September 20, 2017
In order to be “led by the Spirit,” we must be “filled” with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). The Spirit is given to us when we receive Christ as Savior. This is the “Spirit of adoption” (Rom. 8:14-16), which identifies us as children of God. Being adopted, filled and led, we are enabled to “walk” in the Spirit. The Spirit-filled life is under grace. But the one who strives according to self-effort, which is the flesh, is still under the law and its curse, which is death. The Spirit works from the inside-out, leading and empowering the believer, but the law is external and has no ability to energize adherence. Concerning this, the author of Hebrews wrote, ‘But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them”‘ (Heb. 10:15-16). This new covenant of grace has already come in Christ Jesus!
September 19, 2017
It is faith, not the flesh, that takes hold of true righteousness. And it is the Spirit that makes faith effective and righteousness real. For the flesh strives to earn righteousness through law-keeping, which is a rejection of the grace of Christ. Those who live by the works of the flesh cannot produce righteousness. But those who live by the Spirit are enabled to bear the fruit of the Spirit by faith in the finished work and righteousness of Christ. As Edward Mote wrote in the first stanza of his famous hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness!”
September 20, 2016
Fruit is singular. One fruit with nine seeds, each a part of a triad of triads. These are not works. We can’t do them. They are evidence of being connected to the Vine. Abiding in Christ, we increasingly bear these character traits.
September 20, 2014
We are to be like executioners, dealing cruelly with our own sin. When we see sin in others, we do not hesitate to judge, assigning it to their character. Yet, when we see it in ourselves, we make excuses for it, claiming some external cause or momentary lapse. Or we go the opposite way, and make sin our identity, calling ourselves by sin’s name (thief, liar, adulterer, addict, murderer…). Neither our tendency to condemn sin in others, nor to excuse or identify with it in ourselves is right. Those “who belong to Christ” count their sin nature dead with Christ, so that they might live in Christ. Counting sin dead, it is not excused, nor is it allowed to live and become our identity. Our identity is in Christ!
September 20, 2013
Our liberty in Christ is not license to sin. Receiving His righteousness we have been set free from the external law written on stone tablets and received the Spirit of the law written internally on our hearts. We are not called to legalism but to love. We are not under law, but under grace. Yet, this freedom is not to dabble in sin, but it is freedom to serve God and one another. As Victor Frankl once wrote of America, “Our statue of LIBERTY on the East Coast should be supplemented by a statue of RESPONSIBILITY on the West Coast.”
September 20, 2012
Receiving Christ we are freed from slavery to sin and from the condemnation of the law. Why would we waste this freedom to go back to living as slaves? No, we are free now to willingly follow Christ our Redeemer and to love God and others as He directs. Beware of flaunting this freedom with permissiveness or losing it to legalism. You have been set free to follow Christ.