Class #46: Christians strive to avoid the works of the flesh, but we can’t avoid the desires which come from our sinful nature/flesh. Therefore, the Christian life is a continual struggle against sin. With our salvation secured through faith in Christ, we desire to please our Lord. We walk by the Spirit when we confess those sinful thoughts and do not do the works of the flesh. We also walk by the Spirit when after we find that we have sinned, we do not persist stubbornly in our sin.
In this study we begin to examine the works of the flesh described in Galatians 5:19-21. St. Paul says, “just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” So Luther explains, “It is one thing to be aroused by the flesh and not to tolerate its desires any further, but to walk and to withstand by the Spirit; it is quite another thing to give in to the flesh and to do its works with a smug air, to persist in them…” (Luther’s Works, v.7, p.80).