The Law of the Spirit of Life

Does an understanding of our freedom in Christ motivate us to sin?  I don’t think so.  I would argue that an understanding of our complete and total forgiveness motivates believers to receive something better:  our true purpose and meaning.

Personally, although I know that I have total freedom in Christ, that freedom doesn’t provoke me to sin; instead it encourages me to live according to the New Covenant with its new law:  the law of the Spirit of life.

The law of the Spirit of life!  Have you heard of it?  Paul mentions it in his letter to the Romans…

Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” (Romans 8:1&2, NASB)

So what is the law of the Spirit of life?  As Romans 8 makes clear, it is the complete opposite of the law of sin and death, the Mosaic Law.  This means that believers should not be led by the commandments and laws of the Old Covenant (or any set of laws!)  Just let the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, lead you.

You know?  ‘Cause you are free! 😀

“It is for freedom that Christ Jesus has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1, NIV)

Paul the apostle is constantly encouraging us to live a life of freedom.  In his letter to the Colossians, he tells us that living a life according to a bunch of rules is not a REAL life.  It’s a fake, false life; a life in the shadows.

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.  For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. (Colossians 2:17, NLT)

Interesting, huh!?  🤓 The religion of the Old Covenant was the shadow, “For these rules are only shadows of the reality.”  They were a shadow of things yet to come.  The life of faith in which we are governed by the law of the spirit of life is the reality that has come!

Paul says, “don’t let anyone condemn you.”  A logical warning, because we can’t escape religious people.  And for those Christians who still live in the shadow, condemning others is natural.  Why?  Because they themselves are governed by the law of sin and death.

You know what I am talking about, right!?  We all have regularly experienced condemnation from the Christians with whom we interact.

It was common for me to come home from work feeling “beat up” by condemnation during the five years that I worked at a large Christian K-12 homeschool enrichment program.  It was simply status quo for the ladies and teen girls that I interacted with; condemnation just sort of flows out of their mouths like a leaky faucet.

Why?  Well there is a reason.  It’s because they are still under “the law of sin and death.”  They are still under the Old Covenant, which means that they mistakenly think that God still holds their sins against them.  Living under this delusion makes them mean!

They do not intend to be mean . . . but they can’t help it.  On one hand, they are sweet and kind and friendly and were fun to work with, but on the other hand, condemnation flows out of them nonetheless.  (Usually during Staff Meetings when we are discussing “everyone else.”)

I am sharing this with you – not to bad-mouth homeschoolers — but to illustrate the point that most Christians are still under the law.  They need to be set free!

So then, how shall we live?  Well, we no longer live according to rules and regulations.  We allow the law of the Spirit of Life to guide us.  We no longer try to earn God’s favor by obeying the laws He gave to Moses.  Instead we believe the truth that HE was obedient to the law on our behalf, and then died for the forgiveness of all sin.

Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  (Matthew 5:17, NASB)

He fulfilled the Law, and then nailed it all to the cross. Obedience to the law has come to an end.

God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law of Moses. He took them away and nailed them to the cross. (Colossians 2:14, CEV)

The result of all of this is that we are SET FREE to live according to the Spirit!  The law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the Law of Sin and death.

So when you feel that someone is condemning you for not obeying some rule; for not keeping the Sabbath; for not being good enough or holy enough . . . for whatever standard that they feel you are not living up to . . . just remember Paul’s word to the Colossian church:  don’t let anyone condemn you.  And remember his words to the church in Rome:  there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

My site is called Mom for Freedom, because I just so happen to be a Mom who is FOR freedom.  I am pro-freedom.  I desperately want my brothers and sisters to be set free – set free to live a life of peace and rest, growing in grace and getting to know Jesus better with each passing year.

 

 

November 23, 2019  8:46 PM

 

Must faith be accompanied by works?

Forgive me, Father, I have sinned; it has been four months since my last blog post.

Just kidding!  . . . About the asking for forgiveness part.  Not kidding that it’s been four months since I’ve written anything here.  My personal life has been overwhelming and consuming and causing much anxiety — a ‘down-cast heart.’  I have simply not had the energy to blog.

