 (NKJV) 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 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. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
Romans 8:14 (NKJV) 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
1 Corinthians 12:2 (NKJV) 2 You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led.
Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1111
(1 Corinthians 1:10-13). The Controversy Over Circumcision—Factions also were beginning to rise through the influence of Judaizing teachers, who urged that the converts to Christianity should observe the ceremonial law in the matter of circumcision. They still maintained that the original Israel were the exalted and privileged children of Abraham, and were entitled to all the promises made to him. They sincerely thought that in taking this medium ground between Jew and Christian, they would succeed in removing the odium which attached to Christianity, and would gather in large numbers of the Jews.
They vindicated their position, which was in opposition to that of Paul, by showing that the course of the apostle, in receiving the Gentiles into the church without circumcision, prevented more Jews from accepting the faith than there were accessions from the Gentiles. Thus they excusedtheir opposition to the results of the calm deliberations of God’s acknowledged servants. They refused to admit that the work of Christ embraced the whole world. They claimed that He was the Saviour of the Hebrews alone; therefore they maintained that the Gentiles should receive circumcision before being admitted to the privileges of the church of Christ.
After the decision of the council at Jerusalem concerning this question, many were still of this opinion, but did not then push their opposition any farther. The council had, on that occasion, decided that the converts from the Jewish church might observe the ordinances of the Mosaic law if they chose, while those ordinances should not be made obligatory upon converts from the Gentiles. The opposing class now took advantage of this, to urge a distinction between the observers of the ceremonial law and those who did not observe it, holding that the latter were farther from God than the former.
Paul’s indignation was stirred. His voice was raised in stern rebuke: “If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” The party maintaining that Christianity was valueless without circumcision arrayed themselves against the apostle, and he had to meet them in every church which he founded or visited: in Jerusalem, Antioch, Galatia, Corinth, Ephesus, and Rome. God urged him out to the great work of preaching Christ, and Him crucified; circumcision or uncircumcision was nothing. The Judaizing party looked upon Paul as an apostate, bent upon breaking down the partition wall which God had established between the Israelites and the world. They visited every church which he had organized, creating divisions. Holding that the end would justify the means, they circulated false charges against the apostle, and endeavored to bring him into disrepute. As Paul, in visiting the churches, followed after these zealous and unscrupulous opposers, he met many who viewed him with distrust, and some who even despised his labors.
These divisions in regard to the ceremonial law, and the relative merits of the different ministers teaching the doctrine of Christ, caused the apostle much anxiety and hard labor [1 Corinthians 1:10-13 quoted] (Sketches from the Life of Paul, 121, 122).
6 (Philippians 2:12; 1 Timothy 6:12; Titus 2:14; James 2:14-20; 1 Peter 1:22; Revelation 2:2; see EGW comment on Titus 1:9-11). Bible Religion Means Constant Work—Genuine faith always works by love. When you look to Calvary it is not to quiet your soul in the non-performance of duty, not to compose yourself to sleep, but to create faith in Jesus, faith that will work, purifying the soul from the slime of selfishness. When we lay hold of Christ by faith, our work has just begun. Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome by vigorous warfare. Every soul is required to fight the fight of faith. If one is a follower of Christ, he cannot be sharp in deal, he cannot be hardhearted, devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in his speech. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, nor can he use harsh words, and censure and condemn.
The labor of love springs from the work of faith. Bible religion means constant work. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” We are to be zealous of good works; be careful to maintain good works. And the true Witness says, “I know thy works.”
While it is true that our busy activities will not in themselves ensure salvation, it is also true that faith which unites us to Christ will stir the soul to activity (Manuscript 16, 1890).
17 (Ephesians 6:12). Stern Conflicts in the Christian Life—The life of the Christian is not all smooth. He has stern conflicts to meet. Severe temptations assail him. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” The nearer we come to the close of this earth’s history, the more delusive and ensnaring will be the attacks of the enemy. His attacks will grow fiercer and more frequent. Those who resist light and truth will become more hardened and unimpressible, and more bitter against those who love God and keep His commandments (Manuscript 33, 1911).
Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1112
22, 23 (Ephesians 5:9). The Indwelling of the Spirit—The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not see Christ and speak to Him, but His Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as in another. It works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of the Spirit reveal the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith (Manuscript 41, 1897).
1, 2 (Hebrews 12:12, 13). Working in the Spirit of Meekness—[Galatians 6:1 quoted.] The restoring is to be done, not in a proud, officious, masterly manner, but in the spirit of meekness. Do not cast your brother aside, saying. He has disappointed me, and I shall not try to help him [Galatians 6:2 quoted] (Manuscript 117a, 1901).
7. See EGW comment on Exodus 4:21; 20:16.
7, 8 (Romans 2:6; see EGW comment on Judges 16). The Harvest of Resistance—The Spirit of God keeps evil under the control of conscience. When man exalts himself above the influence of the Spirit, he reaps a harvest of iniquity. Over such a man the Spirit has less and less influence to restrain him from sowing seeds of disobedience. Warnings have less and less power over him. He gradually loses his fear of God. He sows to the flesh; he will reap corruption. The harvest of the seed that he himself has sown, is ripening. He has a contempt for God’s holy commandments. His heart of flesh becomes a heart of stone. Resistance to truth confirms him in iniquity. It is because men sowed seeds of evil, that lawlessness, crime, and violence prevailed in the antediluvian world.
All should be intelligent in regard to the agency by which the soul is destroyed. It is not because of any decree that God has sent out against man. He does not make man spiritually blind. God gives sufficient light and evidence to enable man to distinguish truth from error. But He does not force man to receive truth. He leaves him free to choose the good or to choose the evil. If man resists evidence that is sufficient to guide his judgment in the right direction, and chooses evil once, he will do this more readily the second time. The third time he will still more eagerly withdraw himself from God and choose to stand on the side of Satan. And in this course he will continue until he is confirmed in evil, and believes the lie he has cherished as truth. His resistance has produced its harvest (Manuscript 126, 1901).
(Revelation 3:21.) A Life and Death Question—[Galatians 6:7, 8 quoted.] Wonderful truth! This is a two-edged sword which cuts both ways. This life and death question is before the whole human race. The choice we make in this life will be our choice through all eternity. We shall receive either eternal life or eternal death. There is no middle ground, no second probation. We are called upon to overcome in this life as Christ overcame. Heaven has provided us with abundant opportunities and privileges, so that we may overcome as Christ overcame, and sit down with Him on His throne. But in order to be overcomers, there must be in our lives no petting of fleshly inclinations. All selfishness must be cut out by the roots (Letter 156, 1900).
14 (see EGW comment on Galatians 3:24-26; John 3:14-17; 12:32; Ephesians 2:8, 9; Revelation 12:10). The Cross the Source of Power—We behold in the cross of Christ our efficiency, our inexhaustible source of power (Letter 129, 1898).
The Guarantee of Success—Behold in the cross of Christ the only sure guarantee for individual excellence and success. And the more the heart is wrapped up in Christ, the more secure is the treasure in the eternal world (Letter 129, 1897).
(Philippians 1:21.) Paul a Living Example for Every Christian—Paul was a living example of what every true Christian should be. He lived for God’s glory. His words come sounding down the line to our time: “For to me to live is Christ.” “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” He who was once a persecutor of Christ in the person of His saints now holds up before the world the cross of Christ. Paul’s heart burned with a love for souls, and he gave all his energies for the conversion of men. There never lived a more self-denying, earnest, persevering worker. His life was Christ; he worked the works of Christ.