Walk in the Spirit: Keep the Commandments Like Paul

But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never carry out the desire of the flesh.

Galatians 5:16 (LEB)

The apostle Paul does a great job of condensing the commandments of God found in the first five books of the Bible for those who are not familiar with them. Paul uses terms such as “in the flesh” and “in the spirit” to distinguish between keeping the commandments and breaking them. He knew that without the help of the Spirit of grace working in our lives, no one would be able to resist sin, which is living a life of breaking God’s commandments. Someone living in the Spirit will not tolerate sin, and not do the things the Father said not to do.

Galatians 5:16–21 (LEB)

16 But I say, live by the Spirit, and you will never carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, for these are in opposition to one another, so that whatever you want, you may not do these things. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are sexual immorality, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, things which I am telling you in advance, just as I said before, that the ones who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

If we are being led by the Spirit, Paul tells us that we will not be found doing these things in the list he provides. Those who do these things are “under the law”, and not being obedient to the Spirit, but to the flesh. The ones living this way will not be part of the kingdom of God. In today’s theological terms it means they will be going to hell.

This is not a new set of commandments or a different play book, and we are going to go through each one to explain what it is talking about to the best of our ability. Sexual immorality is first on Paul’s list. This was not a mystery at one time in history. Thankfully, Yahuah gave Moses exact instructions defining sexual immorality.

Leviticus 18:1–25 (LEB)

18 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the Israelites, and say to them, ‘I am Yahweh your God. You must not carry out the practices of the land of Egypt, in which you lived, and you must not carry out the practices of the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you; and you must not follow their statutes. You must carry out my regulations, and you must observe my statutes by following them; I am Yahweh your God. And you shall observe my statutes and my regulations by which the person doing them shall live; I am Yahweh. “ ‘None of you shall approach anyone who is his close relative to expose nakedness; I am Yahweh. You must not expose your father’s nakedness or your mother’s nakedness—she is your mother; you must not expose her nakedness. You must not expose the nakedness of your father’s wife—it is your father’s nakedness. As for your sister’s nakedness, whether your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born at home or born abroad, you must not expose their nakedness. 10 As for the nakedness of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, you must not expose their nakedness, because they are your nakedness. 11 As for the nakedness of the daughter of your father’s wife, she is your sister, a relative of your father; you must not expose her nakedness. 12 You must not expose the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s close relative. 13 You must not expose the nakedness of your mother’s sister, because she is your mother’s close relative. 14 You must not expose the nakedness of your father’s brother; you must not have sex with his wife—she is your aunt. 15 You must not expose your daughter-in-law’s nakedness; she is your son’s wife; you must not expose her nakedness. 16 You must not expose the nakedness of your brother’s wife; she is your brother’s nakedness. 17 You must not expose the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, or her son’s daughter, or her daughter’s daughter; you must not take her as wife to expose her nakedness; they are close relatives—that is wickedness. 18 And you must not take as wife a woman with her sister, to be a rival-wife, to expose her nakedness before her during her life. 19 “ ‘And you must not have sex with a woman to expose her nakedness during her menstrual uncleanness. 20 And you must not have sex with your fellow citizen’s wife, becoming unclean with her. 21 “ ‘And you shall not give any of your offspring in order to sacrifice them to Molech, nor shall you profane the name of your God; I am Yahweh. 22 And you shall not lie with a male as lying with a woman; that is a detestable thing. 23 And you shall not have sexual relations with any animal, becoming unclean with it; and a woman shall not stand before an animal to copulate with it—that is a perversion. 24 “ ‘You must not make yourself unclean in any of these things, because the nations whom I am driving out from your presence were made unclean by all of these. 25 So the land became unclean, and I have brought the punishment of its guilt upon it, and the land has vomited out its inhabitants.

Notice Yahuah did not want His people conforming to what was acceptable to the Egyptian and Canaanite societies around them. It is no different today. “You must not make yourself unclean in any of these things, because the nations whom I am driving out from your presence were made unclean by all of these.”. Sexual immorality is tied to uncleanness, impurity and licentiousness. A good example of licentiousness, combined with idolatry was the time Israel made a golden calf and “rose up to play” or “revel”.

