New Life - New Things

I'm going to take you somewhere you've probably never been before. Ready? All right, follow me. Let’s climb into believer Ben Dover’s ear. Don't worry, he washed. Watch your step over that little drum-looking thing right there; he needs that. Only a little further down this tunnel. Ah, here we are, the brain room, or "Ben Dover Central" as I prefer to call it. See that big list over there tacked on the wall of his cerebral cortex? That's his "O.K. Index." Take a moment to read it over:

MARRIAGE - OK - Rough at times but not always.

KIDS - Not OK - Daughter's boy-crazy and son hates school.

JOB - OK - I don’t really like the work but it’s better than nothing.

MONEY - Not OK - Lots of unforeseen expenses, the cost of living keeps rising but my income stays the same.

PARENTS - OK - Healthy for now, but well into their 70's and 80's

HEALTH - Not OK - Inner ear problems <grin>.

CARS - OK I suppose - 35,000 miles on our old warn out two year old Mercedes, but our brand new Hummer is still in pretty good shape.

AND ON... AND ON... AND ON . . .

You have no idea how many times a day Ben comes in here and checks on that list; for that matter, Ben has no idea how many times a day he comes in here and checks on that list! For most of his life, Ben’s sense of well being ("OK-ness") has been based on how this list totals up. If there are more O.K.'s than Not O.K.'s, life is, well, ah…O.K.! But, if he finds it tallies up to a negative O.K. equation, life can feel pretty harsh for believer Ben Dover. The list is continually changing. It never stays the same. Kind of like an emotional ticker-tape machine; that's why he’s constantly coming here; he never knows when his emotional "investments" might plunge.

Nutty as all of this may sound; I'd wager that Ben’s not the only one who has a list like this. Maybe ours is prioritized differently or has different listings, but it's probably there. What we value as important in “our lives” is carefully catalogued away somewhere deep inside of us. Because those people and things on our lists are important to us in some way, their "O.K.-ness" directly affects our "O.K.-ness." One problem in living this way is that most of what we call life rarely stays O.K. for very long. Be honest, it doesn't take a life threatening crisis to throw us off balance. A fight with our spouse or rumblings at the office about downsizing, or a funny knocking sound coming from under the hood of the car can send us dashing back to our lists to see how we're doing.

God knows how we're put together (not too surprising; after all, He is the Creator). If our "O.K.-ness" rests on the things, people, and events in and around “our life,” then we are bound for a great deal of stress. If, however, our "O.K.-ness" rests on Christ AND CHRIST ALONE, then we can be in the middle of a sea of "non-O.K.-ness," yet still know the peace of being more O.K. than we ever knew from a list. It's not bad to want to be O.K.; however, expecting something to deliver the same peace and security that only God offers in Christ will always leave us wanting (See John 14:27).

So, is believer Ben Dover all finished with going to his "O.K. Index?" Honestly, not yet. But every time he does, he sees a very short list superimposed over his long list. The short list simply quotes his lord, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.”(John 14:1).

New Life Authority and Power

Romans 8:2 - “For the law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

By using the little word "for" The Apostle Paul signals here at the beginning of verse 2 that He means to give the basis or foundation of verse 1. He is answering the question why those in Christ Jesus have "no condemnation." His answer is, "Because the law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

This verse mentions two laws. Illustration: the law of gravity and the law of aerodynamics. The law of gravity says that a large heavy metal object in the sky must fall to the earth (the airplane must crash!). But the law of aerodynamics is a higher law, and overcomes the law of gravity, and enables the heavy metal airplane to fly. The law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus supersedes the law of sin and death (See Ephesians 2:6)!

The usage of “law” here in Romans 8:2 is dealing with authority and power not written rules or code.

Romans 6:18 and 22 speak of being made free from sin by Christ. Our death to sin in Christ has freed us from its dominion; we have been made free from sin and its authority and power over us. In the seventh chapter (verses 1-6) we see that we have been made free from the law (See also 1Corinthians 15:56). Being united to the living Christ we are free from the law, we are in union with Christ, that we might now serve in newness of spirit and not in the oldness of the letter (the law, 7:4-6). In addition, those two passages (Romans 6:18, 22 and 7:4-6) reveal that being made free from sin and the law, being united with Christ, in its objective reality, does bear fruit when believed (See also Romans 5:17-21 and 8:10). Let every one who knows what it is to be dead to sin and alive to God, to be free from sin and a bond-slave unto God, to be freed from the law and to be completely united and identified with Christ, to see the Love of God and the Power of God unleashed in their present condition - in their walk and in their stand, as a complete experience of their completeness in Christ.

THE LAW OF THE SPIRIT OF LIFE IN CHRIST JESUS HATH MADE ME FREE

The phrase “Hath made me free” is one word in the Greek and it communicates 1) that ‘the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus’ has DEFINITELY freed us, and 2) both the state of being free and what keeps us free remains true forevermore. The law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus freed us from the law of sin and death - we are free! Free for how long? Forever!

However, our freedom is not just about the destruction of bonds, it is also about the restoration of God’s order wherein we are free to fulfill the full range of potentialities inherent in that order, loving God and loving one another. Conversely, to use one’s freedom for an opportunity for the flesh is just a different form of slavery (See Galatians 5:13). Our unification with Christ is intended to be experienced and shared; our newness of life in Christ is intended to be living inward and outward “by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left” (2Corinthians 6:7)!

As Romans Chapter 8 unfolds we see more and more clearly that acceptance of our complete unification with Christ and each other is central to walking in demonstration of God’s Love and Power, inseparable from God being at work within us.

As we perceive what a distinct progression God’s word makes in Romans 8 upon the previous four chapters, from death unto life; as we see how much of this chapter deals with us walking in unity with God and each other (as a result of adhering to the wonderful revelation of new life in Christ), we begin to see the beauty of Romans 1:17 unfold, “from faith to faith”; moreover, Matthew 9:29 becomes very true of our experience indeed, “according to your faith be it unto you”. When we submit to all that is true of us in Christ, then all that is true of us in Christ becomes that which dominates our present condition. This is “the law of the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”, this is the divine decree that frees us from “the law of sin and death”. As we become Christ minded we become Christ manifested. As divinely perfect and powerful is the new life we have in Christ Jesus, so also is the truth that reveals that life.

HOW GREAT THOU ART (Anne Murray)

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