Galatians 5, verses 24 & 25: “And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
The book of Galatians is a very powerful expository teaching from the apostle Paul. The Galatian Church was dangerously close to defecting from their faith in Christ, but not in the manner you would think. The Christianity the Galatian Church was being pulled into had many of the trappings of their faith in Jesus Christ, but also included components of a different message–a different gospel. The Judaizers had woven their way into the Galatian Church and were teaching a “new gospel”–a gospel that concentrated on reinstituting Jewish Law.
Throughout Galatians, Paul teaches that there must be complete and total devotion to Christ and Christ alone. The Galatian people were bringing in a worship of Jewish Law, making it an idol. In so doing, they removed the focus from a daily life of commitment and were glorying in works of righteousness and their dedication to Jewish rudiments of worship. They lost focus on daily commitment to Christ and had abandoned the bridle upon their flesh.
Paul brings us back in chapters 5 and 6 that all of our glory should be in the cross of Christ. All our devotion has to be in and through the cross of Christ. Verse 24 makes it very clear that if we belong to Christ we have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we belong to Jesus our flesh has been crucified with Christ on the cross and now we live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.
Recently I was praying with someone in the altar of a church I was ministering in. This person had come, wanting to rededicate their life to Jesus. They were very emphatic that they needed to “sell out” to the Lord, but there was one thing that they would not give to Him. This person went on a discourse with Biblical facts about God’s salvation and grace, even mentioning the intricacies of Old Testament Law. They were trying to justify holding onto a “vice” they knew would hinder them in their walk with Jesus. They were asking me to pray with them and to put my “seal of approval” on this half-hearted commitment.
We must crucifiy all affections and lusts of our flesh to Christ’s cross. There is no alternative.