One of the great dilemma’s of the Christian faith is to practically live out our faith before God and men. The spirit indeed is willing, but so often the flesh is weak and we seem to come up short of our faith desires. For example, when a person first comes to faith in Jesus Christ, they want to do the best they possibly can in their faith walk. They start going to church or they go to more of the services. They try and find something to do around the church to be involved. They even tell family and friends of the change that has come to their life. But in far too many cases, this zeal soon begins to wear off and although they still choose to be faithful, much of their passion to follow Christ seems to diminish.
These individuals embrace the testimony of the apostle Paul in Romans chapter 7.
Romans 7:15-16 15 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. 16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
Romans 7:18-19 18 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. 19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
There is not a one of us that with great consistency do what we believe we should do all of the time. We believe the law is good. We believe that the Word of God is good and we should keep it. We believe the law or the word of God is better than we are, but we cannot and we do not keep it. We are always falling short. This is why Paul tells us the law is good and I respect it, but I just can’t keep it. We cannot keep the law of God and in most cases we do not keep our own laws that we make for ourselves. Is this not eerily similar to the ways of the Pharisees. They could not keep the law, therefore, they made up their own set of laws they believed they could keep. In the keeping of these man made laws, that were lesser than the law of God, they developed self-righteous pride. This pride moved them away from God and away from the ability to minister to the needs of those about them. The New Covenant is not about keeping the law or rules. The New Covenant is based upon enjoying the life of the Living Christ.
What is our testimony in our heart, as presented to our family and those to whom we serve, and what is our testimony before God? You may say, “Brother Fred, I cannot please God as I cannot keep the law.” God does not expect you to keep the law as there was only one who could keep the law and that was God’s beloved Son.
Our calling is to abide in Christ and to bear fruit. Bearing fruit glories the Father. Where is the love, joy and peace in our lives? These are certainly elements that cannot be faked. It is not sufficient to simply tie on signs to our body telling others we have the fruit of the Spirit. The keeping of the law or the keeping of lesser laws will not give us life. Life comes only from Christ.
Once we put our faith in Jesus Christ we are not the same person and sin should not control our lives.
2Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
But the struggle is still there. What gives? Paul has an answer for this dilemma.
Rom 7:17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
This is the Apostle Paul’s explanation as to why Christians struggle with sin after they are saved. All men are sinners. We have all been born in sin. Sin has become a part of the practice of our lives. We even enjoy certain aspects of sin. We may not want others to know that, but we know that to be true about ourselves.
When a person is saved, their position changes. They were in Adam, but now they are IN CHRIST. As a lost person in Adam, we were sinners and subject to the judgment of God. Sin was the acceptable normal practice of our lives.
But now, as a saved person IN CHRIST, we are subject to all of the blessings of grace. We have the very life of Christ in us. We have the abundant provisions of grace available to us. We have the mercies of God which are new each and every morning. We have the pure word of God to direct our steps. We have the power of the Holy Spirit which illuminates the truth of the Scripture to our souls. The keeping of my rules or your rules or the best rules of the Amish community will not develop righteousness in you. The keeping of thousands upon thousands of rules will not develop the life of Christ in you. The New Covenant is all about the blessings of grace and the provisions of an Almighty and Faithful God.
Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
When grace is reigning in our hearts, we enjoy our life of faith. Everything changes for us because we are IN CHRIST. Are you being blessed by the person of Jesus Christ? Is HIS life alive and real in your soul releasing HIS love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance?
Oh my, this subject of grace is one I think we should have more reflection upon. What do you think?