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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law part 17

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Galatians 5:16–23

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning Love and the Fulfilling of the Law 

They are more than blind who do not perceive that wicked desires in the flesh are sins, of which Paul says, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh” (Gal 5:17). The flesh distrusts God, trusting instead in worldly things. It seeks human aid in times of trouble, and contrary to God's will, flees from those afflictions that it ought to bear because of God's commands. It also doubts God's mercy. The Holy Spirit in our hearts contends with such dispositions in order to suppress and put them to death, and to produce new spiritual drives. We will collect more testimonies about this topic later, although they are obvious throughout the Scriptures and also in the holy Fathers.

Pulling It Together

From the moment we are born again, the battle begins. We are always at war within ourselves. The flesh resists the Spirit who has moved into our lives. So, as might be expected, the Spirit opposes the flesh and would go so far as to terminate those urges of the flesh that would lead us away from God. However, this is a slow, daily chore, so the Holy Spirit would do more than curb and kill. The Spirit brings forth new, better, and spiritual impulses in us so that we are slowly reworked into the new creation God is making. Even so, we begin to bear fruit of the Spirit, such as love, joy, peace, and self-control. In so doing, God has caused us to go deeper than we ever could have through law-keeping.

Prayer: Help me, Holy Spirit, to keep in step with you today. Amen. 

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The Spiritual Realms is a nine-session Bible Study series on Heaven and Hell and places beyond this world. Specifically, the study looks at the many “place names” that are found throughout Scripture, referring to spiritual realms of existence that underlie and comprise the universe God created. This Bible Study series is a challenging one, in that it explores realities of existence beyond what we know and experience everyday.

The study not only addresses matters of life, death, heaven and hell, it steadfastly affirms that Jesus Christ is at the center of all these things. Our ultimate faith and hope rest in Christ’s death and resurrection for our sake. We live in faith by the biblical promise that: “God raised the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power” (1 Cor 6:14).

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