But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
A very popular phrase used by people who do not appreciate moral truth is “you can’t legislate morality.” You’ve heard it but what does it mean? The phrase is used against people who have moral problems with issues of the day: abortion, death penalty, abstinence among teens, right to die, sexual promiscuity, etc. While it is not the space or time to debate the merits of that phrase, it is very clear that you can’t write a law that forces people to love someone or be patient with someone or to be gentle. Laws do not produce those character traits. Instead, the Spirit of God must impress those upon us.
Paul grappled with the Law and the Spirit throughout the book of Romans. He admitted that he doesn’t always do what he wanted because his flesh told him he needed to do something else (chapter 7). But the crowning verse in Chapter 7: “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The bottom line is this: on our own we are weak and helpless. Sin can easily overpower us. But fortunately we have a solution. More than that, we have a Savior, one who knows what temptation is like (Hebrews 4:15). He knows the struggles that we face. He knows our need because, as incredible as it seems, He was one of us – yet was without sin.
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16).