TEACHER: Ken Hicks
SCRIPTURES: Romans 7:14-8:4
BOTTOM LINE: The Exchanged Life … life In-Christ … and walking In His Spirit, is a life of restful activity!
QUESTION: How do we learn to REST at a High Rate of Speed? How do we walk In the Spirit and Presence of God in our lives?
Life In-Christ not only gives us new life, but when we are walking In-Christ. We don’t need any external set of Law’s or anything else to help us navigate the daily journey of Faith. Remember, Paul said he needed the Law not to keep him FROM sinning, but to expose his SIN in a way that God could do a work In-Him along the way.
And here, the last ½ of chapter 7, Paul continues to try to help us see why as Followers of Jesus we are not to live under the Law. We can have a High Regard for it without having to be enslaved or entrapped or using it as some sort of Behavioral Modification process.
And I think as Paul closes out this section here, he lays out 3 things that were really helpful for me:
- Behavior that Baffles Us – 14-20
- The Law that Limits Us – 21-25
- The Force that Frees Us – 8:1-4
BEHAVIOR that Baffles Us
I had this illustration come to mind about this Tension of Law & Grace: when thinking about PAINT. Have you ever been somewhere where there was a sign that said, Wet Paint – Don’t Touch? What did you do? What did you want to do?
It’s crazy isn’t it? It’s crazy how almost every single time I see that sign, I want to reach out and touch the wall. And then I look at the wall, and see all kinds of other fingerprints where other folks have touched the wall too right?
But all day every day, we are surrounded by walls that have been painted. We all walked down the halls to get here, and I don’t see everyone trying to touch the walls. They don’t have dirty fingerprints all over them, we just walk right on down the hall and the walls still look beautiful.
And it’s UH-MAZING, how similar that is when I’m wrestling w/ the Law & Grace. When the Law says Don’t Touch the Paint, it’s like this innate thing inside me that is just drawn to touch the paint. But when I’m resting in God’s Grace in my life, I just walk right on down the hall, in God’s Spirit and Presence in my life, and crazy enough, I don’t need a sign to leave the walls alone.
The LAW That Limits Us
Here’s Paul, analyzing this Baffling condition of Defeat, and the 1st thing he says is So I find this LAW … I discover that I want to do good, and evil is right there with me.
This is The Law of Temptation, and there is nothing alarming about it! And I think one of the significant challenges Followers of Jesus often face is that we think that somehow, because we’ve been restored and made righteous in the eyes of God, that somehow we are going to be delivered from Temptation … and our Flesh.
But Paul simply faces that fact that this is a Law. Satan is still around to allure us, and through the Flesh try to tempt us, and trap us.
For that matter … even Jesus didn’t escape this did He? He was subject to Temptation just as we were … and what we see thru the life of Jesus in one sense is that Temptation is a part of the process … learning how to refuse evil and choose Good!
So … it’s always there … But it’s not the Problem!
The FORCE That Frees Us
Here’s what happens … when we finally get to the end of ourselves, both in not doing evil and in trying to DO Good so to speak … then we’re FINALLY ready to rest upon the work of ANOTHER to do everything through us that needs to be done.
We’re no longer responding to the Love Motive that is Christ did something for me, therefore, I must do something for Him …
… but now … we are living from the Life Motive … the only commitment that will hold up … is that which springs from our reliance upon His life In-Us.
The 1st words Paul dials into here … therefore, there is now no condemnation … #BOOM! How grateful are we for those words?
When we discover our inability to serve God by much zeal and much prayer and much study … and we awaken to our frustrations and our amazement … then we are tempted to quit being a Christian … and we cry out … God, what’s the use? I’ve tried and tried and tried … and I get nowhere. So why try anymore?
Our heart condemns us … and we feel terrible … John says, if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, for He knows all things. [1 John 3:20]
Some of us can relate to this … maybe you’ve suffered from The Law of Myopia … which makes your eyes unable to see what other people with normal eyesight can see. Maybe you struggled through it for a while … tried to ignore it … squinting your way through school or work for a while … and the harder you tried, the worse it got!
Until finally … you discovered another Law … The Law of Lens Correction … and whether thru some Glasses or Contacts … or Lasik surgery … without any effort on your own part … The Law of Lens Correction works to cancel out The Law of Myopia … and now you can see with better than normal vision even …
All you have to do is make sure you put your Glasses on or your Contacts in … and all throughout the day, you don’t have to think about it anymore. They are continually correcting your eyesight … and The Law of Lens Correction has set your FREE from The Law of Myopia.
And the same way … The Law of Spirit of Life In-Christ sets us FREE from the Law of Sin & Death.
This is The Exchanged Life … life In-Christ … and walking In His Spirit … is a life of restful activity! It’s crazy isn’t it? Seems so opposite doesn’t it?
It’s not just sitting around waiting on orders from God … it’s facing life w/ all its mystery and fascination … with a continual recognition of and constant praise and thanksgiving for the fact that within … is the indwelling life of Christ … ready to do instantly though me … all that I need to do!