In this sermon, Pastor Babij continues to discuss what the Ten Commandments, and the law of God in general, mean for believers. Specifically, Pastor Babij explains how God’s law shows believers what grateful service to God looks like and moves believers to obey according to the superior Law of Christ.
We’re going to continue with the use the law of God to believers. Let’s pray:
Father, we thank You for giving us the Lord, Jesus Christ. We thank You, Lord, for Your holy spirit dwells all those who have believed in Christ. He’s our down payment up until the day of redemption in which we will have new bodies in Your presence, and we will be singing and glorifying Your name in ways that are unhindered like in this life. Lord, even now we can sing to You, we can praise You, we can focus our attention upon You, and we can think and meditate upon the great truths and Scripture Lord. We need this so desperately in our world to be able to think the way You want us to, to be able to know where we stand before You, and to be able to have the promises that we can hold to by faith. Thank You, Lord, for all these things contained in the word of God that You’ve given to us and that You’ve protected over these years. Lord, all the promises are ours who know you. Lord, I pray from today until the day you take us, or you come, we would be faithful to live for you and serve you from our heart. I pray that you would give us a greater understanding this morning from Your word. In Christ, I pray. Amen.
As we consider the Ten Commandments, we’re looking back at how it motivates the believer to think in a certain way. First, it is to show believers Christ’s love to their souls and how He died and suffered in their place.
Secondly, we saw that the laws useful to show believers the inexpressible deficiency in their holiness. Underneath that we saw three things. Believers were delusional, unrighteous sinners that have to be saved by another’s righteousness. No one could be saved by their own righteousness. The destiny of the Christian is holiness, and the desire for the Christian is heaven.
In conclusion, the ten commandments could not save anyone, it could not sanctify anyone, and it could not secure a place in heaven for anyone because the law was never designed to do that. The Bible says there’s no problem with the law. The law is good. The problem is our sinful flesh. That was the problem.
Thirdly, the use of the law to the believer would be to instruct believers. What grateful service they owe to Christ and His father. 2 Corinthians 4:5:
For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus’ sake.
When we look back and realize that we have been saved from the condemnation of the law, it stirs up in us a thankfulness and a gratitude to want to serve God in the right manner. If I were to personally ask you: are you thankful? How would you reply? You may say:
For the most part, yes, I’m thankful.
What if I were to further ask you: to whom are you thankful, for what are you thankful, and how often are you thankful? How would you answer that? In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it gives us an imperative reminder:
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
The will of God for you is to be thankful, so if I rephrase the question and asked you: have you honestly given thanks to God in everything? For that less than good health, or for your unrewarding job. For your less-than-ideal marriage or ongoing family struggle. For your unstable financial situation. For not having your prayers answered just the way you would have liked. For unfulfilled dreams and unreached goals. For broken or difficult relationships. For lost opportunities.
Does anyone really need to be reminded to give thanks when all is well? Not really. Anyone can do that when there’s good health, abundant food, and a secure and rewarding job. The problem is that even then we forget to give thanks because we take for granted and we expect all those things should be given in life. Yet, they are all God’s blessings. The word of God says in its wisdom literature in Ecclesiastes 7:13-14:
Consider the work of God,
For who is able to straighten what He has bent?
14In the day of prosperity be happy,
But in the day of adversity consider—
God has made the one as well as the other
So that man will not discover anything that will be after him.
Are we going to be thankful at both ends of the spectrum? We need to learn to be thankful in the day of prosperity and we need to learn to be thankful in the day of adversity.
A famous painting depicted this subject of ingratitude. It shows a huge statue which has inscribed, at the base, the word "ingratitude". Surrounding this gigantic statue are men and women throwing stones at it. Yet, if you look carefully at this particular painting, one will notice that each of the persons in the picture has cradled in his left arm a tiny replica of the statue also marked ingratitude.
The lesson is: though each of us detest ingratitude, there is an element of it in every one of us. We need to conclude that there is much ingratitude in our life then genuine gratitude. It was the late. Dr. D James Kennedy, who was the founder of evangelism explosion, said:
The slide from godliness into wickedness begins with ingratitude in the beginning of a life of sin in the heart of any person. Indeed, it is one of the very worst vices.