Exodus 32:5–6 (LEB)

And Aaron saw, and he built an altar before it, and Aaron called, and he said, “A feast for Yahweh tomorrow.” And they started early the next day, and they offered burnt offerings, and they presented fellowship offerings, and the people sat to eat and drink, and they rose up to revel.

The King James Version describes what exactly was going on at the golden calf event. It was similar to the fertility festivals of the nations around them.

Exodus 32:25 (KJV 1900)

25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)

Next in Paul’s list is idolatry. Yahuah hates idolatry. Idolatry is, but not limited to, worshiping other deities, using their symbols or practices or partaking in their rituals. It is especially offensive when we worship Yahuah with the same traditions, symbols and festivals as other nations worshiped their gods.

Deuteronomy 12:30–32 (LEB)

30 take care so that you are not ensnared into imitating them after their being destroyed from before you, and so that you not inquire concerning their gods, saying, ‘How did these nations serve their gods, and thus I myself want to do also.’ 31 You must not do so toward Yahweh your God, because of every detestable thing they have done for their gods Yahweh hates, for even their sons and their daughters they would burn in the fire to their gods. 32 All of the things that I am commanding you, you must diligently observe; you shall not add to it, and you shall not take away from it.”

I hope everyone can see that Paul was teaching that anyone who practices these things that go against the instructions of Yahuah habitually, will not inherit the kingdom of God (go to hell), just like Yeshua and the other apostles indicated. Paul did more than say “If you love God you will keep His commandments” as John said. Paul actually listed all the commandments he was referring to, which is essentially all the commandments in the law, prophets and writings. However, no one can perform sacrifices or temple duties anymore because the temple was destroyed and there are no Levitical priests. We cannot even do the feasts properly without a temple, but we can rest on Sabbaths, and many of the other commandments.

Moreover, we do not keep commandments to be justified before God, or “saved”. This is what many of the sects in Paul’s day were doing. The Circumcision party was an example of this. They maintained one had to be circumcised in order to be justified. We want to be obedient and please the Father for giving us the free gift of salvation.

Ephesians 2:8–10 (LEB)

For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are his creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, so that we may walk in them.

“Impurity” or as other translations render, “uncleanness”, is spoken about in many ways in scripture. There is the eating of unclean meat and unclean acts, but this is also a word that is tied to abomination in Hebrew.

Proverbs 6:16–19 (LEB)

16 There are six things Yahweh hates, and seven things are abominations of his soul: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 a devising heart, plans of deception, feet that hurry to run to evil, 19 a false witness who breathes lies and sends out discord between brothers.

“Factions” is another word on the list of things that Paul says will keep a person out of the kingdom of God. This is Strong’s G139 with one definition being “a body of men following their own tenets”. Ignoring the Sabbaths of Yahuah for another day appointed by men, along with feast days for other gods, in the name of celebrating the birth of Jesus, and his resurrection, come to mind for this one. Another definition is “dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims”. That sounds like 40-50,000 different sects of Christianity all having different belief systems about supposedly the same God.

Paul lists sorcery as another deal breaker, and work of the flesh that shows a person is still “under the law” and separated from the kingdom. This is witchcraft.

Deuteronomy 18:10–13 (LEB)

10 There shall not be found among you one who makes his son or his daughter go through the fire, or one who practices divination, or an interpreter of signs, or an augur, or sorcerer, 11 or one who casts magic spells, or one who consults a spirit of the dead, or spiritist, or one who inquires of the dead. 12 For everyone doing these things is detestable to Yahweh, and because of these detestable things Yahweh your God is driving them out from before you. 13You must be blameless before Yahweh your God.

I have mentioned it many times before; many of our Christian traditions come from witchcraft. The sorcerers, witches and satanist all know this, but Christians stay ignorant to this inconvenient truth. Here is a quote from wiccaliving.com regarding Yule. Wicca is a modern form of witchcraft.

