Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"His Delight... Our Delight" Part 2

(A bit longer than usual, but an important consideration, I think. Thanks for your patience. Glen)

Flight - whether in bees, birds, airplanes or rockets - requires the temporary overcoming or transcending of the law of gravity by properly applied laws of aerodynamics. A similar principle applies to our present condition and experience regarding our walk of faithfulness with God.

"The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2).

In His perfect wisdom, God allowed the "law of sin and death" to remain in our earthly members when we believed (Romans 7:22). Our new birth in Christ did not glorify or translate us to Heaven, but rather left us upon the earth, albeit with a new heart and a new Spirit, the Holy Spirit, dwelling in the innermost temple of our being. "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" birthed a "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). United to the Spirit of Christ, this spiritual essence constitutes the person we most deeply are, to the degree that the Apostle Paul refers to this "new creature" as "I myself" (II Corinthians 5:17; Romans 7:25). Nevertheless, the law of sin remains in our yet to be glorified earthly humanity inherited from Adam, and it must be overcome if we are to walk in consistent godliness.

In essence, we must be who we are, as opposed to who we were. Believers "live in the Spirit." We must accordingly "walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). As Paul testified in the passage above, the Holy Spirit has liberated us to transcend the law of sin in our members, that is, to overcome temptation in the countless forms we face in our daily lives. However, just as a healthy bird or a powerful plane can remain on the ground, so can the believer fail to access "the power of His might" regarding the eagle flight of godliness promised by the Word of God (Ephesians 6:10; Isaiah 40:31). We can think, speak, act and relate as if God were not who He is, and as if we are not who we are in Him. Or, we can remain tragically and unnecessarily grounded.

How do we make sure this spiritual horror does not occur? The matter primarily involves knowledge and faith. First, we must know such blessed truth to be true. We must realize that in Christ, we are a superenergized vehicle or being of flight. As referenced in Part 1 of this consideration, the indwelling Holy Spirit imparts His delight as our delight in the depths of our spiritual selfhood. "I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). Throughout the New Testament, this gift of grace is affirmed, either directly or by implication. Paul even declared to Philemon that such truth is the very basis by which the Christian life is lived. "I thank my God, making mention of thee in my prayers... that the communication (shared participation) of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus" (Philemon 1:4; 6).

Upon this basis of Biblical knowledge, we then must respond in faith. We must believe. We must account that we are "alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11). I liken this to building an altar within our hearts whereupon we sacrifice our natural understanding and inclination in order to install the truth of Scripture as our guiding light. Just as we believed both the truth about the Lord Jesus and the truth about our lost, condemned selves in order to be born again, we now believe the truth about the Lord Jesus and our redeemed, resurrected selves in order to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6). Or, in context of our current consideration, we believe in order to fly! "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17).

A final - and solemn - point. We do God nor ourselves no favors by a false humility that focuses only on the weakness of our flesh, and the too many times we have unnecessarily allowed the law of sin to control us. Certainly we acknowledge the presence and possibility of sin in our earthly faculties. And we honestly and humbly confess our sins if they occur. However, even a cursory reading of the New Testament epistles plainly reveals our privilege and responsibility to affirm the truth of our Christ-constituted and empowered spiritual selves. Our blessed Savior was tortured to death and forsaken by God and man not only to forgive our sins and assure us of Heaven, but also to change the very heart of who we are. This He has done if we have received His free gift of salvation, and this we must consistently and increasingly believe in order to requite so great a sacrifice, made possible by so great a salvation and so great a Savior.

"He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him."
(II Corinthians 5:21)

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