appearances

Rule Keeper or Grace Receiver

Romans 8:1-8

The “Law of Sin and Death” relies on us to maintain our own individual morality.  So we depend on the flesh controlling the flesh.  From the outside that may look successful.  But it falls short of perfection, which is the standard under the law.  What commonly occurs is regret that weighs us down, defiance against fate, dragging our sins along with us, getting into more “innocent sins”, becoming legalistic and judgemental, filled with doubt, and lack of stamina for the inevitable trials ahead of us.

(Romans 8:1-2 WEB) 1[There is] therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2For the law of the Spirit of life, in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 

Whereas the “law of the Spirit of life” makes us free from striving on our own to do what only the Spirit can do.  It’s only a matter of drawing close to God and inviting the Spirit to change us.

(Romans 8:3-4 WEB) 3For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4That the righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

Christ who took our sins upon Himself has freed us from our past and leaves us with only memories, not regrets (assuming we’ve made things right).  The Spirit prompts us to look forward in life and to trust in God for the outcome of our actions.

BUT: (Romans 8:5 WEB) For they that are according to the flesh, do mind the things of the flesh: but they that are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

This is the third time Paul has contrasted the “flesh” with the “Spirit”.  The next three verses describe the “carnal mind” and it’s motives..

(Romans 8:6-8 WEB) 6For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace: 7Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 8So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

How far can we push the limits of God’s Grace?  If we presume that God covers all our sins, including our deliberate sins, can we be confident that God is still with us?  Or will God leave us for a season until we repent?  And if we continue to sin deliberately will He take us back, if we were ever His to begin with?

Please don’t mistake me – we all fail.  But Jesus promised us living water that will never run dry.  We return each time to Jesus to receive His forgiveness and to dwell at His feet as Mary did.  This is faith, not that we’ve arrived; but that the One who is perfect still counts us in His flock.  

I don’t plan on a mansion or seeing all my family and friends; but when I leave this earth it’s Jesus I want to see. 

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