This is a celebration of the renewal of life, but compared to other Sabbats it is a relatively quiet, indoor holiday, as people gather within the warm shelters of their homes to be merry and give thanks. As a Yule ritual, many Wiccans decorate their altars with evergreen branches, such as cedar, pine, hemlock and spruce, as well as bright sprigs of holly, pinecones, and other festive winter flora.

Candles are paramount to this Sabbat, of course, with Yule traditions emphasizing the colors red, green, white, and gold. Images of the Sun are also appropriate. Those lucky enough to have a fireplace can burn a sacred Yule log, but you don’t need an actual hearth to brighten up your home with candles galore! Interestingly, many traditions which are generally thought of as belonging to Christmas—including the Yule log, a decorated tree, wreaths, and even caroling—are actually rooted in pre-Christian pagan traditions. So it’s quite likely that you’ve already been celebrating Yule for years, with or without your knowledge!”

The witches tell us the truth about these holidays, so why don’t our pastors and leaders warn us about them? Paul tells us we will not inherit the kingdom of God for practicing witchcraft, and the witches, who know and understand witchcraft, happily say, “many traditions which are generally thought of as belonging to Christmas—including the Yule log, a decorated tree, wreaths, and even caroling—are actually rooted in pre-Christian pagan traditions. So it’s quite likely that you’ve already been celebrating Yule for years, with or without your knowledge!”. It really is not that hard to figure out. At Christmas, an ancient polytheist, who worships Odin, would think he was in a Norse temple in most Christian churches.

We could continue by talking about enmity, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, envy, drunkenness and carousing, but we soon would find ourselves quoting large sections of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Leviticus 19:9–16 (LEB)

“ ‘And at your reaping the harvest of your land you must not finish reaping the edge of your field, and you must not glean the remnants of your harvest. 10 And you must not glean your vineyard, and you must not gather your vineyard’s fallen grapes; you must leave them behind for the needy and for the alien; I am Yahweh your God. 11 “ ‘You shall not steal, and you shall not deceive, and you shall not lie to one another; 12 and you shall not swear falsely in my name, and so one of you profane the name of your God; I am Yahweh. 13 “ ‘You shall not exploit your neighbor, and you shall not rob him; a hired worker’s wage you shall not withhold overnight until morning. 14 You shall not curse the deaf, and you shall not put a stumbling block before a blind person, but you shall revere your God; I am Yahweh. 15 “ ‘You shall not do injustice in judgment; you shall not show partiality to the powerless; you shall not give preference to the powerful; you shall judge your fellow citizen with justice. 16 You shall not go about with slander among your people; you shall not endanger your neighbor’s life; I am Yahweh.

Galatians 5:22–24 (LEB)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ  have crucified the flesh together with its feelings and its desires.

Now those who belong to Christ  have crucified the flesh together with its feelings and its desires.“. In other words, they keep the commandments of God! Paul did not preach a lawless gospel as some like to claim. He makes it very clear that people breaking the commandments will have no place in the kingdom as is found in the rest of scripture. Peter even warned us that unstable people would twist the words of Paul to justify lawlessness.

2 Peter 3:14–18 (LEB)

14 Therefore, dear friends, because you are waiting for these things, make every effort to be found at peace, spotless and unblemished in him. 15 And regard the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as also our dear brother Paul wrote to you, according to the wisdom that was given to him, 16 as he does also in all his letters, speaking in them about these things, in which there are some things hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, as they also do the rest of the scriptures. 17 Therefore, dear friends, because you know this beforehand, guard yourselves so that you do not lose your own safe position because you have been led away by the error of lawless persons. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Scripture is clear on what we must do to inherit the kingdom of God. By the influence of the Holy Spirit and faith we can stay away from the things God still hates and do what we were intended to do. Those who are obedient have no concern about being “under the law”. Being “under the law” means you are shamelessly in rebellion to the Spirit of grace and doing the things Paul told us not to do. Paul’s words were echoed by our Saviour to the apostle John:

Revelation 21:7–8 (LEB)

The one who conquers will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But as for the cowards and unbelievers and detestable persons and murderers and sexually immoral people and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their share is in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.

Submit your heart to the Spirit of grace through faith in Messiah Yeshua. Repent and believe the gospel!

Photo by Jonny Gios on Unsplash.

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