Walking in the Spirit #3

Saturday, October 6, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, and this identity should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (verses 16,17). Notice how the Bible links our “flesh” (sin nature) to the Law. The Mosaic Law demands that we perform, and our flesh loves to perform because it can then boast, “Look at my religious ‘goodness!’”

As Galatians 2:16,17 said above, introducing the Mosaic Law into the Christian life is counterproductive: it creates a war, a struggle, between you and Christ, which is vividly described in Romans chapter 7. The Mosaic Law demands you perform to gain God’s acceptance (Deuteronomy 28:1ff.), while the Christian life is Christ performing in you the believer because you already are accepted of God in Christ (Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 1:6). This is why Mosaic Law-keeping does not belong in our Dispensation of Grace. It “frustrate[s] [hinders] the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21), since God’s grace teaches us it is Christ, not us, who must perform to make us accepted of God!

Galatians 2:17 said, “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Holy Spirit does not lead anyone in the Dispensation of Grace to operate under the performance-based acceptance system of Judaism (Mosaic Law-keeping). If a Christian attempts Law-keeping, it is literally his or her own doing (not God’s doing), and it is done to their spiritual detriment (misery and defeat)! The indwelling Spirit of God leads us to enjoy the life we have in Christ, and we should walk by faith in His performance (today’s Scripture).

Walking in the Spirit #1

Thursday, October 4, 2012

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:24,25 KJV).

Now that we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, we have a new identity, which should impact our lifestyles for God’s glory.

Saints, from conception, we had an identity in Adam. Imagine, when we were still forming in our mothers’ wombs, God exclaimed, “They look so cute and innocent, but I know better!” As King David wrote, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). This identity in Adam caused us to sin, and thus we lived in rebellion against God and His will for our lives. We could not help but sin, for it was our very nature.

So, on Calvary’s cross, when Jesus Christ died, we died to sin, too. “I am crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20a). Today’s Scripture explains that, as Christians, we “have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” The “flesh” here is the old sin nature, our old identity in Adam, and it was put to death at Calvary: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin [our Adamic nature] might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin” (Romans 6:6).

But, God did not leave us dead. When He resurrected Christ, He also raised us: “that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we should walk in newness of life” (verses 4b,5). We have a new identity in Christ, and this new identity will produce “newness of life.” “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh [physical body] I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

Saints, we do not have to serve sin: we can walk by faith in our identity in Christ, and let Christ live in and through us. 🙂

The Remaining Two-Thirds

Saturday, September 29, 2012

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34 KJV).

On average, you will spend one-third of your life sleeping. Of what will the remaining two-thirds of your earthly life consist?

In the context of today’s Scripture, it is noontime, and Jesus is tired from traveling, so He rests in Samaria by sitting on Jacob’s well (verses 5,6). His disciples have gone into nearby Sychar to buy food, and while He waits for their return, He speaks with a Samaritan woman who comes to draw water from the well (verses 7-26). (The Samaritans are not full-blooded Jews, so they and Israel usually do not associate with each other; see verse 9.)

As their conversation proceeds, the Samaritan woman learns that Jesus is Israel’s Messiah (verses 25,26). She quickly goes to the city to tell them of Jesus, and she comes back to Jesus with additional Samaritans (verses 28-30). Before they come to Jesus, His disciples finally return, and urge Him to eat (verse 31). The Lord replies, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (verse 32). His disciples then ask in verse 33: “Hath any man brought him aught to eat?”

Today’s Scripture is our Lord’s answer. The very thing for which He lives is not physical food: “My meat is to do the will of him [God the Father] that sent me, and to finish His work.” Our Lord has in mind the salvation of these Samaritans: “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest” (verse 35). Essentially, He is saying, “Look at the harvest of those souls!” (cf. Matthew 9:36,37). Later, many Samaritans believe on Christ, and He dwells with them two days (verses 39-43).

Saints, our Lord was consumed with fulfilling the work to which His heavenly Father had appointed Him. Can we say that about the remaining two-thirds of our lives? Are we walking by faith in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, allowing God to fulfill His will in us? Or, are we spiritually sleeping, doing nothing (Ephesians 5:14)?

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #6

Saturday, September 15, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

In Colossians 2:6,7, we read: As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” How did we “receive Christ Jesus the Lord?” By our works? NO! By faith in His finished crosswork on Calvary. How does our Christian walk function? By our works? NO! By faith in His finished crosswork on Calvary.

