“I SAY then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 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. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witch-craft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
There has never been a person in all human history to whom the truths of Scripture do not apply, and there never will be such a person. The life story of each person, as Fr. Glenn reminds us, will eventually be enfolded into the life story of the Word made Flesh, Jesus. The Scriptures speak to each of our lives. Because of this great truth, I have sometimes tended to read Scripture as though it were a private message composed directly and immediately to me. When I do that, the question I ask at every moment of every verse is, “What is this text saying to me?” Now, that is a crucial question to ask, but if it’s the first and only question I ask, I am liable to end up with some muddled theology.
Today’s epistle is a prime example. If we read it as though it were written directly to us—if we fail to take into account the context of the letter and the specific recipients of St. Paul’s advice—we will come away with a deeply distorted picture of the Christian life, a skewed vision of what it means to be in Christ here and now.
Read the rest here.