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How Is Your Life?

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How Is Your Life?

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“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:4).

What a precious word the Apostle Paul has written to the Romans! To understand these words we have to look at the last verses of chapter 7. There we read his confession about his own way of life. He concludes this chapter by writing, “So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Do not think that this is only a confession of his lips. No, for in verse 24 we can see that his heart is revealed in his words.

In chapter 8 he continues about the walk of men in this life. In verse 3 he mentions not only the great merits of Jesus Christ, but also the love of the Father in sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Verse 3 contains something remarkable about the flesh, with respect to the law. There we read about something which the law could not do. What could the law not do? It could not justify men. Because of sin it is the duty and power of the law to condemn men. To understand this, read 1 Corinthians 15:56b: “And the strength of sin is the law.”

Now we know from Scripture that the transgression of the law shall be punished in accordance with the holiness and righteousness of the Lord. He shall punish us if we are not obedient to Him in keeping His commandments. With what kind of punishment, dear reader, do you think He will punish? It is with nothing less than death, as foretold in Genesis 2:17. And to understand that this is true, we have only to look upon the state of Christ’s humiliation, which ended in death. Oh, what a great mistake it is when we think that sin shall not be punished! And, beloved, by nature we think so. That is the fruit of our deep fall in Adam.

We have by nature no perception of the holy wrath of the Lord against sin and of the fact that we all are by nature lying under that condemnation of which you read in verse 1. And therefore our walk shall be after the flesh as long as we are upon earth. That can be in a way of self-righteousness or in a way of evident, visible transgression. Yet there is an exception, an exception not from man’s side, but from the Lord’s side. From eternity, without any reason outside of Himself, He has chosen a people, and they are called by Him in time. As a fruit of such a calling they are stopped upon the broad way, and they choose the narrow way. And it is by the Holy Ghost that they have spiritual joy and gladness in doing so.

Many things could be mentioned about this time period in their life, but it is a greater benefit when that same Spirit teaches them what we read in verse 3: “For what the law could not do...,” etc. Oh, it takes so much time before they understand what it means that they cannot be saved by their own works; read chapter 4:2. And they know that we must be saved, but how?

The Holy Spirit teaches them that the attributes of the Lord have infinitely more value than their own salvation. From what side, my dear reader, must the solution come? It shall come from the side of the Lord, when it pleases Him, again by the Holy Spirit, to bring the gospel into the heart of such a people. Then they may by faith believe the message of the gospel, that only One has done what we were to do in Paradise: to be obedient to the Lord. Then they may believe by that same gospel that He has taken away the guilt of all those who are given Him by the Father (John 17:6,9,11,12,24). And by that same gospel they may believe that the righteousness of the law is simply this, that of necessity someone must obey the law in order to obtain eternal life (Matthew 16:16-19). And there is only One who has done so.

Then, “who walk not after the flesh,” dear reader, what ought we to think about that? What is your opinion?

The apostle says as the opposite of it: “but after the Spirit.” What can that be? Only this: it is the work of that Spirit to teach death in Adam and life in Christ. There is nothing in the whole world more mortifying for the flesh and at the same time more glorifying for God and for the truth in Christ Jesus. And it is only in that way, by the exercising of faith wrought by the Holy Spirit, the Author of faith, that the righteousness of the law receives its fulfillment, not by us, but in us. Then God’s people begin to receive the fruits of the exaltation of Christ. But remember the last verses of chapter 7. Only that people shall rest upon Christ’s work by dying a daily death, and it shall only be by a continual wonder. “Fulfilled” means that it shall not end here, no matter how many the ways are through which the Lord leads His church to receive that fulfillment. Read the life of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, Job, and all the saints of old.

My dear reader, how is your life? We end with verse 13: “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.” Everyone who reads these words, examine yourself. Eternity is coming; we must meet God. What shall it be if we here have never learned to mortify the deeds of the body?

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Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 juli 1997

The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's

How Is Your Life?

Bekijk de hele uitgave van dinsdag 1 juli 1997

The Banner of Truth | 28 Pagina's

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