According to Galatians 5:22-26, the Holy Ghost provides fruit in the life of the believer, and this fruit takes the form of self-control, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, forbearance, peace, joy, and even love. (Galations 5:22-24) The text suggests but does not specifically state that crucifying the flesh is the necessary avenue for obtaining spiritual fruit. (Galations 5:24) Galations 5:25 clarifies the reference to crucifying the flesh in the previous verse by teaching that people should, “…keep in step with the Spirit.” (NIV) Lastly the text reminds readers not to provoke others, envy others, or become conceited. (Galations 5:26) Overall, the text describes godly qualities as being the evidence of spiritual formation, and the text suggests that crucifying the flesh is a means of obtaining godly qualities in efforts of keeping in step with the Spirit.
The godly qualities of self-control, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness, kindness, forbearance, peace, joy, and love are all important marks of spiritual formation. (Galations 5:22-24) 2 Peter 1:5-7 describes these same type of qualities, and the text also says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life…” – 2 Peter 1:3 (NIV) and the text also says that through the promises of God a person can participate in the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4) The point that 2 Peter 8 drives home is that if a person has godly qualities, then they will keep a person from being unproductive and ineffective in knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The fact however that the godly qualities are the fruit of the spirit points to passages such as John 15:5 that describe Jesus as the vine and the believers as the branches, and Jesus promises that if a person remains in him that the person will produce much fruit. Jesus even points to this fruit as evidence for discipleship with him. (John 15:8) The fact of the matter is that if godly qualities are indeed the fruit of the spirit, then they demonstrate the work of God in the life of the believer. The point to be made is that not only do the godly qualities of Galations 5:22-24 denote discipleship with Christ but they also at the very same time give a promise to the person that remains in Christ that fruitfulness will indeed occur because of being in Christ Jesus.
In Galations 5:23 scripture makes clear that no law exists that is against the fruit of the spirit as seen in Galations 5:22-24. A point to be made is that lawfulness is the result of the fruit of the spirit because no law can be formed against the spiritual fruit. Overall, lawfulness thus is a result or a mark of spiritual formation.
Crucify the Flesh
The point that Galations 5:24 teaches is that by crucifying the flesh believers are free to, “keep in step with the Spirit.” – Galations 5:25 (NIV) The basic implication that the text is making is that the sinful flesh wants one thing, but the spirit wants something else. Overall, what becomes obvious is that the crucifixion of the flesh is what binds a person into the vine. (See John 15:5)
One can easily conclude that offering one’s self as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1) is very much the same as crucifying the flesh. The difference is that when a person offers themselves as a living sacrifice, they are offering themselves to God for him to utilize them however he will but crucifying the flesh is different because it suggests utilizing either mastery over the flesh or handing the flesh over to Satan to be destroyed in order that the soul may be saved. Overall, the point to be made is that crucifixion of the flesh and offering one’s self as a living sacrifice are two differing approaches to accomplish the same result, and that result is a full communion with God that has no noise or distraction between him and his revelation through the scripture as well as no distraction between man and the person of the Holy Ghost.
A point to be made is that crucifying the flesh or giving one’s self as a living sacrifice involves giving everything to God that does not already belong to God. One can argue that by doing this that a person gets rid of all of the fallen nature of mankind, and as a result a person is able to serve God and be in common with God as God pleases. Overall, crucifying the flesh is indeed a genuine mark of Christian discipleship with Christ as well as spiritual development.
Do not Envy One Another
The fact that scripture teaches not to envy other people is important because it prevents against ascending to the throne as Satan attempted to ascend to the throne. (See Isaiah 14:13) Envy of other people can result in attempts to bring those people down in order to build one’s own self up. Envy of other people can also result in a desire to have the very same things that the other person that is envied has.
If however a person admires someone and desires to have the same godly qualities as they have, then a godly process should be in place for obtaining the very same things. In this case people could mentor one another in arriving at the very same goals that have been handed down by God to direct the life of the believer. In such a case offering one’s own self as a living sacrifice would not need to be a completely private matter but instead it could involve others as well that are all working toward the same ends.
The envy that is described in the Bible is however very different than liking what another person has and joining with them in obtaining a similar thing, a common goal, or being mentored for the same ends. The point is that scriptures does condemn envy, conceit, and the provoking of one another, (Galations 5:26) but it does not condemn entering discipleship with one another to obtain the very same things that are otherwise envied. Overall, the point to be made is that the mark of spiritual formation and discipleship with Christ is to have correct practices in obtaining godly objectives, and getting rid of envy can result in the true mark of discipleship with Christ.
The mark of the beast becomes clear in scripture in that it teaches what is oppose of the marks of discipleship with Christ. Discipleship with Christ results in sacrificing everything to worship God (that is uncreated), but worship of Satan involves worship of the created things. Overall, by gaining godly qualities, crucifying the flesh, and getting rid of envy and such a person devotes himself to God (whom is neither created nor made).