For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other…
The Christian life is one of conflict between opposing forces designated respectively, the flesh and the spirit, i.e., between the old nature and the new; between Christians themselves usually so called, and that which is higher, stronger, holier, than themselves. It is a conflict, we may say, between Christ and anti-Christ: for the soul, on the battlefield of the soul. The old nature is strong and very active, and loses no opportunity of plying all the weapons of its deadly armoury against the new-born grace: the new nature, on the other hand, is ever on the watch to resist and destroy its enemy. Grace within us employs prayer and faith and hope to cast out evil All growing Christians are like men working under difficulties; like racers who must carry weights; like men .rowing against wind and tide, yet compelled for dear life to row. This is not the popular conception of a Christian's career. With some religious teachers Christianity is a mere sentiment; a given idea as to moral accountability, and as to escape through Jesus Christ, has to be fixed in the mind, and Presto! a man is "fully saved." Such teaching is void of danger only when explained to mean that he who has seen his sinfulness, and rested upon his Saviour, has passed the strait gate and entered upon the narrow way. Men need salvation from their all but infinite conceits. There can be no salvation "unto the uttermost " apart from character. Faith as a disposition must follow faith as an act.
1. A Christian's life must be a battle from the nature of the case. Flesh and spirit are contrary as water and oil, as light and darkness, as good and evil; and so, to do the things they would and ought, Christians have to fight.
2. Because we gain immensely from fighting. All valuable discipline comes of difficulties faced and overcome. Better to fight and win than to obtain moral mastery without fighting.
(J. S. Swan.)
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.