Life-Study of Galatiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
As sons of God, we now need Christ to be formed in us (4:19). For Christ to be formed in us requires that we forget our self-made laws and allow Christ to occupy us in full. The more Christ occupies us inwardly, the more He is formed within us.
In chapter five Paul charges us to walk by the Spirit. In verse 16 he says, “Walk by the Spirit and you shall by no means fulfill the lust of the flesh.” To walk by the Spirit here actually means to live Christ, to move, act, and have our being according to the indwelling Spirit. Our reason for not losing our temper or for not indulging in certain kinds of worldly entertainment should be that we are living according to the Spirit. Likewise, if we are calm or excited, the reason for our calmness or excitement should simply be that we are living according to the Spirit.
If we live Christ in this way, we shall spontaneously have a living which issues in the fruit of the Spirit (5:22-23). After naming various aspects of the fruit of the Spirit, Paul says that against “such things” there is no law. His use of the expression “such things” indicates that the fruit of the Spirit is not limited to the items mentioned in verses 22 and 23. All the items mentioned by Paul are virtues which are different aspects of Christ expressed. These virtues are not works; they are fruit. Hatred is a work of the flesh, whereas love is a fruit of the Spirit, the spontaneous issue of living Christ. A tree does not produce fruit by working. The fruit produced by a tree is an issue of the inner life of the tree. Likewise, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, and all the other aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are not the result of our working; they are different aspects of the unique spiritual fruit which is produced out from the Christ who dwells within us and whom we live out.
In all the small matters of our daily life, we need to walk by the Spirit. For example, when a brother gets a haircut, he should not have his hair cut according to a certain way or standard, but according to the Spirit. Even in the matter of a haircut he should have fellowship with the Spirit. Likewise, the sisters need to dress according to the Spirit, not according to a certain way practiced in the local churches. To conform to a certain way of dressing common to those in the local churches may be a very good habit or practice, but it is not life. If the sisters dress according to a certain habit, the issue will not be life. But if they dress by the Spirit and according to the Spirit, the result will be life.
To walk by the Spirit and thereby to have every aspect of our daily walk in correspondence to the Spirit is altogether a matter of life. It is not a matter of habit, custom, or conformity. From the human point of view, it may be good for people to conform to certain standards and practices, for this will result in improved behavior. It may cause those who are crude and unruly to become kind and obedient. Although such an outward change is good, it has nothing to do with Christ or the Spirit. What God wants is not that we conform to certain customs and habits, even though such conformity may be very good in human eyes. God wants us to live Christ, who is realized as the Spirit. God’s New Testament economy is wholly a matter of walking by the Spirit to live Christ. The first kind of walk by the Spirit revealed in the book of Galatians is a walk in which we live Christ, expressing the various aspects of the fruit of the Spirit. Our daily life as Christians should be a life of walking by the Spirit to live Christ by expressing Him with all His excellent virtues.
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