Galatians 1:11-12 & Galatians 5:16-26
From the Reformer
What makes matters worse is that one-half of ourselves, our own reason, stands against us. The flesh resists the spirit, or as Paul puts it, “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit.” Therefore we teach that to know Christ and to believe in Him is no achievement of man, but the gift of God. God alone can create and preserve faith in us. God creates faith in us through the Word. He increases, strengthens and confirms faith in us through His Word. Hence the best service that anybody can render God is diligently to hear and read God’s Word. On the other hand, nothing is more perilous than to be weary of the Word of God. Thinking he knows enough, a person begins little by little to despise the Word until he has lost Christ and the Gospel altogether.
Let every believer carefully learn the Gospel. Let him continue in humble prayer. We are molested not by puny foes, but by mighty ones, foes who never grow tired of warring against us. These, our enemies, are many: Our own flesh, the world, the Law, sin, death, the wrath and judgment of God, and the devil himself.
—Martin Luther, Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians
Pulling It Together
The spirit is made for life and the flesh for death. The believer, however, has been born again and will receive a new and glorified body that will never undergo corruption (Rom 8:11; 1Co 15:42-44). This is the gracious gift of God. We are born again for glory but the flesh and the Law war against our faith in God’s grace. This is why it is desperately important for all believers to know the word of God as well as any Sunday School teacher or preacher. Your pastor cannot keep the faith for you.
With God’s help, only you keep the faith through knowing what the Gospel teaches and reminding yourself of its teaching. These reminders only come by listening to the Spirit in the word. We easily forget. More than that, we are easily persuaded because our flesh condemns us. The evidence is so weighty that eventually, without reassurance from the Gospel, we are inclined to believe its false testimony.
Pick up your Bible every day and read. Study! Pray over what you read and ask God to teach you. Buy a commentary and go deeper. Do it every day and punctuate your studies with Sunday School classes and group Bible studies. You are at war and must always be ready for the next attack.
© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reform: Devotions with the Reformers