On the other hand, the truly grateful person would be considered a godly person. Godliness and gratitude go hand-in-glove. Scripture tells us that thankfulness is the most excellent sign of being filled with the spirit of God.
Remember, part of now being a Christian is that when it comes to the law, we have the Holy Spirit living in us, which enables us and gives us divine power to actually live out the commands of Scripture – to obey the Lord. Ephesians 5:18-20, it says:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, it says:
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
When I say who are you thankful for, I mean are you thankful to God? Are you thankful to God because He’s the creator, because He’s your Lord, and because He’s your Savior, are you thankful every day for those very facts?
It is true that a grateful person is a godly person, and godliness and gratitude in all things go hand-in-hand. However, it has been said that thankfulness is the least of the virtues and ingratitude the worst of the vices. It is probably thought to be an easy virtue, yet there are few people who are distinguished for their thankfulness.
What is thankfulness anyway? Well, thankfulness is actually three things. Thankfulness is first of all a feeling, a heartfelt emotion. It is the feeling or emotion of gratitude expressed toward God in body language, in speech, and in the song of our heart. A Webster’s dictionary says that gratitude is a feeling of thankful appreciation for favors or benefits received.
It is a gratitude to God for His mercy. God not giving you what you deserve because He had pity on you. So, it is a feeling resigned and content for all God does to us and for us. We are bound to show this kind of gratitude by our actions, by our words, and by our demeanor.
Secondly, thankfulness is a cheerful obedience. In the text, it says:
in everything give thanks
It is a command, or an imperative, in Scripture. It is the most acceptable method of cheerful obedience. Everyone who serves God must begin to praise God for a grateful heart is the mainspring of obedience. Since it is Father’s Day today, Father’s, this is one characteristic you need to teach your children. Teach them to be thankful in thought, word, or deed.
If you do that yourself, you will teach them to be thankful, especially if they see it in your life every day, if they see it in your relationship with other people, if they see it when you’re talking about the Lord, and when you come to church. They see that you’re thankful.
Being thankful has a way of just pushing out other things. Even an irksome and laborious duty, there’s a cheerfulness. In sickness and pain, there’s patience. With God’s help, we are able to praise Him while in the trouble or pain, not only after it’s over. Psalm 86:12 tells us:
I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, And will glorify Your name forever.
Thirdly, thankfulness would be that of remembrance. In the English, the word "thank" derives the same word think. It is related to the word thought. In fact, some entomologist believe that thank is simply the past tense of think as drank is the past tense of drink. If we think, then we will thank. The problem is that most of us are thoughtless; therefore, we are thankless as well.
We have so many things to be thankful for, and God would cause us to be thinkful people, so that we may be thankful people as well. That we might think and not forget.
In Scripture, there are many passages of Scripture that really direct us to be thankful by remembering Philippians 1:3 says:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you
Isaiah 12:4 says:
And in that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the LORD, call on His name. Make known His deeds among the peoples; Make them remember that His name is exalted.”
It seems like we tend to forget to thank God about what He’s doing in our life. Psalm 45:17 says:
I will cause Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the peoples will give You thanks forever and ever.
In other words, be thankful so you can pass on thankfulness to the next generation. In Timothy, it tells us that in the last days people will be ungrateful. God’s people should be maintaining a thankful spirit about everything, living it out, and passing it on to our kids, so they can pass it on as well.
No matter how wicked or far from God our generation or country gets, there’s still going to be a remnant of people that are thankful because they have the truth, they have a relationship with Christ, they know where they stand, and they know what’s coming. Because of that knowledge, they are thankful, and they never forget.
A spirit-led believer never forgets the goodness of God ever. In fact, you wake up with it and go to sleep with it. You drive in your car with it, and you go everywhere with it. It is very healthy to be thankful, and for what? Well, we remember that we have been delivered from the law’s consequence, condemnation, and the eternal benefits of the law for God’s grace that’s bestowed on others. 1 Corinthians 1:4 says:
I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus
Then, being thankful for the goodness and mercy of God. Psalm 107:1
Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
What about for conversion? Thanking God for not only your conversion, but the conversion of other people. Romans 6:17-18 says:
But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, 18and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.
