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    April 26, 1899

    “Studies in Galatians. The Flesh, the Spirit, and the Law. Galatians 5:16-26” The Signs of the Times, 25, 17.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We have seen that love is the fulfilling not the abolishing of the law. All the law is fulfilled in the Word, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” “Love is the fulfilling of the law.” “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.” To say that love is a substitute for the keeping of the law, is to say that love is a substitute for itself. Men may say that they do not see very much love in the commandments, and that they do not seem to them to be the fulfilling of all love; but that tells nothing against the words of the Scriptures. It simply shows that they do not know the law of God, and that they are speaking evil of that which they know not. Let them but become acquainted with the Lord, and they would find that “His commandments are not grievous,” but are the fullness of His own life of love.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.1

    The law is love; “but if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.” That is to say, If ye do not observe the law of love, then destruction will be your lot. They who despise the riches of God’s goodness and forbearance and love, which are all embodied in His law, whether they see it or not, are heaping up to themselves wrath against the day of wrath and perdition of ungodly men. They who reject God’s law are simply working for their own destruction; and they who teach others to despise the law, are not only contributing to the destruction of those others, but are inviting those others to destroy them. When respect and love for God’s law are weakened, then are the flood-gates of violence and crime opened. But there is a brighter side, with grander possibilities, and it is presented in theSITI April 26, 1899, page 276.2

    Lesson for the Week

    “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. [“They that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof.” R.V.] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:16-26.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.3

    The Flesh Opposed to the Spirit

    The flesh and the Spirit are in direct opposition. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other.” There is no agreement whatever between the flesh and the Spirit. The Spirit strives with men in the flesh, seeking to control the individual to the glory of God; but so long as the Spirit is not fully yielded to, there is no peace, but continual war and unrest. He who is not controlled by the Spirit of God, is controlled by the sins of human nature, and is therefore a slave: “Every one that committeth sin is the bond-servant of sin.” John 8:34 R.V. On the contrary, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.4

    The Flesh Opposed to the Law

    It is clear that there is no agreement between the flesh and the Spirit. What about the flesh and the law? Remembering that “carnal” means fleshly, read Romans 8:7: “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” So then the flesh and the law of God are in as direct opposition as are the flesh and the Spirit. Let us now read a little further, to see that this is not a three-cornered fight, but that the flesh is opposed to both the law and the Spirit, because both the law and the Spirit are one.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.5

    The Law and the Spirit in Unison

    The story is really all told in Romans 8:1-8, which we will read:—SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.6

    “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.7

    Note especially the items in the foregoing: (1) The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in those who walk after the Spirit. (2) The flesh and the Spirit are in direct and deadly opposition, as already noted. (3) To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Why?—Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God. (4) Thus we see that the opposition of the flesh to the Spirit is simply its opposition to the law of God. This follows as the natural consequence of the fact stated in Romans 7:14: “The law is spiritual.”SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.8

    Those Led by the Spirit Keep the Law

    Having seen that those who follow the Spirit fulfill the righteousness of the law, read verse 11 in our lesson. “But if ye be led of the Spirit ye are not under the law.” That is to say, Those who fulfill the law, are not under the law. What a pity that there are so many who profess to be teachers of the Word, and who, more than all, make a special point of the baptism of the Spirit, who have so little spiritual discernment, and so little acquaintance with the Spirit of God, that they can use the words, “Ye are not under the law,” as meaning that the law of God is not to be observed! The only reason why any are not under the law, is that they are keeping it through the Spirit. To reject the law of God is to reject the Spirit, for “the law is spiritual.” Those who walk after the Spirit fulfill the law, and only such are not under the law.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.9

    Justified through the Spirit

    It is not clear that there is in this not the slightest ground for any one’s thinking that men are justified by the works of the law, but the very opposite? It is the work of the Spirit of God that brings justification. But the works of the Spirit are perfect righteousness, even the righteousness of the law. The Spirit is the living, personal representative of Christ. It is by the Spirit that Christ dwells in the heart. This makes a complete new life. The old life passes away, as the old man is crucified with Christ, so that the life that is now lived in the flesh is the life of Christ. The law has nothing against Him, since He has always done the will of the Father. There is therefore no condemnation to such an one. He is justified. Why?—Because no unrighteousness-no transgression of the law-is found in Him. Then he continues to walk in the law, not by his own power, but through the power of the Spirit. The justification is therefore all of God, and to Him alone is the glory. No man can boast, but he that glorifieth must glory in the Lord. Justification is not by the works of the law; but the very work “justification,” which means made righteous, is an assurance that the law is not ignored, but that the perfection of it is so put into and upon the believer that no fault can be found in him.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.10

    The Works of the Flesh

    Verses 19-21 contain a partial list of the works of the flesh. The list given is only a sample of them, closing with the words, “and such like.” Note that they are the works of the flesh, that is, they are such things as are natural to mankind.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.11

    Compare this list with that given by the Lord, in Mark 7:21-23, as things that come from within, from the heart of man.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.12

    Compare both these with the list given in Romans 1:28-32, as the things done by the heathen, who did not like to retain God in their knowledge. They are the things that are done by all who do not know the Lord.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.13

    Then compare these lists of sins with the list given by the apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, of things that will be done in the last days by those who even have a form of godliness.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.14

    How can it be possible that men professing to be Christians can be party to such horrible deeds?—The answer is easy, because they reject the law of the Lord. Worst of all is the fact that they are guilty of all these things even while seeking the very highest profession of godliness, in that they profess to be led by the Spirit. But since they have so little knowledge of the Spirit that they imagine that the reception of the Spirit gives them liberty to cast off the law of God and trample it underfoot. They give themselves up to all sorts of sins. It cannot be otherwise. They use their liberty as an occasion to the flesh, and while making liberty, and promising other people liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption. 2 Peter 2:19. O, the pity and the awfulness of it!SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.15

