Thursday, April 24, 2014

The way forward

If God’s will that his people be holy in their behavior is to be realized, it is not, above all, a matter of trying harder. That is “the flesh” about which Paul had just warned the Galatians, and about which he was shortly to warn the Romans. No, if we are to be the holy people that God has longed for from the beginning, it must be a matter for faith. This is precisely the point Paul was making in Galatians when he said that if we live by the Spirit we will not gratify “the flesh” (5:16). In our own strength and selfish desires we can never live God’s holy life. But if we live in the Spirit, we will produce that fruit which the Old Covenant required, but could not produce because of that twisted, self-centered spirit within us which Paul calls “the flesh” (5:17-6:10).— Called to be Holy, page 153

<idle musing>
Indeed. It must be by the Spirit of God. If it is done any other way, it won't be real. Reminds me of the story about Ben Franklin. He used to keep a little book where he recorded how he was doing on certain virtues that he felt important. After a while, he noticed that he was getting proud of his accomplishments, so he added another column for humility!

But that's the end result of striving—well either that or despair because you can't attain. It is only by the Spirit living within us that we can truly be holy and good...
</idle musing>

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