Keeping in Step with the Spirit

Guest post by Theologian Dr Rob Knowles from a Theology Night session in 2014.

Keeping in Step with the Spirit

What does it mean to “keep in step with the Spirit”? In Galatians 5:13-26, Paul writes the following:

13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

16 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

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The Holy Spirit

“The Spirit of God has various roles, and it is a mistake to magnify one of these over all the others.

The Spirit is active in creation, as is also the Word or Logos.

He is at work in revelation, opening our eyes to the significance of what God has accomplished for us in Jesus Christ.

He is the principal agent in our regeneration by which we are born anew into a life of service and freedom (cf. Ezekiel 36:25-27; John 3:1-15; 2 Corinthians 3:17).

He preserves the people of God and indeed all of humanity from the destroying powers of sin, death and hell.

He convicts people of sin and drives them to Christ for mercy and compassion.

He empowers the people of God to bear witness to Christ and triumph over the principalities of the world.

Together with the other members of the Trinity the Spirit is responsible  for the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ.

In addition he plays a unique role in the inspiration or supervision of the writing that bears testimony to God’s saving act in Christ, the writing that now forms the canon of Holy Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).”

Donald G. Bloesch in his excellent ‘Christian Foundations’ series The Holy Spirit – works and gifts, p.73

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