Then, 2 Thessalonians 2:13 says:
But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
Wow, that family secret when you come to the word of God and you are wowed because God chose you before the foundation of the world. That’s pretty humbling. If that doesn’t cause thankfulness in you, I don’t know what’s going to. Think about that truth that your mind fully can’t wrap itself around – God has chosen you to salvation… wow!
What about for the deliverance through Christ. It says in Romans 7:24-25:
Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!
What about being thankful for victory over sin and death? 1 Corinthians 15:56-57 says:
The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
What about being thankful for the providence of God? In Isaiah 25:1, he says:
O LORD, You are my God;
I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders,
Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.
What about being thankful for the word of God? Sometimes we take for granted the things that are the closest to us and that we have all around us, which is the word of God. Psalm 119:62 says:
At midnight I shall rise to give thanks to You Because of Your righteous ordinances.
Then, Psalm 138:2 says:
I will bow down toward Your holy temple And give thanks to Your name for Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word according to all Your name.
The word of God is magnified to the level of God’s name. It’s equal to it. That’s a tremendous passage of Scripture. See, He has given us life, maintains us in being saved, to those who know Christ, given us to be children, and made us heirs of eternal glory. Is that something to be thankful for? Colossians 1:12 says:
Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
What about being thankful for faithful brethren or faithful soldiers that you want in your foxhole when the bullets start flying? This is what Paul says about some of his warriors in Romans 16:3-4:
Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, 4who for my life risked their own necks, to whom not only do I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles; 5also greet the church that is in their house. Greet Epaenetus, my beloved, who is the first convert to Christ from Asia.
He was thankful for people who were in the trenches with him through the thick and thin. Just being faithful to what they know is right from the word of God and just continuing on no matter what happens. You can count on them. When trouble comes, they are there. That’s the kind of people you want around you in the Christian life, and those are the ones you can give the greatest thanks for.
Also, we have temporary benefits such as food. We pry and give think when we have food to eat. We have clothing on our back, a home, and a bed to sleep in. We have a car to drive, a place to go to work, and a place to go to school. Even in trouble, sickness, and tribulation, these are all areas that we ought to give God thanks.
What results from this kind of thanks? God is honored. When the living creatures gave glory, honor, and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, God is honored. Also, protection from sin. A thankful person knows how to hedge against sinfulness because he’s so thankful to God.
His sin is magnified, and he wants to repent, confess it before the Lord, and thanking the Lord that He’s taken care of that sin also. Even effective evangelism not by crusty tempers or by sour looks, but a life of testimony that flows with thankfulness to God gets people’s attention.
You should not be thankful, but you are, and why? Then, you tell them why you are, and you give an answer of the hope that lies within you. Romans 1:8
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, because your faith is being proclaimed throughout the whole world.
They carry out this most delightful duty. No person can give thanks always to God through Jesus Christ until they have a new heart. It’s impossible. No person can give thanks to God until they have a sense of God. It says in Psalm 52:9:
I will give You thanks forever, because You have done it, And I will wait on Your name, for it is good, in the presence of Your godly ones.
No one can give thanks until they have a sense of complete reconciliation to God. God is your friend, not your enemy. No one can give thanks to God until they acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only way to be accepted by God, He is the only way, the truth, and the life. No one else.
No one can fully obey this command until self is dethroned. You must surrender yourself to the will of God. Please save us from ever falling into a murmuring spirit. That is clearly not God’s will at any time for any reason. Instead, that we would gratefully speak much about what God has done and given in our own life. We have ample number of things that God has done in our life to be able to talk about it with others.
In other words, the law instructs believers to be grateful to God for becoming a Christian and the opportunity to serve Him after they become a believer. Now that brings me back to that question that we have been looking at, which leads me back to the following question: Are Christian’s under the law or not? I would have to say no and I will qualify that since it always has to be qualified. In Romans 7:1-6, Paul gives an illustration to prove his point:
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? 2For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. 3So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man. 4Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God. 5For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. 6But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.
The word of God tells Christians that they died to the law. That is, Christians are no longer under the law. Christians are under grace because the law was fulfilled in Christ perfectly. God is now 100% for you. Christ covered all your sin and took all this condemnation, so the law has no ground for condemnation.
The question the apostle Paul raises later on is: shall we then continue in sin that grace may abound? Of course, he answered: may it never be. if you die to sin, then how can you live in it? That would be his conclusion.
