In his principality, Worse than high treason was all liberality, No ray of bounty, with unselfish cheer, threw its bright beam across that dark frontier, Where every friendly grace of heart or hand Was seized and forfeited as contraband . . . The portly figure, with its solvent air, Proclaimed to all the world, “the Millionnaire”. His purse and person both at fullest length, And even the higher law which he obeyed, With all his heart and soul and mind and strength: To love his maker – for he was SELF-MADE ! Self-made, self-trained, self-willed, self-satisfied, He was, himself, his daily boast and pride, His wealth was all his own; had he not won it With his own cunning skill? There shone upon it No grateful memories of another’s toil, No flowers of friendship graced its sandy soil, No ties ancestral linked it with the past, As in his hard, close hands he held it fast. – William Allen Butler, “Two Millions” (1858)

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. – Galatians 5:16-26

The Self-Made Man

Has desires opposed to the Spirit (v16-17)

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” – Galatians 3:1-3

“When we come to God, we must bring nothing but Christ with us. Any ingredients, or any previous qualifications of our own, will poison and corrupt faith. He that builds upon duties, graces, etc., knows not the merits of Christ. This makes believing so hard, so far above the flesh. If you believe, you must every day renounce, as dung and dross (Phil 3:7,8), your privileges, your obedience, your baptism, your sanctification, your duties, your graces, your tears, your meltings, your humblings, and nothing but Christ must be held up. Every day your workings and your self-sufficiency must be destroyed. You must take all out of God’s hand. Christ is the gift of God (John 4:10). Faith is the gift of God (Eph 2:8). Pardon is a free gift (Isa 45:22). Ah, how the flesh storms, frets, rages at this, that all is a gift and it can purchase nothing with its acting and tears and duties, that all workings are excluded, and of no value in heaven.” – Thomas Wilcox, “Honey out of the Rock”

Seeks justification by the law (v4, 18)

Manifests the works of the flesh (v19-21)

Maximizes himself and minimizes sin (v26)

The Spirit-Made Man

Has desires opposed to the flesh (v16-17)

Rests in the justification of Christ (v5, 18)

Produces the fruit of the Spirit (v22-23)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. – Colossians 3:12-21

Self-control is saying no to sinful desires, even when it hurts. But the Christian way of self-control is NOT “Just say no!” The problem is with the word “just.” You don’t “just” say no. You say no in a certain way: You say no by faith in the superior power and pleasure of Christ. It is just as ruthless. And may be just as painful. But the difference between worldly self-control and godly self-control is crucial. Who will get the glory for victory? That’s the issue. Will we get the glory? Or will Christ get the glory? If we exercise self-control by faith in Christ’s superior power and pleasure, Christ will get the glory. – John Piper

Minimizes himself and maximizes the cross (v24-25)

Todd Spencer

Todd was raised in California and Florida, where he was blessed to participate with his family in churches that preached the Gospel – that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith” (Romans 3:23-25 ESV) – a message that brought him to salvation.

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