NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the Bible Studies For Life curriculum.
Bible Passage: Galatians 5:16-25
- What tools are we given as Christians to stand firm against sinful temptations?
- What part of Galatians 5:16-18 sounds like good news to you?
- What does it mean for Christians to “keep in step” with the Holy Spirit?
Food for Thought:
Too many Americans deal with loneliness. In the eyes of some, loneliness is an epidemic. We need connections; we need others to lean on for encouragement and advice. Thankfully, even when we’re by ourselves and apart from family and friends, we are not alone.
For believers, God’s Holy Spirit lives within us. We do not face decisions alone. Even more importantly, we do not face sinful temptations alone. The Christian life can feel like a battle in which we’re constantly choosing between sinful desires and God-honoring ones. There is good news: The Holy Spirit aids us in our battle against sin.
In Romans 8, the apostle Paul contrasted two ways of living: “in the flesh” and “in the Spirit” (v. 9). In the first eight verses of this chapter, Paul described those who live in the flesh as focused on their own pleasures, needs and concerns.
Life in the Spirit is different. People who live by the Spirit have repented of their sins and embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus took the penalty of their sin; those who belong to Him are no longer under the law. Because of their relationship with Jesus Christ, they will never experience the condemnation of God.
When Paul wrote, “You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit” (v. 9), he was identifying the Roman Christians with the second way of life – life in the Spirit. He immediately followed that statement with an “if” clause: “if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you” (v. 9). The English word if sounds like it may or may not be true, but the word in the Greek carries the assurance that it is true. Those who belong to Christ have the Holy Spirit indwelling them. The Spirit comforts, guides, corrects and assures.
The counterpoint is also true: If a person is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, he or she is not a follower of Christ.
Paul contrasted living “according to the flesh” (v. 12) with the Christian work of putting “to death the deeds of the body” (v. 13). The Greek phrase rendered “put to death” suggests a continuous action. As believers, we do not simply put our sinful desires to death and never deal with them again. Instead, we work continuously to defeat sin in our lives. But this work of killing sin is not something we can do through our own willpower. We accomplish it “by the Spirit” (v. 13). As we walk with the Spirit and respond to His guidance, He leads us to address our own issues with sin and temptation.
When we live by the indwelling Spirit of God, the outcome is completely different than a life lived in the flesh. Instead of being on the road to death, we are on the road to eternal life! God has graciously given us His Holy Spirit to guide us as we make daily decisions and long-term plans. We’re not left on our own to turn away from sinful temptations in our own strength; the Holy Spirit comes to our aid. The Holy Spirit leads us to display the fruit of godly character.
Bible Studies for Life
Bible Studies for Life connects the Bible to life for adults, students and kids. Bible Studies for Life helps individuals and groups know God’s Word through trustworthy content, creates biblical community through engaging and conversational group studies, and helps people engage the culture missionally by unpacking what the Bible says about real-life issues. More information can be found on the internet at biblestudiesforlife.com.