Last Sunday during our hymn sing, I made the offhand comment that we couldn’t have a musical event at Parish without singing some psalms. Psalm singing is certainly a distinctive of this church, as well as a distinctive feature of the whole Reformed tradition, going right back to John Calvin. One of the beautiful things about having so much of the psalter present in the service is seeing how the psalms prefigure and look forward to the teachings of the New Testament. For example, in this morning’s sermon text, Paul urges the Galatians to “walk by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16) and to be “led by the Spirit” (Galatians 5:18). Throughout the service, we’ll sing from four Psalms (95, 112, 51, and 23): Psalms 95 and 23 identify the Lord as the one who “safely leads us in the way” and “leads me for His mercy’s sake in paths of truth and grace,” while in Psalm 51 we directly ask for the Spirit to dwell within us. Further, Psalms 23 and 112 give us an illustration of what a man who walks by the Spirit looks like. He is “compassionate, merciful, and ever just.” He is not afraid, echoing Paul in Romans saying, “you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear.” His heart is established firmly, he has a “settled rest,” and there is nothing that can move him. I pray that these illustrations from the Psalms will encourage us to take Paul’s message to the Galatians to heart. —Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Spirit, Flesh, Walk, Fruit, Works, Desires
Keystone Verse: If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25)
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.17 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. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 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. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.