Sunday, May 27, 2012

Walking according to the Spirit




Scripture

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
(Romans 8:1 NASB)
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
(Romans 8:2 NASB)
For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
(Romans 8:3 NASB)
so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
(Romans 8:4 NASB)

 

Observation


Jesus Christ had come to change the paradigm for those who were wanting to walk with God. Christ also knew that he would have to leave so that he could send the Holy Spirit. By sending the Holy Spirit it became possible for people to be united with Christ, to be "in" him. This meant that by being united with Christ there would be an internal desire to follow the law. No longer would the laws be external, or simply a set of rules to which we tried to conform, but rather with Christ "in" us, and us "in" Christ we are set free from the bondage of the rules. The law became a bondage to those who tried to follow it to the very letter -- along with all the additional rules that had been established through the years. The good news is that today we celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit who can dwell within us and now we can walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

 

Application


The opening line of this scripture is so very powerful as we are reminded that there is now no condemnation for those who are "in" Christ Jesus! I'm wondering if we truly understand the implications of this simple sentence. The most important feature of the sentence is that we are "in" Christ. This had never been possible previously. By simply trying to follow the Law, humanity had never grasped what it meant to truly understand the nature and character of God. It had been God's desire that humanity would know him, but instead of seeing the Law as something relational -- that is, something that brought humanity into a deeper daily relationship with God, humanity distorted the Law and made it into a barrier. The Law became a barrier to relationships with God and with the rest of humanity. Jesus tried to point out this absurdity when he healed on the Sabbath. Following the law by not healing on the Sabbath had become more important to the religious leaders than the relational aspect of healing the neighbor. This is why Jesus could declare that the whole law was summed up in love of God and and love of neighbor. That was God's original intent and it was humanity which distorted the intent.

Therefore the intent of sending Christ was to restore the relational aspect of the law, and this could only be done through personal relationship. How could humanity participate in a relationship with God? Only by having God become man, and therefore, by way of the incarnation, preparing a way for humanity to follow which would lead them to fellowship with the Holy Trinity. This is what Christ did for all of us. He came to earth as a human so that it might be possible for us to have an intimate relationship with God. It is by way of this intimate relationship with God that we know the very heart and passion of God. When we know the very heart and passion of God, we are "in" him and his desires become our desires. Now we are privileged to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit day in and day out. We breathe him in and then breathe him out to the world around us. As we stay in this relationship with the Holy Spirit, we are in a continuous state of loving God and loving the world walk that is transformational to ourselves and the world around us. No longer do we have to check off to see if we're following the rules, for living by the desires of God becomes a part of our nature. The result is that the law is fulfilled, but only fulfilled when the focus is not the law, but God himself.

 

Prayer


Lord, thank you for your self-sacrifice of coming to earth, and for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which sets us free. We give you praise and glory this day. Amen.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Carla! I am excited to go to church today and celebrate this gift we have in our relationship with God!

    ReplyDelete