Do not Deceive Yourself

Galatians 5:24, But those of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its sufferings and its lusts. (Own Greek translation.)

Therefore, when we are tempted with all sorts of sins and lusts, we must not deceive ourselves and think we can give in just because we are in Christ. For Christ died and rose from the dead to deliver us from sin, not into sin (for that is the Devil’s way). To do this, Paul said earlier, we walk in the Spirit, so we will not “carry out the lusts of the flesh” (v. 16, own Greek translation). This happens “when the threat that God will punish sin severely warns [us] and frightens [us] away from sinning; and when, instructed by the Word, by faith, and by prayer, [we] refuse to yield to the desires of the flesh” (from Lectures on Galatians 1535, Luther’s Works 27:96-97). And when we do fail to walk in the Spirit, we can always approach the throne of grace with confidence, “that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). And when we suffer in this temporary flesh of ours, we can look to Christ and remember our flesh and all its sufferings and lusts have been crucified with Christ on the cross.

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