And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:24-26)
The Gospel is the message of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the Gospel that has the power to transform lives. No wonder Paul said, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes…” (Rom.1:16). The church has been given the responsibility to proclaim and practice the Gospel. If we don’t demonstrate changed lives that mirror our message, no one is going to listen. Spurgeon said, “The world demands facts and these we must supply. It is of no use to cry up our medicine by words; we must point to cures. Your life will be the greatest argument for the Gospel.” This is the Gospel according to you.
Paul points out that there is A DEATH TO EXECUTE (v.24). This is not for an exceptional class of believers, but should be normal experience for all who are Christ’s. If a man claiming conversion is still dominated by the flesh, he should reevaluate his standing with God. At salvation we were brought into vital union with Christ—totally identified with Him. Therefore, His crucifixion is our crucifixion. Jesus not only took our sins to Calvary—those deeds of evil we do—but was made sin for us. He dealt with our old nature, the factory that manufactures evil. It had to be, because we are lost not merely because of what we do, but chiefly because of what we are. We are to die to the drives and desires of the flesh. The flesh perverts the God-given drives and desires within us.
Secondly, the Apostle tells us there is A DYNAMIC TO EXPERIENCE (v.25). Just as we are identified with Christ in His death, so we are in His resurrection. He was made alive in the Spirit. The Spirit gives us life also. The same dynamic power that raised Christ from the tomb is now available to us for daily living. To walk in the Spirit is to be Spirit-directed, Spirit-controlled, and Spirit-empowered. Instead of following the impulses of the flesh, we are to follow the inspiration of the Spirit. Our first step is to publicly confess our union with Christ in His death and resurrection. In baptism, we make this testimony. We say that we have died to the old life and are risen to walk in newness of life.
Thirdly, there is A DEMONSTRATION TO EVIDENCE (v.26). How can we know that our life has been transformed by the Gospel, that we are dead to sin, and walking in the Spirit? There is evidence. We do not become conceited. The Christian does not seek glory for himself, but to give glory to God. Another evidence is that we don’t provoke each other. Instead we seek to be peacemakers. Another evidence is that we don’t envy each other. The one living the Christ life nails envy to the cross. I deny the message of the Gospel when I build up my ego by tearing down others, when I provoke someone into debate and conflict, or when I envy others. Humility, peacemaking, and edification reflect Christ, while conceit, provocation, and envy reveal Satan. Who are we showing to the world?
You are the only Bible some will ever read. What is the Gospel according to you?