But according to the Spirit
Romans 8:1-4 ESV
“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
No one can be saved strictly by keeping the law, because not one of us can keep the law perfectly in our flesh. All of us are sinners at birth. We all are tempted to sin, and we all have the propensity to sin against God. Thus, we can never be good enough, in our flesh, to be acceptable to God.
So, God the Father sent his Son (God the Son) to die on a cross for our sins. He who knew no sin became sin for us on that cross that we might become the righteousness of God, that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, no longer living for ourselves, but for Him.
By God’s grace and by God-given and God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God.
So, what is the righteous requirement of the law? It is that we not sin against God but that we walk in obedience to his commands, loving him with all our being and loving others as we love ourselves. It is that we live holy lives pleasing to God, and that we walk in his righteousness.
But we can’t do this in our flesh. We can only do this because of what Jesus did for us on that cross in putting our sin to death with him and by God-given faith in him which submits to him as Lord, leaves our sinful lifestyles behind us, and walks in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).
And we can only do this in the strength and power of God’s Spirit living within us empowering us to live holy lives pleasing to God, empowering us to walk (in conduct, in practice) no longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, which God requires of us for eternal life with him.
He does not require sinless perfection (see 1 Jn 2:1-2), but he does require that we not make sin our practice, but that righteousness is what we practice, for it is those who practice righteousness who are righteous, not those who merely make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ.
Some people will wrongly call this “works-based salvation,” but we are not working to earn or to deserve our salvation. We are working out our salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in us. It is us living out the salvation we have received from God by his Spirit. But if we don’t live it out, it is evidence against us that we don’t truly have salvation.
What’s your mind set on?
Romans 8:5-8 ESV
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
For, you see, our salvation from sin and eternal life with God are not about us just acknowledging Jesus as Savior of our lives. They are about us living the life which Jesus died to give us to live for his glory and praise. They are not about us being just positionally righteous but us living righteously.
So, being saved from our sins and having eternal life with God are contingent on how we live, not on what we profess with our lips. Our God has never been interested in lip service only. He wants us surrendered to him, listening to what he says, and doing what he tells us to do.
So, if you are professing faith in Jesus Christ, but you are still living to please your flesh, walking in sin, deliberately and habitually sinning against God as a matter of practice, the Scriptures teach that you will die in your sins. You will not inherit eternal life with God.
In fact, if our minds and our actions are set on pleasing the flesh, and not on pleasing God, our minds are hostile to God, for they do not submit to God’s law. For, you see, Jesus didn’t set us free from having to obey God’s moral laws. He set us free from sin so we would be obedient to his commands.
So, if our minds are still set on pleasing the flesh, then we cannot please God. We can’t live to the flesh and to God at the same time. It doesn’t work that way. We can’t profess faith in Jesus with our lips but deny him by our actions, and that be okay with God. We will die, not live with God.
For if you live
Romans 8:12-14 ESV
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”
Some people are teaching that Jesus does it all for us and thus we do nothing. And doing nothing means no submission to him as Lord, no obedience to his commands, and no forsaking our sinful lifestyles. But it isn’t we do nothing, but that God empowers us now to live holy lives for him.
They will tell you that because our salvation from sin is a gift from God that it means we do nothing, that nothing is required of us other than some obscure and non-descript faith in Jesus Christ, which is not biblical faith, but which is human faith, for it does not submit to God’s purposes.
But what is the gift? It isn’t just forgiveness of sins and eternal life with God. It is freedom from slavery to sin so that we can now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. And it is God’s Spirit living within us transforming our hearts and minds away from sin to living to God and to his righteousness.
For, God’s grace, which brings us salvation, trains (instructs) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we patiently wait for our Lord’s soon return. For Jesus “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-8; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2]
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”