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September 30 – Crucifying the flesh and keeping in step with the Spirit

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. – Galatians 5:24-25

Scripture reading: Galatians 2:15-21; 5:16-25

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). This is what is true of those who have faith in Christ. We are no longer in union with Adam. We are in union with Christ, our Second Adam. When He died, we died. When He rose again, we rose again. Therefore, we are no longer under the curse of the law. Instead, we have God’s eternal blessing in Christ and have received the promised Spirit (Galatians 3:13-14; 4:4-7). The Spirit is now producing His righteous fruit in our lives, and, “against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

In light of these things, Paul says that we who belong to Christ crucify our sinful desires. Like a crucifixion, sanctification is a process of killing our sin, which is painful (cutting out idols of the heart), progressive (imperfect in this life), and guaranteed to be completed (perfected at death or when Christ returns).

On the flip side is new life in Christ, by the Spirit, “If  we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” This is a military image. The Spirit is like our drill sergeant and we are soldiers who are to keep in step with His commands. Through the means of grace (Word and sacraments) let us follow His lead to our promised land in the new heavens and new earth, where we will see Christ and be like Him!

Suggestions for prayer

Thank God that He graciously redeemed you in Christ from slavery to sin, death, and the devil and gave you His Spirit. Pray for more Christ-like fruit by the Spirit and thank God that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion” (Philippians 1:6).

Rev. Brian Cochran has been serving Redeemer Reformation Church in Regina, Saskatchewan since 2010. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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