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Jesu, Juva

Appetite

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In Galatians 5, Paul presents a list of the “works of the flesh” followed, and contrasted, by the “fruit of the Spirit.”

Underlying the works of the flesh are fleshly appetites and fleshly strength, what you might call an “arm of flesh” (2 Chron 32:8). Consider how anger functions: we desire personal glory or vindication, and we go to war for it.

The fruit of the Spirit does not exist in a sphere apart from appetite or apart from strength. Rather, it grows out of spiritual appetite and spiritual strength. Spiritual appetite desires what is simultaneously true, beautiful, and good (e.g., Philippians 4:8). Spiritual strength is the strength to govern ourselves (self-control) and to die to our selves. Spiritual appetite is superior to fleshly appetite, and spiritual strength is greater than the arm of the flesh (Proverbs 16:32).

Although a spiritual appetite requires us to die to ourselves, we find that it is not just a rejection of our fleshly appetites, but instead is the fulfillment or perfection of what we were seeking. As Lewis says, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Thus, in God, we find not a deprivation of pleasure and glory, but eternal pleasure (Psalm 16:11) and glory. In Jesus, we do not lose our opportunity for vindication, nor do we experience shame; but we find true justification and eradication of shame, so much so that God is proud for us to carry his name (as in Job 1:8) and pledges himself as our own redeemer-avenger (e.g., Romans 12:19).

Written by Scott Moonen

January 27, 2020 at 6:48 pm

Posted in Biblical Theology

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