'Christ in You...'
by Dale Krebbs
There are many things in our lives that are both good and bad. For instance, food is good in and of itself. However, if we partake of too much food, or not enough, it can then become bad. This principle spans an almost endless number of things. A good thing, done the wrong way, used for wrong purpose, or used too much or too little of, can end in being a curse.
Many things that a good and perfect and loving God created and made for our good, can be put to a wrong use, or applied incorrectly. The same detriment is encountered if something God created and meant to be used in a certain way, for a certain time or occasion, if it is either ignored or tossed aside and not utilized at all.
This principle is no less true regarding the Law of God. There is a mysterious irony when attempting to apply the Law of God to our lives. The enigma is that if we focus on the law, we miss it. Simply because, by the Law is the realization of sin. After the realization of sin, to continue to focus on the Law creates an effort to keep it so that the conscience can be eased. The result is the creation of an artificial obedience (“righteousness”). This artificiality leads to hypocrisy that extends to all areas of life - relationships, actions, and deeds. In effect, we can use the Law incorrectly, asking it to do what it was not created to do.
The result is a righteousness created by the self, the “old man” (Ephesians 4:22). It looks right. It even makes us feel right about ourselves, because we have been obedient. But it is an obedience motivated by fear instead of from love. After all, it is a creation by self. It is the human attempt by human nature to create its own character through will power and self discipline, outside of Christ. It is the Self’s attempt to change its own heart.
All this can be manifested in such descriptive terms as intellectualism, legalism, literalism, and other “isms”. All of which are ways of enforcing the requirements of the Law from the outside. However, the problem is inside of man. It is often said that all problems with mankind are spiritual problems. This is true. It is the real bottom line. Therefore, it comes down to the fact that mankind, including you and me, have a spiritual problem that no law can solve.
The Law of God “is spiritual” (Romans 7:14). A human attempt to obey it through the flesh will ultimately fail (case in point - Israel). A spiritual Law must be addressed through that same Spirit that originally inspired it. Therefore, focusing a Spiritual Law with the only the efforts of the flesh we miss it. We miss the intent for which it was given. In effect, we end up creating our own righteousness rather than that of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul addresses this principle when he admonished the Colossians not to be caught up in the “rudiments of the world” (Colossians 2:20), many of which are “shadows of good things to come” (v 17), but not the reality. The spirit cannot be nourished by the flesh. (Hebrews 8:5-10).
There is only one right use of the Law of God. It tells us initially, and then it reminds us continually, of sin in our life (1 Timothy 1:8-10). We all sin in some way, coming short of glorifying God (Romans 3:23). But if we constantly struggle against the sin inclinations in our flesh, the realization of the sin will only increase. The power of that sin will increase, thereby increasing the intensity of the struggle. This is why many say “I can’t seem to overcome this. The harder I try, the worse I become!”. Its like the expression “the faster I run, the behinder I get”. There are countless Christians who have fought a sin or sins for years with very little success in permanently overcoming them. They have fought it to a standstill, and they are sill standing still. They are using fleshly weapons against a spiritual principle. And the spiritual principle behind it all is another spirit, who roams around looking for someone to thwart in their efforts to overcome a sin. He knows that if he can keep them focused on their own efforts to conquer, he can keep them standing still (1 Peter 5:8).
Then what is the right focus concerning the Law of God?
The one and only right way to overcome sin is to focus on Jesus Christ. The more we depend upon Him, the more we take Him within, the closer we are to Him, the more we are able to overcome our sin. If He is living in us, if we are yielded to Him, if we walk and talk with Him, depend upon Him, He will fill us with His righteousness, which fulfils the Law. When we give Him our sin, He gives us His life. The more of us that we give to Him, the more we receive from Him.. But this is the very opposite of the this world’s way. This the opposite of striving to create our own law righteousness (Galatians 3:23-24).
He will build into us His character, which is perfect. When character is perfected, it becomes righteousness; when righteousness is perfected, it becomes holiness (2 Corinthians 7:1). Without holiness, we will never see God (Hebrews 12:14).
Focus on Jesus Christ, in everything, in every way, in every time. He, and only He is the Way, the Truth, and our life.
"Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God on behalf of my fellow Israelites is for their salvation. For I can testify that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not in line with the truth. For ignoring the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, with the result that there is righteousness for everyone who believe." - Romans 10:1-4 (NET)
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