Friday, September 07, 2012

Implications of Being in Christ - Part 4

We've been looking at the implications of being in Christ. Anyone who has truly trusted Christ for salvation has been placed into Christ. Jesus Christ then becomes that person's representative and the decisions Jesus has made become the decisions of all of his people.

Last time we learned that when Christ died on the cross, those who are in Christ died with him there. One of the implications of that is that we are therefore dead to the law. I referred you to several references of Scripture that show that this is what the Bible is teaching. We are in the process now of looking at the implications of our death to the law.

The fourth implication is that I am free to serve God with my whole heart by faith because the law has been removed as the means of growing in my Christian life. The bondage of fear in serving is removed. God has taken it upon Himself to do the sanctifying.

When we find ourselves slipping, most of us appeal to law again to get us on the right track. What do I mean by that? We give ourselves more rules to follow. We vow to be more disciplined, to read our Bibles x amount of minutes a day, to pray more, etc. But these things do not work because we are basically trying to talk our sinful nature into doing spiritual things. What we need to do is to accept by faith the fact that the old nature died with Christ. It may not feel like it, but it is the truth.

In the Old Testament, God gave promises as to what he would do under a new covenant that he would introduce. The old covenant had proved its point which is that no one can keep it. The laws and way of life under the old covenant showed that even a superficial keeping of it was impossible and that God's standards were so much higher that an entirely different approach was needed.

Jeremiah 31:33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

Let me summarize these passages this way. God is promising that in the new arrangement with people he is going to do a thorough regenerating work. He is going to remove the heart of stone, he is going to cleanse from all filthiness and forgive every sin and transgression. In addition, he is going to put within his people a new heart and a new spirit. In addition he is going to give them his Spirit. With these new resources his law will be written on their hearts and minds so that they don't need an external commandment written on tablets of stone or parchment or paper. He will cause his people to walk in his statutes and they will keep his commandments. It will be an internal change that will provide the internal motivation to do the right thing.

This is why being dead to the law will not produce anarchy. The question is, has this happened to you?
Here are some additional passages of Scripture you may want to study: 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; Galatians 3:3;Philippians 1:6; Colossians 2:20-23; Hebrews 2:14, 15

The fifth implication of being dead to the law is that it allows me to live in the Spirit, bearing Spiritual fruit for God. In Romans 7 he compares all of this to marriage. If a woman is married to a man, she cannot legally marry another, but if the first husband dies, she is free to marry the other man. In the same way, having died in Christ, the law over us is canceled and we are free from its bondage and we are free to be married to God, as it were. We can bear God's “children”, namely the fruits of his character such as love, joy and peace. The thing to realize here is that bearing fruit is a natural result of our union with Christ and God's work in our lives.

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