There is an important emphasis on the Holy Spirit in Paul’s writings. In Galatians, there are 15 references to the Spirit.
Here is a summary of what Galatians says about the Holy Spirit.
— Galatians 3.2 – We receive the Holy Spirit into our lives by faith in what God has promised to us.
— Galatians 3.5 – God works miracles and the Holy Spirit is the agent of miracles on earth.
— Galatians 4.6 – The Holy Spirit enables humans to speak to God as their Father.
— Galatians 5.16 – We are commanded to live by the Spirit.
— Galatians 5.22-23 – The Spirit produces attitudes and actions in believers that correspond to the nature of God.
— Galatians 5.25 – We are to live by the Spirit and be guided by him.
— Galatians 6.8 – When the Spirit is active in our lives, the result is eternal life. Eternal life is both a quality and quantity that is so magnificent we describe it as “eternal.”
A Most Important Lesson
This survey of references to the Holy Spirit should encourage us to surrender the control of our lives to the Spirit.
Even though the Spirit is not directly mentioned in Paul’s description of a transformed life, the Spirit is the agent of that transformation.
Paul famously wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me.
“And the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2.19-20).
The essence of Paul’s meaning is this:
(1) When Jesus was crucified, we were crucified with him.
A dead person will not strive for success, be offended, exert human pride, or do a host of other actions.
(2) We are dead, but Jesus lives in us.
This is the place the Holy Spirit exerts his influence. Paul uses the words “in Christ” and “in the Spirit” interchangeably.
Through the Spirit, Jesus lives through us.
(3) Our trust in the work of Jesus through the agency of the Spirit releases the attitudes and actions of Jesus in our lives.
When we count this transformation to be true, the various references to the Spirit’s work in humans become a reality.
As we begin to live according to the good news of Galatians 2.19-20, it will affect how we relate to each other. Paul makes this case in chapter 6.
— Galatians 6.1-5 – My brothers and sisters, if anyone is detected in a transgression, you who have received the Spirit should restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness. Take care that you yourselves are not tempted.
Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
For if those who are nothing think they are something, they deceive themselves.
All must test their own work; then that work, rather than their neighbor’s work, will become a cause for pride.
For all must carry their own loads.
Let’s apply what we have learned about the Holy Spirit and the transformed life of Galatians 2.19-20 to how we relate to other people.
(1) There are times when we feel a need to correct the behavior of other people. There are other times when we want to help a person with a burden they are carrying.
With Galatians 2.19-20 in mind, we confess our dependency on God for his help.
We pray like this: “Dear Jesus, I don’t know how to correct or help my friend, but I am certain that you do. I consider my best ideas dead and I rely on you to help my friend through me.”
(2) Galatians 2.20 faith waits for God to lead us and resists the urge to fix things ourselves.
Galatians 6.1 emphasizes the role of the Spirit in this endeavor. Our best efforts fall dramatically short of the wisdom the Spirit provides.
(3) Verses 3-4 call upon helpers to renounce pride as they shoulder the burdens of others.
I have never seen a proud dead person. When we die with Jesus and completely rely on the Spirit’s power through us, pride will also die.
When the Holy Spirit works through us, we will be able to say, “God did it.” There is no room for pride in that truth.
Try it out!
I hope you will try out using the insights of Galatians 2.19-20 and the work of the Holy Spirit in your daily life.
Please learn the passage by praying it frequently. Personalize the Bible passage and use it to talk to God.
Confess your need for the Spirit’s help and depend on him.
Today’s YouTube video is on the fruit of the Spirit. I got the videos out of order. If you want to listen to a video on this passage, please see yesterday’s message by Rudy Ross and me.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.