A Christian can do good. The closer the Holy Spirit is to him and the more he dwells in him, the more good he will be able to do prompted and motivated by this very same Spirit. Yet he can do bad stuff too. This choice between good and evil is before him daily and in all life situations. Making bad choices and following evil ways, the new life slowly but surely dies off bit by bit and step by step. It becomes a habit and the ongoing rejection of the Holy Spirit’s influence and working leads to his repression and severe limitation until the Holy Spirit is cast out and the new life dies off entirely. That is what St. Paul speaks of in this verse and passage. Many have experienced the truth of this personally. They had all that was required to fight the good fight as Christian soldiers victoriously. Yet their mind was not focused on the goal. Their will lost sight of their purpose in life and they afterwards became worse than they were before. The opposite is also true however. If the Christian lives according to the prompting and guidance of the Holy Spirit, then the new life becomes stronger and stronger with every victory of good and godly blessings. A certain practise encourages familiarity and even a degree of perfection in virtuous living. That is a good and God pleasing life.
Dear and beloved and most faithful saviour Jesus Christ. You have brought the world an eternal salvation and you want to bring your people to the freedom of the God’s children. We ask you: Free us from the blatant and obscure fetters of sin. You know them all. You know our desire and longing for freedom and purity. You alone can satisfy this sufficiently and effectively. Help us to pray and wrestle at your side, so that we too may finally be victorious and carry the crown of glory. Let us experience the joyful truth: Whomever you liberate, is truly liberated. Amen. (Church book of Württemberg 1931)
Fight the good fight with all your might; Christ is your strength, and Christ your right. Lay hold on life, and it shall be Your joy and crown eternally.
Run the straight race through God’s good grace; Lift up your eyes, and seek His face, Life with its way before us lies. Christ is the path, and Christ the prize.
Cast care aside, lean on your guide; His boundless mercy will provide. Trust, and enduring faith shall prove Christ is your life and Christ your love.
Faint not nor fear, His arms are near; He changes not who holds you dear; Only believe, and you will se That Christ is all eternally. (John S. B,. Monsell, 1911-75)
This is a rather free translation of Wilhelm Löhe’s devotion for Monday after the eighth Sunday after the high holiday and festival of the Holy Trinity. It is found on Pg. 272 in Lob sei Dir ewig, o Jesu! (Eternal Praise to you o Jesus!) edited by A. Schuster and published in the Freimund Verlag, Neuendettelsau 1949.