Acts 23:1-5 illustrates the difference between walking in the spirit and walking in the flesh.
In verse Acts 23:5, Paul defends himself by saying that he wasn’t aware that had reviled Israel’s high priest. That is because, by this time, Paul recognized the resurrected Christ as the high priest of God’s people (Hebrews 5:1-14, especially Hebrews 5:10). Paul was “walking according to the spirit,” just as he had instructed the believers in Rome (Romans 8:3-4). He was setting his mind on things above, as he had instructed the believers in Colossae (Colossians 3:2). For Paul, Jesus Christ – not the man in fancy clothes standing before him – was the high priest of Israel.
Notice the stark contrast of the two different mindsets.
THE MIND SET ON THE FLESH: Paul’s accusers had their minds set on the flesh. They were Israel according to the flesh. They had a high priest according to the flesh, and in their minds Paul had insulted him. Since Moses had said it was wrong for a citizen to speak evil of such a leader, they condemned Paul.
THE MIND SET ON THE SPIRIT: Paul’s mind was set on the spirit, things above. For him, Jesus was the “ruler of the people” to whom Moses’ admonition would apply. Therefore, all of Paul’s accusers were violating Moses’ admonition by speaking evil of Jesus and those who served Him.
Thus, whether one walks according to the flesh or the spirit can cause one to have a dramatically different view of a situation.
For a chart of Bible verses that lay collectively describe and delineate these two viewpoints see Flesh Versus Spirit.
The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)