The new birth is the writing of the law on the heart. We are no longer under it; it is under us. We become obedient people not by taking out our list of do’s and don’ts and following it, but by the Holy Spirit’s transformation of our minds with the word of God. Christians want to know they want to do the will of God from the heart.
As redeemed sinners, we are bond slaves to a new master and that master is Christ. We are married to Christ. Ephesians 6:6 says:
not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.
Instead of serving the law, we serve the Lord and one another in love. See, love is the fruit of faith in Jesus. Faith works out in love. If someone were to ask: what does love look like? Apostle John tells us in John 14:15:
If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
There’s obedience going on here, but this is not reversed. It’s not keep my commandments, then love Me. It’s love Me and keep my commandments. Thus, I can keep the Lord’s commandments because I love the Lord as it tells us in 1 John 2:3-4:
By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him
Then, 1 John 5:2 says:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments.
This leads me to the fourth use of the law, and it would be the law is useful to attest the truth of the believers begun sanctification and to confront them to walk in the law of Christ after the inward man of implanted grace. Apostle Paul told young Timothy, the pastor who was going to take over the Ephesian church:
The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.
Again, some will ask: as a Christian, are we to keep the commandments and live by that standard? My answer would be no, but we are called to live by a higher standard, and it is called, in Scripture, the law of Christ. The law of God and the law Christ is clearly suggested in in 1 Corinthians 9:21, where the apostle Paul states that he was not without the law for he was under the law of Christ:
to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
Paul was saying as a human being created in the image of God, he was still under obligation to obey the moral law of God, his creator, but his new position as a saved man, he now belongs to Christ. The law is not his master. No. His new master is Christ. His new mediator is Jesus Christ, who purchased him. Therefore, he is under the law of Christ.
Christ, not the law, is the believers master. Now we live as a believer under the law of Christ. The law of God is now named the law of Christ as it relates to the Christians, and the law of Christ is God’s moral law in the hands of a mediator. It was the moral law of God that Christ came to fulfill in Matthew 5:17:
Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
The moral law of God was in the heart of Christ all along. Psalm 40:8 tells us:
I delight to do Your will, O my God;
Your Law is within my heart.”
Oh my God, your law is within my heart.
Jesus knew the full end result of God’s law When Jesus was asked the question by the Jewish scribe, Jesus answered him from the Torah, the Shema, in Deuteronomy. Mark 12:28-31:
One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31“The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Under the law of Christ, we are no longer under sin and condemnation. Under the law of Christ, we are born again into the family of God with all its rights and privileges. We are adopted sons and daughters under the law of Christ. We have received the indwelling Holy Spirit sealed unto the day of redemption.
He gives us the ability to keep what God has given us and keep His commandments. Under the law of Christ, we are no longer slaves to sin, and sin is no longer your master.
However, the law of Christ was not a new set of laws that had to replace the old, but the law of God, not written on hearts of stone, but now written on hearts of flesh. As Ezekiel tells us, it’s a heart that desires to be obedient to Christ in whom they want to affectionately love. When they do that, they fulfil the law of God – the two great commandments of God.
Those who are bound to Christ enter into a life of liberty and love as they bind themselves to His law. Christ is the reality that all the mosaic regulations foreshadowed. Christ expounds His law by calling believers to love God and to love neighbor, and the Holy Spirit of God imparts to us the law of love.
After all of this heavy doctrine, Paul gives us a sense on what it means to live under the law of Christ. Jesus calls us to a higher standard in relationship to the Ten Commandments. Everybody should have the ten commandments on their wall and look at it every day. It is still the nature and character of God that’s displayed in the ten commandments.
Remember, when we look at it, we know that Christ fulfilled them all, and if we’re in Christ, that law is fulfilled in us. The spirit of God gives us the ability to actually carry out the law but with an attitude of love for God and love for people. So, how tall we begin to love as God does? Romans 13:8:
Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
You do these things because the law is now in your heart and the spirit of God has given you the power and ability to do it. You fulfill the law every time you do that. Of course, the law has been completely filled in Christ. Then, Romans 13:9 says:
For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,”
Instead, persevere, in the sacredness of the marriage bond, yours and your neighbors. You, as believers, are called to complete fidelity in marriage.
