What does it mean to walk according to the Spirit? 

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Walk according to the Spirit 

The apostle Paul in his epistle to the church in Rome wrote, “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4). So, to walk according to the Spirit means to “live” according to the Spirit (Romans 6:4; 2 Corinthians 5:7; 10:3; Ephesians 2:10; 4:1). This experience is illustrated by the ceremony of baptism.  When the new believer is buried into the baptismal water and then he emerges from it, so death to sin must be followed by a new way of life in Christ.

Therefore, the believer in whom the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled, no longer lives according to the desires of the flesh. The satisfying of worldly ambitions is no longer the leading rule in his life. Instead, he orders his life according to the guidance of God’s Spirit (Romans 8: 9). And thus, the requirement of the law gets fulfilled in him.  

The opposite to walking in the Spirit is walking in the flesh which means to have the flesh as the ruling principle of life. The whole mental and moral activity of a person who is “after the flesh” is set upon the selfish gratification of unholy desires. But the Bible teaches that the gratification of fleshly desires is death. Therefore, the one who lives for this selfish purpose is dead while he lives (1 Timothy 5:6; Ephesians 2:1, 5). And this present condition of spiritual death can lead only to eternal death (Romans 6:23). 

Walk in love

What the law asks is summed up in Christian love, for “love is the fulfilling of the law” (Romans 13:10). To the Christian, the result of the working of the Holy Spirit is love.  For “the fruit of the Spirit is love” (Galatians 5:22). Thus, life according to the Spirit means a life in which the holy demands of God’s moral law (the Ten Commandments) are obeyed (Exodus 20:3-17).  Love to God makes keeping the first four commandments (which concern God) a joy, and love toward our neighbor makes keeping the last six (which concern our neighbor) a pleasure. Love fulfills the law by taking away the formality of mere obedience and by making obedience a delight (Psalm 40:8). The great purpose of God sending His Son to the world was to make it possible for the believers to live holy lives illustrated by their love to their Creator and man.  

How can we walk in the Spirit? 

The apostle John wrote, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4). But how can “our faith” enable us to overcome the world? John 5:5 answers, “Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” Therefore, it is faith in Christ as a personal Savior from sin that helps us walk in the Spirit.

Such a faith appropriates the Savior’s triumph over sin and applies it in one’s life. This faith does not stop at mental agreement to the spiritual truths but leads to real Christian acts. Like the paralytic whom Christ commanded to rise, the Christian attempts that which is not possible for him (John 5:5–9). As he chooses to rise from the bondage of sin, God’s power comes upon him and enables him to do that which he by faith willed. But if the Christian waits for the Lord to lift him up from sin, nothing would happen. The Christian’s faith must lay hold upon God’s promises and must act upon God’s Word before that strength can actually be his. This is how the Christian may resist the tempter in the God’s power. And the devil will surely be defeated (James 4:7). 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team  

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