For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other…
I. ITS FEATURE.
1. The flesh has its desires, so has the spirit as acted upon by the Spirit of God; and both are strong, contradictory, and antagonistic.
2. The struggle between the two is a matter of the commonest Christian experience.
(1) Of the flesh against the spirit. The sense of obligation arouses the spirit of revolt. Hence even Paul had to keep his body under.
(2) The spirit against the flesh. The revolt against command is checked by the grace of submission, and the desire to be faithful awakens disgust at sin.
3. The Divine nature is imparted to us with all its love and longing that the flesh with its lusts may be overcome.
4. The nobler shall be victor over the meaner.
II. ITS PURPOSE.
1. That the antagonism of righteousness and unrighteousness may work out the highest good and accomplish the destiny of the faithful.
2. To prevent the Christian life becoming one of impulse, merely the doing simply as we would because we will it.
3. To force on us the task of deliberation and wise resolve; to make us choose as well as will, and determine as well as choose, and thus —
4. To add the steadfastness of Christian purpose to the eagerness of Christian passion.
(A. Mackennal, B. A.)
I. The flesh desires EASE, and thus comes into collision with the spirit, which requires us to fight the good fight of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).
II. The flesh desires EXCITEMENT, whereas the spirit requires us to deny ourselves and take up our cross.
III. The flesh desires DISTINCTION, whereas the spirit's injunction is to humility (Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 20:26; Romans 12:10).
IV. The flesh desires to make SELF SUPREME, whereas the spirit desires to make God supreme.
(W. Landells, D. D.)There are eight main incom-modities which the soul hath cause to complain of in her conjunction with the body.
1. The defilement of original sin.
2. A proneness to actual sin.
3. The difficulty of doing well.
4. The dulness of our understanding in the things of God.
5. Perpetual self-conflict.
6. Racking solicitude of cares.
7. Multiplicity of passions.
8. Retardation of our glory.
Parallel VersesKJV: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.