A New Way of Living

Many well meaning Christians are afraid to teach Paul’s instructions that we are no longer under the Law for fear Christians will go sin crazy.  However, their fear ignores what the scripture clearly teaches – the Law is no antidote to sinning but provokes even more sinning.  Sin’s antidote is not the Law but living in relationship with our new husband, Mr. Grace.  He is the One Who teaches us to deny ungodliness.  He leads us into His perfect will, a life of obedience where obedience isn’t the object, Christ is; and that results in obedience.

 
Romans 7:5–6 “For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” 
 
For while we were living in the flesh, We need to look carefully at this word, “flesh.”  Notice it is in the past tense.  We were in the flesh but it is no longer true of us.  This word comes from the Greek “sarx.”  Flesh has several different meanings.  The most basic meaning is the fleshly part of the body; in Galatians 2:20 it refers to the body as a whole; in Galatians 5:17 Paul uses it to refer to the sensual part of our nature.  Here it speaks to the unregenerate nature of man.  The flesh doesn’t so much refer to our physical body here as to the self-life we inherited from Adam.  The Old Man and the Flesh are different.  Remember that in Romans 6 we learned the Old Man was crucified.  The Old Man was our identity as sinners in Adam.  That relationship has been severed forever.  The flesh, as it refers to the self-life, is still alive and well. It looks like the Old Man because it was trained by the Old Man.  We can still walk after the flesh but not be in the flesh.  The flesh drew its life from the Old Man.  We are no longer in the flesh but are able to walk after the flesh. We are still quite capable of sin and living in a self-sufficient way but it is contrary to our new nature.  
 
our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.  Our relationship to the Law has changed profoundly.  The Old life before Christ was characterized by sinful passions.  The result of sin is always death.  The Law stirs up sinful desires. The Law’s purpose was not to produce righteousness but to reveal our sin to us.  It is to show all men how exceedingly sinful they are.  Our rebellious nature always desires what is forbidden for it. We instantly want to do what we are forbidden to do.  You can’t live in holiness or overcome sin if you are living under the Law.  The result is only pharisaical holiness which produces death.  The result of all law systems is sin and death. The problem is not the Law, it is  us. The result of sin never changes – it always produces death.  As long as you are under the law you can’t bring fruit unto God, only death.  The church and Christians who attempt to live under the Law will always be places of death because death is the only thing the Law was designed to produce.
 
But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, This phrase “but now” can’t be missed.  Paul has been hammering this theme; there is a radical difference in the life of a believer from their unbelieving days.  We died to the law in order to be brought into a new and fruitful relationship.  People are afraid of abandoning the Law because they fear recklessness.  The problem is the Law doesn’t keep us from sin it just takes it undercover.  We are no longer under the Law or the death it produced because we have a new husband, Mr. Grace.
 
so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.  Remember in Romans 6 we saw we are now slaves of righteousness.  For the first time we are  liberated to do the will of our new master.  We now serve in the newness of love, we have a new covenant, not the letter of the law which kills, but with the Spirit.  Christ in us is the hope of Glory!  He is a well springing up in our lives.  Quit living under the letter of the Law and be led by the Spirit.  The minister of the Spirit brings peace, the minister of the letter tells what ought to be and then condemns.  Let’s put away all the Christian Rules and Principles and listen to the Spirit of Christ living in us, just waiting to live through us.  Trying to live by the Law will always end up looking like the Pharisees.  When we live yielded to the Spirit in us it will always look like Jesus.
 
Have an incredible Spirit filled week.
 
You are loved!
 
Pastor Tim