Psalm 146:2 "I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live."

Friday, September 3, 2010

Living By The Spirit-----What It Means (In Part)

Hi Everyone,

This blog is going to cover a lot of material regarding (in part) what it means to LIVE by the Spirit. This is by no means exhaustive, but does cover a few of the basic passages that discover the topic. (Because of Scripture portions, this post could be a little lengthy, but I will do my best to be somewhat brief---hmmmm as verbose as I am that presents a challenge!)

So Romans 6-8 are INCREDIBLE chapters that tell us so much about the life of the believer and what happens when Christ saves us! I encourage you to go read them in their entirety because I don't have the room to quote their entirety here.

So to make this fairly short and yet attempt to explain it well and do justice to the Word of God, here are a few select passages and some of my thoughts to go along with them, for whatever my thoughts are worth.

Romans 8:1-17
"Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit."

My Comments: This first paragraph from Romans 1 tells us that if we are in Christ Jesus (have given Him our trust for salvation recognizing there is nothing we could everdo to be good enough before our Holy God to earn that gift), there is no condemnation for us. It tells us that we have been set free from the law of sin and death--once Christ is in our lives we still sin, but no longer have to choose to sin against God..... It tells us that in and of ourselves we couldn't fix our sin and make ourselves right with God and so Jesus died for us--and therefore, we are seen as righteous when we have placed our trust in Christ because He has died in our place--on our behalf. We no longer live according to the sinful nature, but according to the Spirit.

Continuing in Romans 8.....

"Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God."

My comments: There is a difference between those that live according to the Spirit and those that live according to the sin nature. They are opposites. If we are living according to the sin nature focus on the things that please the sin nature. But those that live according to the Spirit and are controlled by Him have life and peace, wanting to do what pleases the Lord. Apart from the Spirit of God in an individual's life indwelling them, it is impossible to please God.

Continuing in Romans 8

"You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you."

My comments: Paul (the author of the book of Romans, that God used to communicate through, by the Holy Spirit in writing it) reassures us who are believers and to the Roman believers of that day that they are not controlled by the sin nature but rather by the Spirit--if someone does NOT have the Spirit of God indwelling him or her, they are not a Christian (Believer who has placed their trust in the person of Jesus Christ and His all-sufficient death on the cross and resurrection from the dead.) If the Spirit of God is indwelling an individual, they are to COUNT THEMSELVES DEAD TO SIN--no longer choosing to live in it. They are considered dead to sin and yet alive in Christ Jesus--and there is NEW LIFE in Him!

Continuing in Romans 8

"Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation—but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

My Comments: maybe I got ahead of myself in the last comment section, but basically, because we are considered dead to sin and alive through His Spirit indwelling us, we HAVE AN OBLIGATION NOT TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE SIN NATURE. We are to consciously choose NOT TO SIN-moment by moment walking in obedience to the Spirit of God--in obedience and gratitude of what God has done for us! We are sons (and daughters) of God if we are being led by the Spirit. We did not receive a Spirit of fear, living in slavery to sin as we did before we knew Christ, but we have received a gift and the Spirit of sonship....BELONGING TO GOD!!! We cry out to God as our intimate and perfect Father, as would a child to his earthly father, in a good and healthy relationship context. In Him as God's children, we have an inheritance and are co-heirs with God--wow that is deep! (try explaining it!) We are to share in His sufferings---knowing that we will also share in His glory.

My thoughts:

Obviously the passage keeps going! This passage says SO MUCH!!! Very good instruction on living the Christian life and the importance of living by the Spirit and why that is so!

So essentially, part of LIVING BY THE SPIRIT means counting ourselves dead to sin and alive to God--walking with Him in obedience on a moment by moment basis choosing to NOT OBEY THE DEEDS OF THE SIN NATURE, BUT TO WALK IN OBEDIENCE DEPENDING ON THE SPIRIT OF GOD BECAUSE WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING APART FROM HIM, AND TO LIVE ACCORDING TO WHAT GOD ASKS OF US--NOT TO EARN HIS FAVOR, (If we are a believer, we already have that), BUT OUT OF OUR LOVE AND GRATITUDE TO HIM---WITH A DESIRE TO PLEASE HIM, AND YET KNOWING THAT WHILE WE ARE APART FROM HIM, and still tainted by sin, WE WILL FALL SHORT OF THAT. It's that moment by moment thing of recognizing that we do what we don't want to do (Romans 7)

So, HOW DO WE KNOW that we are LIVING ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT? One passage that immediately comes to mind is the following. Galatians 5:19-26 "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other."

So there is a BIG CONTRAST--are we living more like that first paragraph in Galatians 5 that I just posted (WHICH IS LIVING NOT ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT) or like the paragraph that follows? Many times, it might take you and me going before the Lord and honestly asking him to show us our hearts and search us, and being willing to accept what he shows us. IF THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS OBVIOUS IN OUR LIVES, HONESTLY AS GOD SEES US, it is probably a good indication that we are (in general) walking according to the Spirit, although each one of us, unfortunately, has areas of sin that still need the Lord's work. SIN IS A HEART ISSUE! But in Heaven one day all of our sin will no longer be an issue! LET ME TELL YOU THAT IS EXCITING!!!!!!!!!

Another verse that comes to mind is this one: Ephesians 5:1-21 (Ways that show evidence of living according to the Spirit are in bold) "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

(My comment: Following Christ's example)

Continuing Ephesians 5.....

"But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving.
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)0and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."

(My comment: Pray that those that don't yet KNOW Jesus would be woken up from the dead of their sins and trespasses.)

Continuing Ephesians 5.....

"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,6making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

So this is not exhaustive, but it gives the idea. My NEXT POST has much to do with this continuation.

Blessings to you all!

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