By God’s definition, hatred is as much murder as the lawful taking of another’s life. Instead, help your fellow brother and sister in Christ keep alive and well. You, as a believer, are to be truthful, kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving to your brothers and sisters in Christ. For that fact, to all humanity.
Just as the presence of jealousy and hatred in a life indicates that a person is of the world and in the flesh, not of the family of God, so the same love and self-sacrifice indicate that such a one has passed out of the world into the family of God.
Also, you shall not steal, but protect your brothers and sisters’ possessions. Instead of coveting, rejoice in the fact that the Lord has blessed him or her and given it to them. Maybe he has not giving it to you, but he’s giving it to them, and you are rejoicing how good God is and being thankful. In continuation, Romans 13:9-10 says:
and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
The Bible is telling us that this is how we’re supposed to live as Christians. Father’s, if you teach your kids to live this way, they will be living under the law of Christ and under the law of love. If they see it in you and you practice those things of course, not perfectly, then we are doing exactly what God calls us to do as believers. Galatians 6:2 says:
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 5:14 says:
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Then, James 2:8 says:
If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.
My friends, if you love Jesus, would it not follow as natural inference that you would love all those He loves. If you love Christ, as you may say you do, should you not also love all of Christ’s people no matter who they are or where they come from.
The answer has to be yes, and believe me, this does not come overnight. This is something that the spirit of God is doing in our life every single day. Before you became a believer, you may say that you were always a loving person. No, you weren’t. You never loved anybody.
In fact when you become a Christian, you find out you had hatred, animosity, and revenge towards people. Also, the spirit of God brings all of that stuff to light. You realize you never loved anybody, but you want to, and now you have the power because of the spirit of God to do so.
Let me just wrap it up with this illustration of the relationship between the law of Moses and the law of Christ. The law of Moses is lower on the scale and the law of Christ is higher. Under the law of Moses, you have the civil, moral, and ceremonial law. All of those have been fulfilled in Christ.
If they’ve been fulfilled in Christ, then they have also been fulfilled in the believer, but the goal of all those were always love to God and to man. That’s always the goal. That was the goal of the old testament, but they couldn’t do it because they didn’t have the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. They failed.
The whole testament is about failure. You see people failing all the time. I just finished reading Solomon again and the chapter where it says he multiplied wives, built altars, and he offered sacrifices to idols.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here on my couch saying, "Solomon, what are you doing! All this wisdom and knowledge, and you’re giving it up at the end?" However, Solomon would have come awful close to Christ if you didn’t fail.
We all fail because we’re sinners. Every one of us fail, right? That’s why we need Christ. Christ is the only one in Scripture who did not sin. He did not fail. He accomplished the will of God. He was fully obedient to the father and He fulfilled the law totally and completely.
Because of that we see the Scriptures, the essence of the law namely to love and honor the Lord God and to love one’s neighbor from the heart is the essence of the law. 1 John 5:2-3 says:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
They’re not like the Old Testament law that laid a burden on the heart. They’re freeing because they’re already fulfilled. All we have to do is do them. Again, Galatians 5:14 says:
For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
If you read all of these passages, they are saying the same thing, but this is the law of Christ. So, do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ, and do you desire fellowship with them?
This is a crowning imperative virtue of the church. The source of all love is God. Anyone claiming to know God and failing to show love to other believers can only mean that person is a deceiver or just self-deceived.
When a church is continually endeavoring to display this virtue, we manifest the character of Christ working in and through us. No one demonstrated this in a greater way than our Lord Jesus Christ.
Christians have obtained the new life in Christ. Under the law, you and I would not have the slightest chance of performing God’s commands with complete success. Why not? Your sinful nature would not allow it. It could not keep the law and it cannot obey Christ without the spirit of God.
However, believers have obtained a new life in Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Because of that, they willingly want to please and obey the one who saved them. As Christians, we have the privilege and the power that comes from God. We have divine enablement to fulfill the law of Christ.
In the power of the indwelling spirit, the Christian is given the enablement to obey God’s commands and His revealed will, which involves being filled with the spirit and walking in the spirit in which there must be a day-to-day yield-ness to and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18 says:
And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit
As people let wine control them, the end results are wacky and destructive results. However, be filled with the spirit and when you’re filled with the spirit, you’ll have the results that God will bring so being filled is more accurately translated as "be filled" because it is a present command indicating a state to enter, not a one-time event to experience.
