This portion deals with the difference between the “works of the flesh” and the “fruit of the Spirit.” It begins by instructing us in verse 16, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” To walk in the Spirit is to live our lives under the influence of the Holy Spirit. By living this way, we will have the ability to resist walking in the “lust of the flesh.” Verse 17 shows us that there is a constant struggle going on inside every believer. Our flesh wants to lead our lives for us, causing us to live according to the evil desires of the flesh. The Spirit works against the flesh to prevent us from doing those things that dishonor the Lord. Verse 18 shows us that when we do walk in the Spirit, we are not under the law. Those who are led of the Spirit are the children of God as we read in Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” As such, we have been set free from the law. 2 Corinthians 3:17 shows us, “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” We are not bound by the law of sin and death. No, we are free!

The works of the flesh are what the flesh naturally produces. Galatians 5:19-21 says, “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.” From this list, we can readily see that the flesh does not, and cannot, produce anything good. The Apostle Paul said of himself in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” May we be aware that even as Christians, our flesh is still sinful. It was as a believer and apostle that Paul realized that there was no good thing in his flesh. Someone who constantly lives according to the lusts of the flesh manifests that he is not a believer. He has no power to live according to the Word of God. As such he “shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

In contrast to the “works of the flesh”, we have the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” A fruit is that which is naturally produced by the tree or vine which bears it. When we walk according to the leading of the Holy Spirit, this fruit will be manifested in our lives. Notice that the word is “fruit”, not “fruits.” It is one fruit consisting of nine parts. One who is led of the Spirit will not evidence love, joy, and peace, yet have no sign of longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, etc. in his life. This entire fruit will be evidenced in the life of one who is living according to the Spirit of God. It is fruit of the Spirit, not works of the flesh! Our flesh could never produce this fruit, it is only the Holy Spirit who can produce this in us.

Galatians 5:24-26, “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. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” Those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus have ceased from living according to the flesh, our old man. Romans 6:6 tells us, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” We who have life in the Spirit should live according to who we are and what we have. We do live in the Spirit in the positional sense, let us also live in the Spirit in the practical sense, living our lives day-by-day according to the leading of the Spirit. Vain glory, provocation, and envy are works of the flesh. May we have no desire for that. It is certainly not Spirit-produced, so may we not allow this in our lives. Although tolerated and celebrated in the world, these actions and feelings are sinful and should not be desired by the believer. Let us “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). Rather, let us “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (246.8)