Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3, KJV)
The Apostle Paul gives us an intriguing insight into the meaning of walking in the Spirit or the flesh in the verse above. The context is that the Galatians had believed the Gospel and were saved by faith. However, some Jews came in from Jerusalem, not sent by the Apostles, and told the Galatians they had to be circumcised to be saved. So the Galatians were no longer trusting in Christ for salvation but were getting circumcised to be saved. Paul tells them, “…having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh”?
When the Galatians believed in Christ and trusted Him entirely, they were saved in truth. They believed God and were walking in faith. Paul calls this “begun in the Spirit.” So when the Galatians believed the Gospel and were walking in faith, they were walking in the Spirit because when we walk in faith, God takes over!
He continues to ask, “are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” What does this mean? He was essentially asking: you started by believing the Gospel for salvation, and that is walking in the Spirit. Do you now want to become mature by trying to keep the law by your own efforts? What he calls “by the flesh” here means trying by our own human efforts. You will remember during our teaching series on spirit, soul and body how I emphasized the point that the flesh does not always mean sin.
Whenever you believe God, and stand on faith, the Spirit takes over your life. You might not have noticed it but you are walking in the Spirit when you are walking in faith. However, whenever you try to do things by your own strength, whether ordinary things of daily Christian living or ministry, you are walking in the flesh. This example shows you how simple and easy it is. Now is your turn. Walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh!
How did the Galatians “begin in the Spirit?”
APPLY THE WORD
Many of you are already walking in the Spirit in many areas of your life without even realizing it, including faith, love, etc. The more you become conscious of it, the more you will cooperate with the Spirit. Similarly, many believers are still walking in the flesh and not realizing it. They might not be committing sin, but they do not realize that they are doing “their own things”. I wrote a devotional a while ago about “fleshly Christianity”, and this is a dangerous trap for us. Walk in the Spirit!
Pray that you will grow in your walk in the Spirit and not try to use your own efforts to live the Christian life or work for God.