Psalms 119:33-35 NIV
“Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees,
that I may follow it to the end.
Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.”
What commands of God’s must we now obey as followers of Jesus Christ under the New Covenant? Do we still have to obey the Lord’s commands?
We must not live according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, for the righteous requirement of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Rom 8:1-4).
“Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God” (Rom 8:5-8).
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God” (Rom 8:12-14).
Basically, when we believe in Jesus Christ with God persuaded faith, we die with Christ to sin that we might live with Christ to his righteousness. Our old self is crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we might live new lives in Christ, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15, 21; 1 Co 6:19-20).
So, we either walk (in conduct, in lifestyle) according to our flesh, which ends in death, or we walk (live, in practice) according to the Spirit, which ends in eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10).
This doesn’t mean we are perfect or that we never sin, but that sin is no longer what controls us. We now live under the Spirit’s control.
Psalms 119:33-35 NIV
“Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
Turn my eyes away from worthless things;
preserve my life according to your word.”
The New Testament books are filled with instructions to us, the body of Christ, regarding how we are to live by the Spirit and how we are to no longer live according to our flesh. So, there should be no question as to what that means, for it is explained for us in much detail.
And it has much to do with daily, by the Spirit, putting sin to death and daily, by the Spirit, living to please our Lord in obedience to his instructions to us in the New Testament, some of which were also taught in the Old Testament. So, there is still much to be learned from the Old Testament.
It is a lot like this. When we didn’t believe in Jesus, we were going a particular direction with our lives. Then, when we believe in Jesus, we do a U-Turn, and we now go in the opposite direction. We turn away from our old way of living in sin and for the flesh, and now we live to please God.
And if we want to know what displeases the Lord and what pleases him, we need to study the Scripture in context. For, there are many instructions to us in what we are to put off and what we are to put on as followers of Jesus (Gal 5:16-26; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Phi 4:4-9).
Psalms 119:38-40 NIV
“Fulfill your promise to your servant,
so that you may be feared.
Take away the disgrace I dread,
for your laws are good.
How I long for your precepts!
In your righteousness preserve my life.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we still live in flesh bodies, so we still have a propensity to sin. We are still tempted to sin, too. And that is why we have many instructions in the New Testament on how to resist sin and Satan, in how to flee temptation, and in how to draw near to God in full assurance of faith.
But God has promised us that he has made a way and that he will make a way of escape for us out from underneath temptation to sin so that we do not yield to sin. Jesus died on that cross to deliver us out of our slavery to sin, so that by faith in him we might now walk in slavery to righteousness.
And he will show us the way of escape from temptation to sin if we will listen to him and if we will follow what he says to do. Many people continue in sin because they choose not to take the way out God provided for us, and they turn a deaf ear when the Spirit prompts them to not go a certain direction.
We are given the Holy Spirit to live within us to help, counsel, teach, guide, and empower us to live righteously and to resist Satan and to flee temptation, and we are given many instructions in Scripture on what we need to do, too, such as getting rid of things which lead us into sin.
So, if we want the Lord to rescue us, we have to listen to him, and we have to obey him, and we have to yield control of our lives over to him, and we must let go of the controls over our own lives. Otherwise, we are just “shooting ourselves in our own feet,” i.e., we are hurting our own cause.
So, we must follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and his promptings in our spirits, and we must follow the instructions we are given in the Scriptures under the New Covenant regarding the things we are to put off and the things we are to put on, and we must be doers of the word and not hearers only.
Then, we can walk in victory over sin. We can also walk in holiness and righteousness. Again, I am not saying we will be absolutely perfect. Even Paul said that he had to beat his body into submission and that he had not yet arrived. But he didn’t say he was yielding to sin, either, especially not as a matter of habit, contrary to what some people will tell you.
Basically, what we must do is yield ourselves over to the Lord, consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus, our Lord. In the power of God’s Spirit, we say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and then we live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return (Tit 2:11-14).
Daily we die to sin and to self and daily we walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. We are doers of the Word and not hearers only. We walk by faith and not by sight. We resist Satan. We flee temptation. And we draw near to our Lord in full assurance of faith. And then we are at peace and we live in the joy of the Lord.
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!