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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Romans 7:1-6 – Life in the Spirit

When Jesus died on the cross, he brought various benefits to his people. There is a transfer of ownership and they are delivered from the imprisonment of the law. He purchased those for whom he died, and they became his and are under his authority as the risen Lord. The contrast between the law and being united to Jesus is that the former had no power to change them whereas the latter relationship involves the Holy Spirit who has the power to bring ongoing transformation into their lives.

What is the new way of the Spirit that results in fruit being produced for God? It is connected to the new covenant that God in the Old Testament promised would come when the Messiah appeared. Jesus has come, so we now live in the era marked by the new covenant.

When we are converted, we are given new life by God. But what does that mean? It means that God’s law is written on our minds and hearts. This means more than knowing the Ten Commandments in our memories. Instead it means that our thinking and are affections are made new and we choose to do what pleases God. That is the obvious mark that a person belongs to the family of God. And such an individual will engage in several spiritual activities. Here are some of them.

This new way of the Spirit causes us to search the scriptures. After all, the Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible and one reason why he inspired its various authors was so that we would read it and discover what God wants us to know. Christians should grow in their knowledge of the Bible, and I don’t just mean in its factual details. They should experience it as a place where they meet Jesus in all his beautiful activities.

This new way of the Spirit causes us to speak to God and about him. Prayer is second nature to a Christian. It is wrong to say how long or how often a Christian should pray each day, because I think the Bible indicates he should be often in a spirit of prayer. Where does your mind go when you are by yourself? Does it speak to God about things? The Spirit will lead us to pray. And what do we have to say when we meet people?

The new way of the Spirit causes us to share with one another. Obviously we can share our things, but I suspect the Bible also tells us to share our time. Do we see one another apart from church meetings? If they are the only times we see each other, when do we do what God commends in the Book of Malachi when they that feared the Lord spoke often to one another and delighted him?

This new way of the Spirit is sacrificial. There is a sense in which the new way of the Spirit is more demanding than the old way of the written code. We are told many times in the Bible to do what costs us. Anyone can live in his or her comfort zones. That is not a sign of spiritual maturity. Ask ourselves if the Spirit challenges us to do something costly for Jesus and his kingdom.

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