But God is active and living and He is ever-present, dwelling in my innermost being, as I live through the storms of life.  Though the world may slay me, yet will I praise Him.

So, getting to the point, must faith be accompanied by works?  . . . Of course not!  We are saved by grace through faith, and we are sustained each and every day by His grace through our faith; through our trust in Him; our resting in the work He has already accomplished.

But what about the book of James?

But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? (James 2:20, NASB)

Gee, thanks for the encouragement, brother James.

No, sorry.  He got that part wrong.  Faith is IT.  Sola fide.  We are justified by faith alone.

The five chapters of the book of James are filled with things we must do.  There is not one mention of the death or resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  No mention of the divinity of Jesus.  No mention of our forgiveness or justification by faith.  James believes we are justified by works.

You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. (James 2:24, NASB)

Did you know that the book of James was ABSENT from the first list of New Testament books known as the Muratorian Fragment.  James’ epistle was not confirmed as a book of the Bible, included in the canon of the New Testament, until the fourth century A.D.!  James was added to the Bible in AD 367, after the creation of Roman Catholicism!

Yet there is an excellent argument to be made concerning the fact that including the book of James in the Bible is important because it illustrates the differences between Paul and James, between a life of faith and a life of works. (Click here for a Bible Study by Living God Ministries on that topic.)

Sure James makes some good points, such as “if you stumble at one part of the Law of Moses, you are guilty of the entire thing.”  But, mainly, when I read the book of James, I think, “Man, he’s a raging legalist!”

I’m thankful that I have been set free from a life of works.  I am thankful to live a life of freedom in Christ Jesus; a life where I am free to walk in the Spirit, and live each day according to the Law of the Spirit of Life, and not according to the Law of Sin and death.

 

 

November 6, 2019  9:58 AM

The Righteous Man Shall Live by Faith

man walking in the forest
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.” (Romans 1:17, NASB)

I’ve been texting with a friend, a sister in the Lord, about what it means to live by faith.  We are both learning what it means to trust in God and to wrestle with Him; we are learning how to live by faith through the hard times of life, through the difficulties, the pain, the struggles, and the circumstances that tempt us to trust in the world or to trust in religion.  Through all of this, through the storms of life, we are learning to remain steadfast and to trust in the Lord, to depend on Him for our strength. . .when we are obviously so weak.

I have been walking down this new path of freedom for 12 years, and my friend has been walking it for just a few, yet we are both learning the same thing . . . because the learning never ends.  And in 20 or 40 years, I will still be learning to trust in the Lord – because He is infinite and I am depraved.  While I remain on this cursed earth, I will grow to trust Him more and more as I experience the difficulties of life .

My friend and I began this texting discussion after both listening to a radio program by Aaron Budjen on “Living by Faith.”  In his message, Aaron talks about Romans 1:17 and the quote from Habakkuk that says that the righteous man will live by faith.

“Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him; But the righteous will live by his faith.” (Habbakkuk 2:4)

Although I was saved 28 years ago, I spent 14 or 15 years not trusting in the Lord, even though I was born again and had a relationship with Him.  I spent those years trusting in religion and trusting in my church.  I was trusting in the acceptance of other people, in the attempt to earn their acceptance through working so hard doing ministry work.

I looked to and trusted in religion which is really just an aspect of the knowledge of good and evil. (The Lord God said not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but we did, so the tree is a part of this world that we live in, it’s a part of this fallen world.)  Although I was not necessarily doing evil, I actually was, because Jesus said there is only One who is good.  He alone, God, is the only One who is good.  Other than Him, there is none good.

So even though we try to live according to the knowledge of what is good, it ends up being a life of evil, because our motives are wrong.  Our “good deeds” are often attempts to earn the acceptance of others, to earn the acceptance of God.  We try to remain in a relationship with God by doing good works, repenting of our sin, asking God to forgive us, and then being firmly devoted to living a life of obedience . . . but all of that is a life of vanity and emptiness.

Being set free from such a life by discovering that I am a forgiven person, started me down a path that will never end.  As long as I am in the flesh, I will always be discovering and anticipating and growing. Learning every day what it means to live by faith.

 

 

June 13, 2019  2:14 PM