Those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh; but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. The mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind of the flesh is hostile to God: It does not submit to God’s Law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the flesh cannot please God.
What does it mean to live according to the flesh (the mind of the flesh) and what does it mean to live according to the Spirit (the mind of the Spirit)?
Paul clearly shared the good news of grace (gospel) with the Galatian people.
When they heard the good news, they embraced it.
This good news was righteousness (eternally clean, pure, innocent of sin, right with and accepted by God) came by grace (Jesus completely taking our unrighteousness at the cross) through faith (freely receiving the righteousness of Jesus).
Yet false teachers infiltrated the grace churches in Galatia, corrupting the good news of grace by convincing the people that righteousness was not of grace, nor was it received by faith in Jesus, but rather it was earned by following the days, diets, duties, and demands of the law of Moses (morality and religious activity).
Paul established churches in Galatia based upon grace - everything God has done to make us righteous through Jesus, leaving us nothing to do but to place our faith in Jesus alone for righteousness.
The Galatian people, after hearing the good news from Paul that righteousness (innocent of sin) comes by faith in Jesus and not by the law, quickly deserted the good news of grace and turned to a completely different gospel, or message about how a person becomes righteous.
The false gospel they were turning to was a gospel of works based upon obedience to the law of Moses (a moral and religious system).
In Romans 7:7-25, we are introduced to a person who wanted to please God by how he lived, by what he thought, and by what he desired, yet he was frustrated because of his continued failure to live a life pleasing toGod no matter how hard he tried (Romans 7:14-20).
The standard for this person’s behavior was the Ten Commandments, the law (Romans 7:7).
This man delighted in the Ten Commandments (Romans 7:22).
He knew the law was holy, righteous, and good (Romans 7:12).
He understood from Psalm 1 and Psalm 119 that to live according to the Ten Commandments would bring, life, freedom, and peace.
2 Corinthians 5:17 says,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
This verse teaches us that if anyone is “in Christ”, he is a new creation, and the old is gone and the new has come.
Let’s break this verse down in its context by answering some questions.
What does it mean to be “in Christ”?
What is the new creation?
What is the old that has gone?
What is the new that is here?
The context of this verse begins in 2 Corinthians 3.
The writer of 2 Corinthians is Paul.
“Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it is a safeguard for you. Watch out for those dogs, those workers of evil, those mutilators of the flesh! For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.”
So often when people comment on the meaning of a verse, or apply a verse to their lives, they do so without first determining the author’s original meaning of the verse.
Those who live completely by grace through faith in Jesus alone and not by the law (Ten Commandments, rules, rituals, requirements, spiritual disciplines) and those who teach we live by grace through faith in Jesus and not by the law are many times accused by church leaders of not caring about or upholding the law.
Many of these church leaders believe we are saved by grace through faith, but also believe we live by the law (Ten Commandments) as a guide for moral living.
Many Pastors do a series on the Ten Commandments to teach people to live moral lives.
The law is the righteous requirements given to the nation of Israel to keep them seperate from the Gentile nations for the purpose of being a light of God's love to the Gentile nations. The law was the standard of righteousness.
This would include the Ten Commandments and the two great commandments to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love others as you love yourself. It would also include everything else in Exodus 19-Deuteronomy.
The Gentiles were never under the law.
The Old Testament (Covenant) is understood by most to be a collection of books (Genesis - Malachi), and the New Testament is understood to be a collection of books (Matthew - Revelation).
However, this is an incorrect understanding.
The Old and New Testaments (Covenant) are not a collection of books but each testament reveals how God relates to people at different times in history.
The OT communicates how God related to Israel under the Law of Moses (Book of the Law, Book of Moses, or Written Code - Exodus 19-Leviticus, Deuteronomy) and the New Covenant is how God relates to everyone who receives his grace through faith in Jesus.
Joseph was verbally and physically attacked by his brothers.
They treated him without value, selling him as a slave to slave traders.
The slave traders sold him to Potiphar, the captain of the Egyptian Palace Guard.
Potiphar’s wife took notice of Joseph, desiring a sexual encounter with him.
But Joseph refused.
Why did Joseph refuse to have a sexual encounter with Potiphar’s wife?
The reason for Joseph’s refusal is summed up in these words:
“How could I do this sinful evil against God?