Gospel of John [Joh 16:12-15]. The Doctrine of the HS, part 53. Gal 5:16; Php 3:9-17; 2:12-18.

Class Outline:

Title: Gospel of John [JOH 16:12-15]. The Doctrine of the HS, part 53. GAL 5:16; Php 3:9-17; 2:12-18.


So we conclude our study on the grieving of the Holy Spirit. We have fully studied the negative commands to not quench the HS and to not grieve the Holy Spirit and now we turn to the positive command to walk by the Spirit.


The positive command to "walk by means of the Spirit."


The Authorized Version or KJV translation of a determining verse like GAL 5:16 is misleading. It should not be rendered "walk in the Spirit" but "walk by the Spirit."


GAL 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.


By rendering the text "in the Spirit" it seems to impose responsibility upon the believer to maintain a walk in the Holy Spirit, whereas the more accurate rendering of the text assigns such achieving of the walk by the Holy Spirit and enjoins upon the Christian the attitude of dependence upon the Spirit.


The whole situation is reversed and impossible assumptions are suggested when the believer is urged to walk by his own ability rather than by the Holy Spirit.


It's not the believer's responsibility to attempt the walk, but to maintain an attitude of confidence and expectation toward the Spirit.


Dependence on the Spirit, not quenching Him, will make the Spirit’s promotion of the walk a blessed reality. The Spirit leads the way and we trust Him to know the way, to teach us the way, and to empower us to keep walking in that way. The believer does not lead the Spirit.


The believer is to be led in a path of God’s own choosing and to be empowered by the Spirit unto every good work.


The immediate promise to the believer is that when walking by means of the Spirit the lust of the flesh will not be fulfilled. In the same context (GAL 5:16-23) it is declared at verse 18 that they who are led of the Spirit are not under the law.


GAL 5:17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.


GAL 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.


Verse 18 is a declaration that the believer when led by the Spirit is free from the Mosaic system of merit.


The Law was a shadow of the things to come. It was a source of revelation concerning man's inability to be righteous while revealing also that the Messiah would one day redeem Israel and all mankind. The revelation of Christ was based in ritual, which is only a shadow of Him who was to come. We are free from the ways of ritual and the ways of merit.


The Spirit opens an entirely different field of responsibility, incorporating the whole will of God, vastly more extended than conformity to standards and rules.


The Spirit leads in every phase of individual, daily life. To walk by the Spirit is to depend upon Him for every divine good thought, word, and work.


Walking is a perfect literary figure for the ministry of the indwelling Spirit in the positive believer's life. In this supernatural life we are to glorify God in everything we do.


Every step in the process of walking is an incipient fall. The person trusts the next foot fall to maintain balance.


In each step the body is thrown out of balance and onward without physical support, depending upon a step of the foot forward to recover balance and support.


Thus the walk by the Spirit is a constant casting of one's self upon the Spirit with the confidence and anticipation that He will support.


Like walking, as we mature this will become second nature. There is a moment by moment faith in Him as well as commitment to His way, His ability, and His goodness unto us.


All of this suggests personal intimacy with the Holy Spirit.


I cannot feel His presence, nor can I feel His empowering, teaching, or leading, but I will experience the results of all of these and so my personal relationship with Him becomes an experience of the utmost intimacy and joy.


To constantly practice a conscious dependence upon Him and to habitually rely upon His enabling power is a manner of life that is wholly unlike the natural ways and practices of men.


The walk by means of the Spirit is an achievement which calls for unceasing attention and patient advancement, looking to its execution.


We are to be intelligently alert and attentive to our walk with Him. Our occupation is with Christ and we trust that the Spirit will make our view of Him clear and close in our hearts. We are to be intelligently alert and attentive to our grieving or quenching Him, or both, and recover in grace.


It is prudent to again quote K. Wuest in light of this principle.

