Throughout the Old Testament there is law upon law that man seems to be required to keep. When it comes to the New Testament we discover the real purpose for these laws are to lead us to Christ. I guess the question is once we come to Christ then what is required of us?
For me the answer to this lies in the real meaning of grace. When the Apostle Paul taught grace people seemed to hear it as a “license to sin.” He said, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.” Paul recognized that the majority of people would respond with this question; “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase?” I think his response to this is marvelous he said, “May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?” He then goes on to question whether they really knew that they had been crucified with Christ. Obviously this leads me to think that the reason we think grace is a license to sin comes from our ignorance of being crucified with Christ.
Paul goes on to tell us in Galatians 2:20 “it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me.” When Paul tells us we have been crucified with Christ he is also saying when Christ arose we arose, and now it is really Christ, by way of the Holy Spirit, living our lives. I know that may sound heavy or confusing but let me use one of Jesus’ examples and see if it clarifies anything.
Jesus said in John 15 “I am the vine and you are branches…apart from me you can do nothing.” Humor me if you will. If a tree produced fruit because it was commanded to how would that happen? You might say, to the branches, I command you to bear fruit! Now if you thought about this at all you would understand that in commanding the branch you were really giving the command to the vine, or tree, right? I mean the branch can’t possibly obey that commandment can it?
This is the same type of thing for us in the New Testament. When God says to us “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” He doesn’t for one minute think we can, does he? As a branch joined to him, by way of Christ, now that’s another story. So when there is a command given in the New Testament I think it is safe to say it is really a command given to Christ within us. He is the only real fruit producer and the only one even capable of loving others, after all God is love.
Let me end with a couple quotes from The Apostle Paul he said, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.” You see when the Spirit of God takes up residence within you it isn’t a matter of sitting around doing nothing. On the contrary you will be busy doing things it just isn’t you that is the prime doer. It is the grace of God, by way of his Spirit within, that inspires, motivates, moves and accomplishes what he wants in my life. When I sense God commanding me to do something I know I, of myself, am unable, but I also know he has placed Christ within me and he can and will accomplish all God asks of me. “For I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you (me) will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” I thank God that HE who began the work will be the one to complete it!
Written by Louie