But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. Galatians 5:16
Sometimes believers fall and gratify the desires of the sinful nature. David fell terribly, committing adultery and causing the murder of many when he wanted Uriah to die in battle. He gave God’s enemies opportunity to criticize the people of God, give the credit to the idols, and blaspheme the God of Israel. Peter also fell dreadfully when he denied Christ. But as great as these sins were, they were not committed intentionally out of contempt for God; rather they were committed out of weakness. In addition, when these men were confronted, they did not stubbornly persist in their sins but repented. Paul commands that we should accept, instruct, and restore such people (Galatians 6:1). So those who sin and fall because of weakness will not be refused forgiveness if they stand up again and do not persist in their sin. Persisting in sin is disastrous. Those who do not repent but stubbornly continue to gratify the desires of the sinful nature show that their spirits are filled with dishonesty.
We will not be without sinful desires as long as we live in these bodies. Consequently, none of us will be free of temptation either. But each person is tempted in a different way according to individual differences. One person will be attacked emotionally, such as with depression, blasphemy, unbelief, or despair. Another will be attacked with coarser sins, such as sexual desire, anger, or hatred. But Paul demands that we live by the Spirit and resist the sinful nature. Those who obey the sinful nature and continue to gratify its desires should know that they don’t belong to Christ. Even though people may label themselves with the name “Christian,” they are only deceiving themselves.
The Ninety-Five Theses is a text that everyone knows, most refer to, but few actually read, writes Stephen Nichols. Nevertheless, it is such a crucial text that it deserves to be read widely. Toward that end, Nichols has prepared this edition with an illuminating introduction, explanatory notes, and several illustrations. Martin Luther has left a legacy that continues to enrich the church through his writings. . ., writes Nichols. All of this may be traced back to the last day in October 1517 and the nailing of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door.