Thursday, July 21, 2022
“Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me” (Psalm 119:133 KJV).
May we share the Psalmist’s wish!
The Lord ordered the Apostle Paul’s steps in this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. “Paul, here in Romans chapters 1–6 are the principles of grace for victorious Christian living as a member of the Church the Body of Christ.” However, by the time of chapter 7, Paul personally struggled to overcome his sinful flesh like us all. Why?
Remember, before he was the Apostle Paul, he was Saul of Tarsus. Having been born and raised in the Dispensation of Law as a strict works-religion Pharisee (Acts 23:6; Acts 26:4,5; Philippians 3:3-7), a great deal of Paul’s life as a saint was spent trying to stop thinking like a legalistic lost person. Being Scriptural was not enough, for the Law of Moses (Scripture!) was no longer in effect. God was doing something different—the Dispensation of Grace. To fall back on prior Divine revelation was to fight against the Lord’s current work. We must be Scriptural and dispensational. Since Paul reverted to the Law system, he wound up in the pitiful, miserable condition of Romans 7:24: “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Like many poor souls under the heavy hand of works-religion today, Paul was utterly defeated, troubled, and unhappy. His Christian life was nonfunctional.
Consider the Galatian saints, and the Bible Book that bears their name. They too grew up in works-religion—albeit heathenism or pagan idolatry. Paul visited them and shared the Gospel of Grace with them. They passed from death to life by trusting Jesus’ finished crosswork. Alas, legalistic teachers subsequently misled them, necessitating Paul’s epistle to them. “But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” (Galatians 4:9). They too had strayed from the path of grace, returned to works-religion, and become entrapped and depressed! “Where is then the blessedness [happiness, joy] ye spake of?” (Galatians 4:15a).
Whether Paul, or the Galatians, or even us, remembering our identity in Christ is the key to successful Christian living….