Sinful mankind could never please God, so God did for mankind what he could never do for himself: pay for his sins in full. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure [perhaps] for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

This love—the love of God, “the love of Christ,” not our (feeble) love for Christ—forms the basis for our Christian life, and it “constrains” (empowers, motivates) us (today’s Scripture). Jesus Christ loved us enough to die for our sins, be buried, and be raised again the third day to make us (positionally) accepted before God (justification). “We thus judge [conclude]” that we Christians should allow Christ’s love for us to work in and through us by means of His indwelling Holy Spirit, as we walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of His Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), thereby making our lifestyles (practically) acceptable to God (practical sanctification).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #5

Friday, September 14, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

Unlike Judaism, and contrary to popular belief, Christianity is not a system of rules and regulations. The Christian life is not us trying to “measure up” to please God—that is impossible. Once God proved that sinful mankind could never keep His Law perfectly, He introduced through the Apostle Paul’s ministry the wonderful system we now enjoy: His grace-based acceptance system, where Henot ourselves—will make us acceptable in His sight and accepted in His Son, Jesus Christ!

God, Jesus Christ, “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7,8). Jesus Christ was obedient to His heavenly Father, declaring, “…the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him(John 8:29bc; cf. Isaiah 50:5,6). His Father, God, affirmed: “This is my beloved Son: in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).

On Calvary’s cross, the blood of God’s perfect, only begotten Son, was shed for our sins! “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just [Jesus Christ had a right standing before God] for the unjust [we had a sinful standing before God]” (1 Peter 3:18).

We, as people who have trusted in Christ’s finished crosswork—His bloodshed, death, burial, and resurrection—alone as sufficient payment for our sins, are made acceptable in God’s sight and are accepted in His Son. Jesus Christ’s performance not only saved us from our sins, but His performance also makes our daily lives acceptable to God our Father (today’s Scripture).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #3

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

The Apostle Paul discussed how he strained to perform the Christian life: he struggled to do right, but he would only sin instead. “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would [that is, wish to do], that do I not; but what I hate, that do I…. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would [that is, wish to do] I do not: but the evil which I would [that is, wish to do] not, that I do…. I find then a law, that when I would [that is, wish to] do good, evil is present with me” (Romans 7:15,18,19,21).

Paul is a saved man, “delighting in the law of God after the inward man” (verse 22). However, he writes, “But I see another law in members [body parts], warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin” (verses 23-25).

Frankly, it is impossible for us weak, sinful creatures to live the Christian life. Paul finally realized that struggling under the Mosaic Law—his performance—only genders defeat and misery. Only Jesus Christ can live the Christian life: it is His life! We have victory, not in our performance, but in Christ’s performance (verse 25; Romans chapter 8; today’s Scripture).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”

The Flesh Straineth, Christ’s Love Constraineth #2

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14,15 KJV).

We would do well to memorize, meditate on, and believe today’s Scripture, a wonderful encapsulation of the Christian life.

Religion is analogous to running on a treadmill—you had better keep moving or you will wipeout! There are literally billions of souls burdened, firmly shackled, by religious works. They strain to please God, hoping that He will accept their performance. Their religious system reassures them, “Just follow our instructions, and God will be happy with you and you will reach heaven.” What a devil’s lie, straight from hell!!

Unfortunately, not only are these lost people bound by religion, but many true Christians (those who have trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation) believe they have to live the Christian life, that they must work to “keep fellowship with God.” Christendom abounds with this legalism: “If you want to receive God’s favor and blessings, you must give more, pray more, confess more, come to church more, quit doing ___ and start doing ___.” This flawed theology is derived from a failure to understand the Bible dispensationally.

Yes, God did deal with Israel via the Mosaic Law. He did instruct them to keep His commandments so they could receive His favor and blessings (Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapter 28). However, our apostle, Paul, writes, in our Dispensation of Grace, “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). God is not dealing with us as He dealt with Israel in time past: we are under grace, not law. Attempting to follow Israel’s Law program will only cause sin to dominate us. God’s grace-based acceptance system involves us placing our faith in Paul’s epistles, letting Christ Jesus live His life in and through us, making our Christian life pleasing to God (today’s Scripture).

“The flesh straineth, Christ’s love constraineth….”