"THE ANSWER, THE SPIRIT FILLED LIFE"
Intro. Last week we dealt with the problem. What God has commanded and required of us is good, it is fair, it is holy. I have no argument with the law of God. I wish all people lived by it especially me. The problem is manifold,
1. The law is spiritual and I am carnal.
2. My carnal nature is sinful and rebels against the law of God. My flesh wars against my spirit so that I cannot do what I wish.
3. In my flesh dwells no good thing.
4. Sin dwells in me, that is, I have a sinful nature.
5. I delight in the law of God, but there is another law in me that wars against the desires of my mind. It is the law of sin that is in my body.
6. Is it possible to live a holy and pure life?
7. Thus far we have seen two laws.
a. The law of God in which I delight, and to which I consent.
b. The law of sin that controls my body, and keeps me from fulfilling the law of God.
I. CHAPTER 8 INTRODUCES US TO YET ANOTHER LAW WHICH IS THE ANSWER TO MY FRUSTRATION THAT COMES FROM MY INABILITY TO KEEP THE LAW OF GOD. "FOR THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HAS MADE ME FREE FROM THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH." THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE.
A. Jesus had said to His disciples, "I have come that you might have life, and that more abundantly."
1. How can I obtain that abundant life?
a. By inviting the risen Christ to dwell in me.
b. Jesus said, "In that day you shall know that I am in the Father, and you are in Me and I am in you."
c. The life of Christ in me is stronger than the life of my flesh. "Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
d. Jesus said, "Behold I stand at the door and knock, and if any may hears My voice and will open the door, I will come in and sup with him, and he with Me." He comes in by invitation. You must open the door.
2. Jesus said to the disciples, "I am the vine, and you are the branches, He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit, for without Me you can do nothing."
a. This is the problem, we have been trying to keep the spirit of the law without Him.
b. We have surely proved the words of Jesus to be true. For we have been able to do nothing in our own strength. Though we have struggled and tried our best, we have come short of the glory of God.
3. Jesus also spoke to His disciples about His words abiding in them.
a. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you."
b. Further down in that same chapter He said, "Now you are clean through the words that I have spoken unto you."
c. Jesus tied the Spirit together with His words. He said, "It is the Spirit that makes alive, My words are Spirit and they are life."
d. The Psalmist asked, "How can a young man cleanse his ways?" He then answered his own question, "By taking heed to the word of God."
4. Thus God has provided for me, the indwelling Spirit, the indwelling Christ, and the indwelling word.
II. THE PRINCIPLE THEN IS THAT THROUGH THE HIGHER LAW OF LIFE IN CHRIST, THE LAW OF SIN AND DEATH IS NO LONGER OPERATIVE.
A. Let us illustrate with the law of gravity. We may not understand how it works, but we know it works. Newton's theory of gravity was that the gravitational force between two objects is proportional to the size of their masses. They speak of gravitational force rather than weight because the weight of an object on the earth is only the force that the earth exerts upon that object.
1. According to the law of gravity, this book should fall to the floor, yet it is not falling.
2. Does that mean that the law of gravity is disproved?
3. If the law of gravity is valid, why is not the book falling to the floor.
4. A higher law than the law of gravity is at work holding the book in suspension.
5. It is the law of life.
6. In the same token, the law of sin and death in my body is overcome, that is no longer rules in me because of the law of life in Christ Jesus. The higher law of life has kept the law of sin and death from prevailing.
B. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh. vs 3
1. What could the law not do?
a. It could not give me any power to keep it.
b. Thus it could not make me righteous.
2. If the law is holy, righteous and good, why could it not make me righteous?
a. The weakness of my flesh.
b. As with the words of Jesus to Peter, "The spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak."
c. As with the confession of Paul, "For to will is present with me, but how to perform that which is good I find not."
3. As we pointed out last week, the problem is not with the law of God the problem is the law of sin in my flesh.
C. God sending His Own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh.
1. Note it was in the likeness of sinful flesh.
2. He in all points was tempted just as we are, yet without sin.
3. One day He asked the Pharisee's, "Which of you can prove Me guilty of sin?"
D. "And becoming an offering for sin, condemned sin in the flesh."
1. Paul said, "And God has made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of of God through Him."
2. That is, Jesus has taken our sins, and granted us His righteousness.
E. "That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us."
1. Not by us. That can never be.
2. By the life of Christ dwelling in me God now sees me in Christ, and thus righteous.
3. That is why the chapter begins with those wonderful words, "There is therefore now, no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus."
4. So this righteousness of the law is fulfilled in me as I walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
III. THIS IS WHAT MAKES CHRISTIANITY DISTINCT FROM ALL RELIGIONS.
A. Many of the religious leaders of history have pointed to the value of the spiritual life.
1. Buddha had concluded that the fleshly desires were the enemy to true peace and tranquility.
2. His whole philosophy was that if you could just be free from your fleshly desires, you will have obtained Nirvana.
3. He established the laws and rules that one was to follow in order to become free from the fleshly desires.
4. He pointed man in the right direction, but he could not give them the power to walk that path, so that there is always the striving for, yet the falling short of the goal.
B. Jesus pointed to the path of the Spirit, and basically declares, "You cannot fulfill the requirements. I have fulfilled the requirements, so I will come and dwell in you and as I live in you I will do for you what you haven't been able to do for yourselves."
C. Time does not allow me to expound on this portion of the chapter so let me just read if for you.
For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace.
Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness.
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.