THE NEW LIFE OF THE SPIRIT

Scripture Reading:  Romans 7:1-6

“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit.” (Romans 7:6)

Most religious people think that the way to salvation is by works righteousness.  In other words, we must work hard at being religious and moral in order to earn favor with God.  To the Jews, it meant obedience to the Mosaic Law.  One had to keep the Law in order to be accepted by God.

The Pharisees developed many rules to help them keep the law.  They determined how many steps one could make on the Sabbath before he broke the Fourth Commandment.  They developed a complex system of rules and if one didn’t keep them he was considered an outlaw.  Some of this still exists today.  I have made two trips to Israel this year.  Believe it or not hotels have a Sabbath (Shabat) elevator that stops on every floor going up and down.  Pushing a button on the elevator on the Sabbath is a violation of one of the laws of men.  People are held captive by these laws.

Paul says that believers are not under the law in the sense of works righteousness.  The law shows us our need for a Savior — “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by works of the law, rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20).

Once we embrace the gospel, we are set free from a works righteousness view of salvation.  We are saved by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  As a result, we live under the new life of the Spirit.  The Spirit now empowers us to live our lives for the glory of our Savior.  We become motivated by our love for Christ and by the indwelling presence and power of the Spirit to obey God.

When Paul says we are released from the law, he is referring to law obedience as a means of salvation.  We still are responsible to obey the law for it is God’s will for us.  But we have the Spirit who empowers us and motivates us to obey God’s law out of love and reverence for Him.

We now belong to Christ and we have been set free from our bondage to the Law — “Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to Him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God” (v. 4).

Lord Jesus, You have set me free from works salvation by accomplishing salvation for me.  You fully kept the Law, which is something I cannot do.  You did it for me and thus I am released from the law as a means of salvation.  It no longer holds me captive.  I now have the new life of the Spirit.  I have Your Spirit living in me who gives me the desire and the power to obey out of my love for You.  I belong to You now and I desire to bear fruit for You.

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