Monday, March 3, 2014

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 9 - What the Law Could and Couldn't Do...and What Jesus Did!

God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature (our distorted mindset confused by lies!), could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.                       (Rom. 8:3-4)

“Why did You send the law, Lord? It seemed to always make me feel so condemned and terrible. It seemed to always just increase sin-consciousness and also condemnation. It seemed to make me feel so bad about myself, that I was just a rotten sinner, making me feel so far from You! Yet the law is good and holy. Help me understand Your purpose with the law!” I feel my heart was saying this to God lately, and I feel that in many ways He answered me, especially through studying Romans 7.

(I put the Romans 7 passage at the end of the post, for easy reference... )

From my study of Romans 7, I learned several things:
- The law is holy and good.
- The law didn’t make me sin, the law didn’t bring me death – sin did that – the lie of separation!
- The law pointed out what sin was and pointed to sin as the source of my problems.

How did it do this? By showing me that deep down I wanted to keep the law and agreed with it, and by showing me that I couldn’t keep the law in my own strength no matter how hard I tried. Thus, if I wanted to keep the law but couldn’t, something else must be present affecting me, another law. It was the presence of sin, the fallen mindset of unbelief, the lie of inferiority and separation, that produced death in me! So when I sinned, it wasn’t me but sin in me doing it, the sin wasn’t coming from my core true self but from the lies and corrupt thinking that said I was evil, separate from God, not like God, not good enough, needing to become better!

- So the law actually showed me I was good inside and wanted to do right.
- And the law showed me I couldn’t do right on my own, thus pointing to the problem being, not me, but sin in me, a fallen mindset, a lie that had taken hold in my consciousness and was destroying me!
- The law showed me that I wasn’t the problem, sin (the fallen mindset, slanderous lies about my identity) was!
- The law showed me the problem was sin, this delusional thinking!
- And the law caused me to see I needed a deliverer and thus look for one, thus pointing me toward Christ!

The law couldn’t free me from sin but it could show me that the source of my problems was sin (the bondage of a lie) in my flesh, like a foreign tyrant brainwashing me into thinking I was a sinful-natured and separated-from-God being who needed to ‘try harder’ to become holy and close to God. And all my trying only produced failure and condemnation and death. Sin used the law to actually kill me, but there was hope! The law was a pointer to Christ!!

What the law couldn’t do, Christ did! He freed me from the tyrant, the lies that had taken hold like a poison in my mind, making me live out of a delusion that I thought was real. He condemned, not me but sin in me!! And He put away sin through the sacrifice of His own life for me, for when He died, I died with Him, and all connection to sin/lies and all delusion/sin’s control over my life from sin was removed!!
He came and redeemed me – I found out one meaning of ‘redeem’ means to come and claim what is one’s own, to come and get something because of a prior claim upon it! Jesus had a prior claim on me going back before creation itself, where I was known by God in a place of innocence and union! He showed the image of God and revealed that I was of the same image, showing Himself to be my kinsman-redeemer and able to free me from servitude to a foreign master, the lie of inferiority and separation. He proved my innocence and belonging in His Father’s family, and He is not ashamed to call me sister!

His law of life superseded the law of sin and death that had a hold on me, and through death He even took me out from under the law of commandments, so that I am now under the jurisdiction of Christ alone! Sin and death are not ruling over me any more; Christ’s life is the rule over me now, and this rule is the law of liberty! Before, no matter how well I did, it wasn’t good enough, and I was condemned to die. But now, no matter how bad I do, I am complete in Him, and I am sentenced to eternal life with Him! Tied to Him forever, there is nowhere to go but up! Hallelujah!

I feel like I am definitely wanting to understand more and am still learning..but right now I am seeing it like this:   I feel the law was God coming in and speaking our language, the language of performance that we’d adopted, and showing us through that very language, (which wasn’t His main way at all – His way is always grace and unconditional love and relationship) that deep down we wanted to do the right thing, but we couldn’t because there was an enemy in the midst – the lie we were believing about being ‘less than God-like” was actually killing us! We were trapped by this lie and couldn’t get out, that’s what the law showed – it showed we needed a Savior.  The law couldn't save us, it only pointed us to the One who could! And so then the beautiful Savior came and rescued us from lies, revealing so perfectly the truth of our identity as ‘good and innocent beings in God’s image, equal to Him, made of Him, compatible with Him, created of divine substance as a unity with Him’ – thus freeing us from the lie that had held us down! Now we are free to fly along enjoying the wonderful union relationship with God that is our right as His children!

[Here is the Romans passage I studied, with the triumphant verses in Romans 8 as well: 
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. 10 The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. 11 For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.
13 Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.                                       Romans 7:7- 8:4]

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14