The Law strengthened sin.
(1 Cor. 15:56).
The Law was a ministry of death and condemnation.
(2 Cor. 3:7 and 9).
The Law gave guilt and knowledge of sin, not salvation.
The Law made sin come alive, and killed us.
The Law magnified sin and produced hopelessness.
Why would God give us something with all these negative effects? It was because we were already beaten by sin and didn’t know it. Before we could be motivated to receive God’s gift of salvation by grace through faith in a Savior, we needed to be convinced that we couldn’t save ourselves.
So, the Lord revealed His standard of holiness (the Law), which was infinitely higher than any of us could ever attain. We had to come to the end of ourselves before we could begin to find God. The Law was perfectly suited to do that. It shut us up to faith so the only way we could look was up (Gal. 3:23).
When the Law is used for that purpose, then it is good (1 Tim. 1:8). When people are taught that God’s blessings are dependent upon our performance of the law, that kills faith in what Jesus did for us. Religion has taught that we have to fulfill the demands of the Law in order for God to love us or use us. That is totally wrong!
A proper use of the Law drives us to God for mercy and not away from God in guilt and condemnation. Once we come to Jesus and receive salvation as a gift (Rom. 6:23), we are no longer under the Law but under grace (Rom. 6:14).
God always wanted to relate to us by grace, but He couldn’t just look the other way and ignore sin. The sin debt had to be paid. That’s why Jesus came. He suffered all of God’s wrath against all the sin of all of mankind (John 12:32). Those who receive God’s grace by accepting salvation as a gift by faith in Jesus don’t have any more wrath against them. The Lord promised He will never be angry with us or rebuke us (Is. 54:9). Hallelujah!
Credit: Bob Yandian
The Apostle Paul Wrote in Romans 7:21-22
“I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.”
“For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”
Paul was just admitting that he was human, like you and me. He was being honest by telling us there were days he faced difficulty in his walk with God. Along with his desire to serve God was a desire to solve his own problems. He realized he had a problem, but did not realize he had an answer until he came to chapter eight.
We may have the nature of the flesh, but we also have the Holy Spirit living in us. Paul lets us in on a revelation: the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death (the nature of the flesh). The flesh is our enemy, but we have a greater ally or comrade in the Holy Spirit. By trusting in the guidance and leadership of the Holy Spirit, we are freed from the power and control of the flesh.
The Holy Spirit does not remove the nature of the flesh but overrides its hold on our life. The flesh still exists, but it is powerless to control our life when we are under the authority of the Holy Spirit.
An airplane does not eliminate gravity but can override it. With the combined law of thrust and lift, the airplane rises above the law of gravity and flies through the air. Gravity has not been eliminated. If you turn off the airplane engine, you will discover the law of gravity is still at work. The airplane will come down.
The same is true with the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. When we walk by the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit we do not eliminate the power of the nature of the flesh, we override it. The greater power has set us free from the lesser power. If we stop walking in the Spirit, we are overtaken again by the power of the flesh, the law of sin and death.
The flesh tries to imitate the Spirit. The nature of the flesh will tell you it can produce answers for you just as the Holy Spirit can. Yet, it is impossible for the flesh to produce spiritual answers. Your need of peace, joy, and love are all spiritual problems. They can only be solved by the production of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Jesus told Nicodemus that the new birth had to come from the Holy Spirit. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). Flesh can only produce flesh and Spirit can only produce spirit. Jesus repeated the law set forth in Genesis that everything produces after its own kind (Genesis 1:12). Since the flesh is temporary and will die one day, it can only produce answers that will die also. Because the Spirit is eternal, it produces answers that are eternal. This is why Paul said, “…to be carnally (fleshly) minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace” (Romans 8:6).
The flesh may produce an answer that looks like an answer from the Spirit, but the result is only temporary, it will die.
Do you remember the television series, Lost in Space? I watched it as a young person many years ago. One episode stayed with me through the years, which helps us to understand what Paul is teaching.
Dr. Smith left his water canteen by a large flower one day and went back to the spaceship. He later remembered where he had left it and when he went back to find it, there were two canteens. He realized the flower had some kind of reproductive power, so he left his phaser gun beside the flower. Sure enough, when he came back a few hours later, there were two phaser guns! He brought the flower back to the spaceship and began to put many items beside it. Day after day, each item from the ship placed next to the plant would be reproduced.
But within a few days, every duplicate item began to fall apart. When examined, they were found not to be genuine, but flowers that merely looked like the real canteens or phaser guns. They finally figured it out; a flower can only produce a flower.
The flesh can only produce flesh. It may look like joy, but it is only temporary happiness. It may appear to be love, but it is only temporary affection or lust. It may appear to be patience, but it is only tolerance. Real joy, love, and patience are spiritual products and can only come from the Holy Spirit inside of us. The eternal Holy Spirit produces eternal answers.
Galatians 4:22-24 gives us the best example. “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. Which things are an allegory.”
Paul called this story an allegory or an analogy. Although Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar have been dead for thousands of years, their story is still an example to us today of learning to walk in the Spirit.
Abraham brought Hagar back with him from Egypt when he tried to run away to that country to escape the famine in Canaan. Instead of trusting in God and the promises given, Abraham tried to solve his own problems and created a worse one. He almost did not make it out of Egypt after he lied to the Pharaoh about his wife Sarah. He told the king she was his sister and was available for the king to take into his harem. God had to give the king a dream and warn him about Sarah. When Abraham left Egypt, he took a maiden with him to take care of his home.
Quite a period of time passed and it looked like the promise of God was not going to pass for Abraham and Sarah to have a son. Abraham had been restored by God’s power and could have a child, but Sarah was still barren. Hagar walked through the house each day and the temptation arose in Abraham and Sarah for the son to come through Hagar. After all, a son is a son! Yet, they had forgotten God’s promise that in Isaac, their seed would be called. Through Sarah and Isaac, all nations would be blessed.
When Abraham had a son through the bondmaid, all hell broke loose in the home! Abraham definitely had a son, but not the son of promise. This son may have looked like any other boy, but he was not God’s spiritual answer. The flesh could only imitate the promise of the Spirit. Ishmael produced a natural race of people, the Arabs. They will one day be gone. Isaac, who eventually came through Sarah, produced a spiritual race of believers in the earth through his eventual offspring, the SEED, the Lord Jesus Christ.
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