Updated: Nov 13, 2022
What does it mean to walk in the Spirit? Is it this mystical state of being achieved by meditation, is it following the teachings of man-made doctrine, or is it following the Messiah in obedience to the Father’s instructions (Torah)? I believe the Bible makes it very clear that the right answer is the last option, I know many in the Church will proclaim the law has been done away with or is not for them, but if you profess to be a follower of Messiah then the Torah is totally for you.
Walking in the Spirit vs the Flesh
Paul writes quite heavily on this topic, showing the contrast between walking in Spirit or walking according to the flesh.
“For we know that the Torah is Spiritual, but I am fleshly, sold under sin.” (Romans 7:14)
“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. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under Torah.” (Galatians 5:17-18)
Walking in Spirit is walking in obedience to the Father, as Paul states the Torah is Spiritual, and the flesh wants to do the exact opposite, which is disobedience. Many people get hung up on verse 18, but it isn’t as complicated as it sounds. If you are led by the Spirit (the Torah) then you are not under the Torah, if I keep the commandments I am not under the law because I cannot be under what I am following. Think about the laws in your country, as long as you obey you are not under the law (under arrest).
“And the works of the flesh are well-known, which are these: adultery, whoring, uncleanness, indecency, idolatry, drug sorcery, hatred, quarrels, jealousies, fits of rage, selfish ambitions, dissensions,factions,envy, murders, drunkenness, wild parties, and the like – of which I forewarn you, even as I also said before, that those who practice such as these shall not inherit the reign of Elohim.” (Galatians 5:21)
The acts of the flesh are contrary to the acts of the Spirit, for the Torah does not promote such actions but condemns them. It speaks out against adultery, idolatry, sexual impurity, and hatred. Yet some people will state that the works of the flesh is Torah observance, how can this be? For the Father’s instructions do not tell me to go commit adultery or worship false gods but tells me not to do these things. Paul writes that by walking in Spirit, Torah, we do not do the desires of the flesh.
“And I say: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not accomplish the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16)
Yeshua’s Behavior Mirror’s the Torah
We are told to imitate the Messiah and following Torah is how we are being transformed into the image of the Son.
“For Messiah is the goal of the ‘Torah unto righteousness’ to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:4)
When I read the commandments, it’s as if I’m a biologist examining strains of DNA, because as John writes the word put on flesh. Studying the Torah is how I know who the Messiah is, what he values, what he stands for, and what he is against. So, in keeping the Father’s instructions my aim (goal) is Messiah, the more commandments I keep the more I align myself to Yeshua and the Father’s will. By being obedient I bear fruits that showcase my character and demonstrate where my heart is.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, trustworthiness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no Torah.” (Galatians 5:22-23)
Obeying Torah (walking in the Spirit) leads us to be full of Shalom (peace), joy, gentleness, and self-control. The Torah is not against such attributes because following the instructions leads to them.
Stay in Him, through Obedience
Since the case has been made that walking in the Spirit is Torah observance and that fruit is produced from such living, notice then, the speech Yeshua uses in identifying who enters the kingdom and who is thrown out.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. “Every branch in Me that bears no fruit He takes away. And every branch that bears fruit He prunes, so that it bears more fruit. “You are already clean because of the Word which I have spoken to you. Stay in Me, and I stay in you. As the branch is unable to bear fruit of itself, unless it stays in the vine, so neither you, unless you stay in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who stays in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit. Because without Me you are able to do naught! “If anyone does not stay in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up. And they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (John 15: 1-6)
One cannot be a branch in Messiah if they do not first proclaim to know him, and any branch who does not bear fruit (which is brought forth from obedience) is cut off and thrown into the fire. This passage presents complications for those who claim once saved always saved, but the one who is walking according to the Spirit should have no fear. By being a YHWH believer, Yeshua follower, keeper of the Torah, you can rest easy knowing, that while the world may come against you, you have no condemnation.
“There is, then, now no condemnation to those who are in Messiah יהושע, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
Continue to test all things, including what I have written, it is after all your responsibility to be knowledgeable in the word. I hope you will be inquisitive and uncompromising in your walk with Messiah Yeshua and may the Ruach HaKodesh lead you into all truth.
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