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Gospel of Grace - Spiritual Battle, Part 2

Galatians: 5:16-26

Galatians 5:16-26: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (ESV)

Do you know what a zipper wala is? Wala is a word similar to “-man,” as in a milkman or mailman. When my wife, Sarah, went to India, she encountered a zipper wala for the first time. She thought it was brilliant: the zipper wala roams train platforms looking for broken zippers, then he fixes them for a small fee. I could have used a zipper wala recently in my failed attempt to fix a zipper at home. Basically, I used a screwdriver to try bending the metal, but instead, I broke it. I learned that if you exert too much power, you will break the zipper, but if you don’t, nothing gets fixed. Striking a balance between the two is the key. This is why you need an expert, a zipper wala.

There are many situations in our lives where we consult experts, but when it comes to spiritual matters, people often think they can fix their sinful habits and addictive and immoral behaviors by exerting human effort. The human effort could either be by avoiding the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21 that we looked at last time or by pursuing the list of the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22-23.

The problem is that too much human effort or not enough effort always leads to either legalism or antinomianism, disreg