“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16
This verse makes me think about the Genesis account of the patriarch Enoch. We don’t know much about him. Only three or four verses record the entire life of this uniquely remarkable man with Genesis 5:24 being, perhaps, the most exciting: “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”
Enoch is one of my favorite Bible characters to think about and ever since I was a teenager the thought of Enoch walking with God has fascinated my imagination. Exactly what experience is the author of Genesis referring to when he uses the expression “walked with God?” Is it literal? Figurative? There is so little contextual data directly attached to the patriarch that we must go elsewhere in scripture to derive a definition and I think that Galatians 5 must be included when we gather information to give us understanding.
The apostle Paul exhorts us to “walk in the Spirit,” and since we know from our study that the Holy Spirit is one of the members of the Divine Godhead this expression must be synonymous with “walking with God.” So, through the sending of the Holy Spirit, Jesus has provided us with the means of having the same experience that was given to Enoch which resulted in his being received by God.
When we combine the expression, “Walking with God,” or “walking in the Spirit,” with the instructions we’re given by Christ in John chapters 14 – 16, we learn that “walking with the Spirit” is actually referring to the abiding relationship with God, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, that gives us the ability to day by day overcome the impulses of the natural, sinful human nature. The beautiful revelation of the Genesis account of Enoch is that this relationship has the capacity to so completely transform the life of the sinner that he or she is fully prepared to live a life in the very presence of God. This knowledge is tremendously comforting given that Revelation 21:27 tells us that nothing that defiles shall ever enter the City of God the New Jerusalem.
The Holy Spirit is given to us now, where we are, so that he can give to us every gift and grace necessary to prepare us for that day when when Jesus returns, so that he can receive us unto himself that where he is there we may be also. 1 John 14:3