This fulfilling describes a permeating influence of the Holy Spirit whereby your whole life, like a sponge, can be saturated with power, joy, godliness, influence, love, and the fruit of the Holy Spirit. One who is full of the spirit is one who reflects the character and the priorities of God himself. Galatians 5:22 says:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.
Just as life within the tree causes fruit to appear, so life within the believer produces beautiful fruit. We cannot cause fruit to grow, but we can earnestly ask. Actually, we are earnestly asked to cultivate, to weed it, to prune, and to protect it. Only God can produce it. It is the fruit of the spirit that is in our lives. Paul is not commanding us to fill ourselves with the Spirit, but to let ourselves be continuously filled by God.
Let the spirit permeate our thinking and our entire being. This really is a command about yielding. Yield your members of your body every day to the spirit of God’s control. Let the spirit take over and move your life along the way God wants you to move, so you’re not kicking against God’s will. You’re giving in to God’s will willfully. This exhortation is similar where Paul simply says in Galatians 5:16
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.
To walk by the Spirit means to get in step with the spirit and with what the Holy Spirit is doing inside of you. When you do that, the sins of your flesh will be minimized. That’s what will happen.
Yet, walking by the Spirit speaks of consistency. A walk takes time. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity. Being full of God spirit requires a constant dedication to your spiritual steps.
The more you pay attention to your walk; your life will be like a sailboat with the sail uplifted. The spirit will push you along and guide your journey. God will fill your submission to Him with His divine holy wind. However, if you pull the sail back down due to self-will, weak faith, or even sinfulness, the wind will not avail you very much at that point.
God calls us to be growing in Biblical love. Love is the badge and character of Christianity. A Christian may advance in many areas of the Christian life, but without growth in the most important Christian distinctive, that of love, it profits nothing.
When love begins to diminish and grow cold, our sin increasingly manifests itself as we look more unlike Jesus. So, how would diminishing love look? Well, we lose patience easily. Instead of long-suffering, unkindness becomes common. Sinful envy and bitterness are displayed. We defend ourselves when confronted for our lack of love. We become less courteous and more rude
We start to trumping other’s rights. We become easily angered. We find fault frequently. Projects become more important than people. A person becomes unwilling to confront when necessary. They’re pretty much unconcerned about the lost.
Those growing in Jesus kind of love, which is under the banner of Christ, will only say loving words, but also do loving deeds just as He did. Thus, the law really brings us into this direction to honor and love God, and love and honor our neighbor. That would be the end result.
So, how you doing? I admit I don’t always do well. When you wake up in the morning and something sets you off, it just sets the tone for the whole day, and you’re grumpy all through the day. Then, you get home that night and aren’t satisfied with anything that happened that day. People talk to you and you don’t even know how to start a conversation with them because you don’t even want to talk to them or have anything to say.
It’s all because we become self-centered, self-seeking, and selfish, and we forget that God has us there for a purpose. We are meeting people for a purpose to talk with them if we have time to talk with them, and to show the love, the kindness, the goodness, and the magnificence of God everywhere we go. Only the spirit of God can do that. Only the spirit of God can overcome our selfishness and our self-will and use us.
I pray that would be something God does. Fathers, if you do these things with your children, you’ll do well. Let’s pray:
Lord, I Thank You so much for the ability to be able to go to your word and see these things in the word of God. Thank You, Lord, that You have done so much on our behalf, especially when it comes to the power of the law to condemn us. You have set us free and you have brought us under the law of Christ. I pray, Lord, every day our prayer would be a prayer that we would fulfill the two great commandments. Lord, we can’t reverse that. We have to love You first before we can love people. Holy Spirit, help us to do that. Help us to overcome the things in our lives, so we can do that and display before the world who you are. Give us many opportunities to talk to people about Christ. When we manifest this character in our in/out dealings with people, enable us to do that. Holy Spirit, we want to yield to you every day our flesh, our plans, what we want, and our desires. I pray you would take them over, and as we give them to You, You would guide us in the way that honors the Lord and gives Him glory. I pray this in Christ’s name, Amen.