But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 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 5:16-17 ESV
Many believers have reduced the Holy Spirit to a second-class citizen in the Triune Godhead. They scarcely talk about the Holy Spirit and barely know enough about His power, ministry, persona, purpose, and how He operates. Therefore, they are not walking in the power of the Holy Spirit and struggle to live victoriously.
Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ. He is an equal partner in the Trinity. The Holy Spirit has as much power as the Father and Jesus Christ. God spoke the world into existence with the power of His Spirit. “The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Lord and Giver of Life in the Nicene creed. He is the Creator Spirit, present before the creation of the universe, and through His power, everything was made in Jesus Christ, by God the Father.” (The Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine by Colin E. Gunton (Jun 28, 1997) ISBN 0-521-47695-X, pages 280–285
“The Holy Spirit is not a mystical power; He is a person just as Jesus is a person. He is not a floating fog or some kind of ghostlike emanation. Unfortunately, the translators of the King James Version used the term Ghost instead of Spirit. For generations, people have thought that the Holy Spirit is an apparition, something like Casper the Friendly Ghost, the 1950s and 60s comic book and cartoon character! But He's not a ghost; He's a person (John MacArthur).”
What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is a Supernatural Teacher. In John 14:26, Jesus told His disciples, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” The Holy Spirit is an advocate for believers. In John 14:15-17, Jesus also told His disciples, “If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept Him because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him; He lives with you and will be in you.”
In today’s text, the writer encourages believers to walk by the Spirit, and they will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Thus, another ministry of the Holy Spirit is to sanctify believers. The Holy Spirit helps us to be free from the sins that so easily beset us. He sets us apart for God’s divine purposes. He convicts us when we sin, and He keeps us from falling deeper into rebellion against God.
The Holy Spirit seals our salvation. He makes sure we walk in forgiveness and the renewal of our minds so we can do and think of what is holy and acceptable to God. It is because the Holy Spirit seals our salvation that a believer cannot lose their salvation. Therefore, we say, “Once saved, always saved,” because of the sealing power of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is our spiritual intercessor and translator. In Romans 8:26, Paul said, In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” The Holy Spirit makes sure the Father hears our petitions and grants our requests according to His will. He knows exactly how to appeal to the Father and how the Father is going to respond. Thus, He structures our prayers accordingly so they can be heard by the Father.
The Holy Spirit enables believers to do the great commission work. He gives us the power and authority to wage spiritual warfare and rebuke demonic spirits in the name of Jesus. The Holy Spirit enables believers to serve the Lord’s Church. He empowers preachers to preach, teachers to teach, pastors to do their pastoring, and deacons to provide spiritual leaders for a congregation. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot do anything spiritually meaningful.
What does it mean to live by the Spirit? Surrendering all desires, plans, thoughts, and ideas to the Spirit so He can transform you into the image of Christ. It means resisting the sinful desires of the flesh by the power of the Holy Spirit and cultivating a desire to please God in all our ways. Living by Spirit is prioritizing the will of God in our lives and doing the great commission work of Jesus Christ.
No one can live by the Spirit of God unless they have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. When we invited Jesus into our hearts, we also give residence to the Holy Spirit within us. Thus, we become new creatures and can produce spiritual fruits to the glory of God.
Questions for Personal Reflection
What is your understanding of the Holy Spirit?
What is the ministry of the Holy Spirit?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit who enables me to do your great commission work. Please help me to walk in the power of your Spirit so I can bear spiritual fruits to your glory.