    They Can Not Be Hid

    The works of the flesh are manifest. They can not be hid. That which is in the heart must show itself in the life, no matter how much one may endeavor to conceal it. “An evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil.” Luke 6:45. All the evil things that are named in Galatians 5:19-21 are in every human heart by nature. No man is responsible for their being in his heart, for he is born with them. They form our inheritance from our ancestors, from Adam down. But we are responsible if they are allowed to remain in the heart; for the Spirit of God will utterly remove them if allowed free access.SITI April 26, 1899, page 276.16

    But the righteousness of the Spirit is the righteousness of the law, and therefore whoever depreciates and rejects the law of God, or any part of it, thereby rejects the Spirit, no matter what his profession may be. So, altho he may for a time succeed in concealing the existence of the wickedness of his heart, not only from the world, but even from himself, it is sure sooner or later to manifest itself. Then when the law of God shall have been so preached in the demonstration of the Spirit that all have heard its claims, and the multitude have rejected it, will the Spirit leave them to their own desires, and then will be experienced the “perilous times” spoken of by the apostle, for all the earth will be filled with violence, even as it was in the days that were before the flood.SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.1

    “And Such Like”

    Read again that list of the works of the flesh. They are these: “Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings.” “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” One would naturally think not, for it is a bad list. Yet in reading them, one is apt to overlook some of the things named, and to dwell only on what seem to be the worst ones, as adultery, murder, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft.SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.2

    Those are quite universally regarded as out-breaking sins. But notice the words, “and such like.” That means that there are others in the same class, and moreover it means that all the things that are here named are identical in character. The Scripture tells us that hatred is murder. “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer.” 1 John 3:15. Moreover, anger is also murder, as shown by the Saviour in Matthew 5:21, 22. Envy, which is so common, also contains murder in it.SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.3

    But who regards emulation as so sinful? Isn’t emulation encouraged everywhere? Are not children from their infancy taught to strive to surpass somebody else? Is not emulation fostered, not only by schools of all kinds, but also in the home, and in the church? So far from being regarded as sinful in the extreme, it is cultivated. And yet the Word of God assures us that it is of the same kind as adultery, fornication, murder, and drunkenness, and that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Is it not a fearful thing?SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.4

    The love of self, the desire for the supremacy, is the source of all the other sins that are mentioned. Out of that have grown innumerable murders. And to think that many mothers are unconsciously training up their children to just such things, even while striving to bring them up properly, by saying: “Now see if you can not behave better than so an so;” “See if you can not learn to read or to play better than such an one;” “See if you can not keep your clothes looking as nice as that one.” All such expressions, which are every-day words in thousands of households, are teaching emulation, and setting a false standard. The child is not taught to distinguish between the right and the wrong, and to love the right, but is simply trained to appear better than somebody else. That leads to deception, for all that is thought necessary is to present a better appearance than others, while the heart is corrupt. Those others may not be of very high character, and so the emulator is satisfied, even in this faulty exertion, with simply appearing better than some one who is himself very bad. Ah, the abominable works of the flesh are lurking where many least suspect them! The only remedy is the Spirit of God.SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.5

    The Fruit of the Spirit

    When the Spirit is given control, the works of the flesh will no longer be manifested, because the Spirit drives them out of the heart. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” There is no room for emulation there. “Against such there is no law.” Why not?—Simply because these things are the result of obedience to the law through the Spirit. It is impossible for the natural man to possess these good things. It is impossible for us of ourselves to love those who despise us, or to suffer long and be kind. It is not possible for us to rejoice when we are ill-treated, or even to rejoice when somebody else, moved by the spirit of emulation, surpasses us, and takes from us a prize which we coveted. But it is possible for the Spirit of God. What a blessed condition the one is in who possesses the fruit of the Spirit!SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.6

    No Popery

    “Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.” That is to say, Let us have done with emulations and strife. Emulation and strife are the natural outgrowth of self-righteousness, the exaltation of self above God’s law. This is the very essence of popery. If there were no emulation, no strife, there would be no pope. The Papacy,—the existence in the world of such a thing as a pope,—is the result of the strife for the supremacy among the early bishops. At first all bishops, or elders, or presbyters, or pastors, for all mean the same thing, were equal. “All ye are brethren,” said Christ, and for a little while they lived as brethren. But soon there was a strife as to who should be the greatest and the streets of more than one city, Rome especially, ran with blood which was shed in these contest. The final result was the recognition of the bishops of Rome as supreme.SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.7

    “But how can it be that so many acknowledge the pope’s supremacy, if the popish spirit is inherent in human nature?” Thus when the popish principle is admitted, some one must be chief, or else there will be a war of extermination. So the others unite in homage to the fortunate one, in hope that their turn may come next, or in the knowledge that they will at least be popes of lesser rank, exercising lordship over those who are beneath them.SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.8

    Wherever there is emulation, there is the Papacy; and wherever the Papacy is, there is every evil work. The Spirit of God casts out the Papacy from the individual human heart, by producing meekness, faith, goodness. He who knows that from self only evil can come, and that all good things come only from the Spirit, is made humble by that very knowledge. Knowing that he is nothing, he gives place to the Spirit, and the fruits of the Spirit grow in him. Such an one is truly happy, because he is, through the Spirit, “perfect and entire, lacking nothing.” E. J. WAGGONER.SITI April 26, 1899, page 277.9

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