Today’s Reading: Galatians 5:16-24
Daily Lectionary: Nehemiah 4:7-23; 1 Timothy 3:1-16
“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” (Galatians 5:17 ESV)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Once you were ruled by the flesh. Once you were a slave of sin. You gratified your wicked desires. No longer! You are now a slave of Christ. Jesus is your Lord and Master. He rescued you from sin. On the cross He paid the price for your freedom. Then, He marked you with His own name in Holy Baptism.
The Law could not rescue you from sin. The Law is good, but sin used the Law to keep you imprisoned (Gal. 3:22-23). Like gasoline added to a fire, the Law made sin abound (Rom. 5:20). The Law didn’t merely reveal sin. The Law increased sin, for its threats stirred up resentment toward God, dread of His wrath, and a covetous desire for whatever God forbids. Grace, on the other hand, extinguishes the fire. Your guilt is absolved and your heart begins to love the God that first loved us.
Does this mean that I can sin however much I want? Of course not! If we intentionally sin, we are returning to our former master. We are intentionally gratifying the desires of the flesh, as if we were slaves of sin yet again. We were liberated from sin, so that we might be led by the Spirit. To follow the Spirit is to walk away from sin, for the two are against each other. Remember these words of our Lord: “No one can serve two masters,” (Matt. 6:24 ESV).
This is the life of repentance: to turn your back on sin and to walk with the Spirit; to renounce the works of the flesh and to put your faith in Jesus—and such faith will produce the fruit of the Spirit. When we repent of our sins and give them to Jesus, they cannot harm us. When we cling to our sins, Jesus cannot help us. Therefore, repent of your sins and give them to Jesus. Crucify the flesh (Gal. 5:24), so that you might walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of light now in the time of this mortal life in which Your Son, Jesus Christ, came to visit us in great humility, that in the Last Day, when He shall come again in glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to life immortal; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen. (Prayer for Newness of Life in Christ, LSB page 311)
-Pastor Alexander Lange is pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Albany, Oregon.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.