In verses 1-4, we are reminded that the gospel message has been delivered by angels, by miracles, and by the Spirit.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
The only way to know what Jesus wants is to listen to the Spirit (verses 13-16).
In verses 12-13, we see that the words of the Spirit are different than human wisdom.
In verses 1-5, Paul reminds the Corinthians that he didn’t try to impress them with arguments.
Rather, he let Jesus’ message speak for itself through the Spirit.
In verses 17-20, Paul reminds us to be filled with the Spirit, not foolishness.
You’re free. But not free to sin. So live out the fruit of the Spirit, not the acts of the sinful nature.
- Jesus was crucified
- Some people choose to belong to Jesus
- These same people have “crucified” the sinful nature
- The sinful nature is made up of passions and desires
- Does this mean that all passions and desires are part of the sinful nature?
- That can’t be right
- Some passions and desires are godly
- People who have chosen to follow Jesus live by the Spirit
- Paul adds that these people should keep in step with the Spirit
- This means that a person can follow Jesus but still get out of step with the Spirit
- It requires constant effort and monitoring to stay in step with the Spirit
- Our natural tendency is to get out of step
- “Spiritual entropy” could be called a natural law of the soul
- Don’t become conceited
- It’s easy to get arrogant when doing the right thing
- Don’t provoke one another
- Don’t envy one another
- These are three more examples of how people follow Jesus but get out of step with the Spirit
Paul lists nine behaviors which indicate that a person is following the Spirit and not the sinful nature.
In verses 16-18, Paul explains that people who are “led by the Spirit” are “not under law.”
- Paul tells his readers to live by the Spirit
- Living by the Spirit is important
- As a result, we will leave some desires unsatisfied
- Having desires is natural
- Some desires are inherently wrong
- The sinful nature opposes the Spirit
- The Spirit opposes the sinful nature
- Logically, this creates a biconditional
- The sinful nature and Spirit are mutually exclusive
- What desires fall outside these two opposing forces?
- Even when we want to follow the Spirit, we sometimes do what the sinful nature desires
- There is an internal battle, kind of like those cartoons with the angel and devil characters on each shoulder
- I used to think the concept illustrated by this kind of cartoon was entirely unbiblical
- But it’s very similar to what Paul describes in these verses
- If you are led by the Spirit, then you are not under law
- I wonder what this means.
- The contrapositive of this statement is: If you are under law, then you are not led by the Spirit.
- This means that asking people to follow the Spirit is logically equivalent to telling people that they’re under law
- This seems to be a stumbling block
- If you don’t see yourself as shackled by the law, then it’s hard to see the need for living by the Spirit