The Christian life is not a mere "let go and let God" affair. It is a "take hold with God" business. It is not a mere rest in God, an existence somewhat like that of a jelly-fish floating in the warm currents of the Gulf Stream. God is not developing jelly-fish Christians. God wants to develop heroes, Christian men and women of moral stamina and spiritual power. In the physical realm, no one becomes strong by merely eating wholesome food and resting. Exercise is what is needed to change the food-energy into bone and muscle. In like manner, the Christian must exercise himself spiritually if he is to grow strong in his Christian life. That demands the exercise of his free will, the making of choices, the deciding between right and wrong, the saying of a point blank NO to temptation, the constant striving to improve one's spiritual life, grow in the Christian graces and in Christlikeness. It involves not only the desire to be loving, but the definite endeavour to be loving. It is not merely a trustful rest in the Holy Spirit to make us loving, but a positive exertion of our own will to be loving. It is like bending one's arm. The strength to bend one's arm is in that member of the body, but the strength is only potential and not active unless the will power is exerted which will cause that strength to function. Just so, the power of the Holy Spirit is potentially resident in the saint by virtue of His indwelling presence, but it is only operative in that believer when he is yielded to and dependent upon the ministry of the Spirit, and then steps out in faith in the performance of the action contemplated. For instance, when the believer is confronted with a temptation, it is not enough to rest in the Holy Spirit's ministry to overcome that temptation for us. We must by an act of our own free will say a bold, positive, and fearless NO to it. The instant we move in that direction, the Spirit is there with His wonderful energizing power. Indeed, you will say, that the very start of the step taken in the direction of the act of saying NO to that temptation was motivated by the Spirit. And that is true. Yet it is also true that it is the free action of the believer's will, and is his responsibility. Right here lies that mysterious, incomprehensible, and not-to-be-understood interaction and mutual response between the freewill of man and the sovereign grace of God. [K. Wuest]


Hence, we are to have unwavering faith in His ministry and we are to step out in faith and experience a life that is dependent upon Him.


As infant believers we fall a lot, but that doesn't mean that we don't get up and depend upon Him again. As we experience the fruit of the Spirit in our lives through our experience in walking by the Spirit we will mature and rely upon Him more and more and as we grow into adulthood we will walk more steadily with fewer falls.


God gives us the walking metaphor so that we can identify with it.


All who are born into this world must learn to walk as a proper function of the physical body; it should not be deemed strange if it is required of those born of the Spirit that they too learn by experience and practice how to walk by means of the same Spirit.


It is to be expected that a child will creep before it walks and that it will experience many failures and falls before being able to walk freely. It is equally reasonable to expect a certain amount of effort and failure to occur along the path before the walk by the Spirit is matured.


Php 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,


Php 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;


Php 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.


Php 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect [mature or complete], but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.


Php 3:13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,


Php 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect [mature], have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;


Php 3:16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.


Php 3:17 Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.


This walk is not to be just a theoretical or theological consideration but a living experience of fruit production.


It is not feeling the indwelling Spirit, but the experience of the results of His unhindered ministry. Should I not be able to determine for myself if I am loving as Christ loves? Do I need someone else to tell me if I am or not? Would it not be impossible for another to see love in my heart? But God the HS can not only see it; He produces it and reveals to us its reality, and we can each say with confidence that we have been walking by the Spirit.


Every believer struggles with their first steps. We may want to trust Him, but are so used to relying on ourselves or something else or someone else that we pull back at the last and fall. But every positive believer begins the first steps of walking by means of the Spirit and that becomes a day of marvellous discovery. Even in feeble faith he rests his weight upon the Spirit and discover by living experience that He is there and ready and willing to accomplish that which is committed to Him.


JER 17:5 Thus says the Lord, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord.    

JER 17:6 "For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant.

JER 17:7 "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord.   

JER 17:8 "For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.

JER 17:9 "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?


One must pass beyond the range of theories and theology and enter into the vital test of a commitment of even one step in a walk by means of the Spirit and trust His gracious person to accomplish that step and the next. Only then does the walk become a real, personal journey rather than one that is just read about.


Rules are of little aid. The walk by the Spirit must be the outworking of personal experience, not imitating another, but the result of one's own trial of faith.


It's personal experience because I alone see the fruit in myself and I alone determine that it is from God in accordance with His will as revealed in the word of God. It is a marvellous excitement to see that fruit first begin in my soul. Like planting seeds and seeing the first saplings and then the full grown plant. You planted, watered, fertilized, cared for it and the fruit or flower in your garden is joyous to you. Yet in divine good fruit production God causes the growth while you learn His word and submit to His will. 


1CO 3:6-7

I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.


Without this outworking of personal experience with Him, and the walk by Him as the believer faces his own trials of faith, the desire to perform God's will will never outpace our own self-will.


Without facing the trials of faith head on and experiencing the outworking of divine fruit, the desire to perform God's will will never outpace our own self-will.


We must each see it for ourselves. It begins with learning it, reading it, hearing it, but it must not just remain on paper or on the ears, but it must become a person experience of the most joyful and astonishing kind. How could it not be for a fallen creature to reap the fruit of infinite God in his own life?


Practically speaking, there should be a definite commitment in the morning to walk by means of the Spirit in that day. Too often in our busy lifestyles we rush into the days tasks without even giving the Spirit of God a thought, when it is He who desires to lead, teach, and empower throughout that day, no matter what may come. Pray without ceasing.