Galatians 5:14-18 (NKJV) 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another! 16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
(Once again, my wife and I have been traveling so I have not been posting in this space. We are still in Kenya but our schedule has slowed down and I am going to try and “get back on the horse” so to speak.)
There is so much confusion today about the difference between grace and Law, that I wanted to take some time to look at what the bible says. I see more and more churches trying to make people feel accepted by simply overlooking sinful behavior. They call this grace and say we are not under law. All we need is to be “good people” and know that Jesus loves us. That is enough.
The problem with this thinking is that it is not what the bible teaches. If the first church lived and thought that way, there would be no modern church. They understood that to live as a Christian was to live a sacrificial life. They could not practice their faith and be a part of their society. It was in this age that Paul wrote words like those found in 1 Corinthians 6.
2 Corinthians 6:17 (NKJV) 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
The thinking today seems to be, “Get out there among them and try not to be affected too much by the unclean things.” Some would try to convince us that there are no unclean things at all. Jesus paid for all the unclean things, so they are no longer unclean. This is simply not true.
Since the fall of man, the world has been a war zone. The combatants are light and darkness, life and death. We must be on one side or another. If we are born again we are on the side of light. However, if we do not live according to light and life, we become captives of darkness and death. That is what the bible teaches.
2 Corinthians 6:14 (NKJV) 14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
In this space we have looked at some things that we must understand if we are going to be a force for the kingdom of God in our day. Paul was clear in Romans 7 that we are not obligated to keep the Mosaic law to be considered righteous or right with God. However, we also learned that a Christian who allows himself to be dominated by the flesh is in a “wretched” condition. When we allow what the Bible calls sin in our living, we are dominated by the flesh.
What is the solution. Romans 8:1-3.
Romans 8:1-3 (NKJV) 1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh,
To live under the letter of the law is bondage. To live under the dominion of sin is “wretched.” What is the solution. In Romans 6, Paul tells us that whatever we allow to dominate us we become a slave to. He does not give us the option of not being a slave at all.
Romans 6:16-17 (NKJV) 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered.
We are going to be slaves to one or the other. I choose to be slave to God in obedience which will lead me to righteousness. Righteousness unlocks all the power of God in my life. Slavery to sin always leads to death. If not physical death, it leads to the open door that allows the devil to bring bad things into our lives and family. The book of Deuteronomy makes it very clear.
Deuteronomy 30:19 (NKJV) 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
How do we choose life?
Deuteronomy 30:15-16 (NKJV) 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the LORD your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess.
Once more we ask, “How do we walk in his ways, keep his commandments, statutes and judgements if not by the Law? I want life, but I do not want bondage. What is the solution? If we walk in the spirit, we will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under law. This is the same thing Paul is trying to tell us in Romans 8:1-4.
What does it mean to walk in the spirit? We have already looked at this but permit me to define it once more. Hebrews 4 speaks of a “rest” that is available to the people of God. Verse 11 tells us to be diligent to enter this “rest”, so we will not fall into disobedience. The word translated “rest” in this scripture is not the rest of inactivity. It is the rest of harmony; man’s spirit, soul, and body filling the role God intended for them to have.
My soul is my intellect, my emotions and my will. My body is the flesh part of me. My spirit is that part of me created in the image and likeness of God. It is the part that God always intended to be in control. It is the part with which we communicate with God and the world of the spirit. That communication is processed through our soul and finally to our body so that we walk according to God’s will, ways and nature.
If I walk in the spirit I will naturally walk as a new creature, keeping all of the above. If I am dominated by the soul, I will be an intellectual being. I may be a good one or a bad one, but I will be controlled by my intellect. If I am dominated by my body, I will do what my body wants. Right and wrong, good and bad are not factors. What pleases my body will be all that matters.
How do I access the new life that grace provides? I walk in the spirit with that part dominating my soul and body. I make choices based on what my spirit wants not what my flesh wants. I feed my spirit with the Word of God until my spirit is the strongest part of me. I renew my mind, my soul, by reading, studying and meditating on the Word of God until I think “spiritually.” My body will follow my spirit and soul. Then I have no need for the letter of the law. I walk in the spirit of the law. I enter the wonderful rest of harmony.