Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh,
in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God.
You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.
Today I have to put my finger on the cause of spiritual paralysis in a
believer’s spiritual life that keeps him from entering into the fullness of
what God has given him in Christ Jesus. It’s there fully available, easily
accessible… but without meeting the precondition a person will never see,
taste and experience it.
The worst thing is, you can fill your spiritual life with surrogate and substitute religious efforts, keeping busy in obvious ‘holy’ activities like missions, a devoted prayer life or self-sacrificing, social activities and even become an expert on the Bible itself but never experience the life God meant you to live in the first place.
One has to know about the “Law of Sin and Death” and the “Law
of the Spirit and Life” first, to position oneself properly by faith.
Let’s start with the one we’re all very acquainted with…
The Law of Sin and Death
Everyone, without an exception, is under this law. It’s what permeates our
outer and inner man from our mother’s womb. Although a little baby can’t
deliberately sin, its whole existence is influenced by this law, just as the
‘law of gravity’ formed and influenced us from the very moment we came into
existence, by the conjunction of an ovum and a sperm.
We can’t escape it – our state of existence subjects us to this law. Just as we’d need a spaceship to escape the law of gravity, we need a means, ‘not of this world’, to escape the ‘Law of Sin and Death’.
Right; we can build spaceships, can’t we? And we’re tempted to try to build our own ‘salvation’ by what we can do as well… and all of Christendom (in which there are very few exceptions!) is happy to call this rubbish ‘the true life of a believer.’
I’m here to expose it… and this might hurt!
It all starts with the fact that man is very well aware of his true state of
being. We feel our inadequacy, our self-indulgence, our greed and lust… and
a constant whisper accompanies us from the very moment we become aware of
“You aren’t good enough! You should do better! No, that’s not right; this is the way you should behave!” etc.
We first hear it from our parents and so this is the message we think God is telling us too. It comes so naturally that you don’t have to be a follower of Christ at all to ‘know’ about this ‘fact’… even though it’s a lie, nonetheless!
However, we don’t see it that way! We’re convinced that we need to be better people to hopefully, one blessed day, succeed in our endless efforts to better ourselves.
All religions stem from this delusion! It doesn’t matter whether you have to do your ritual prayers and rites as a Muslim, your meditations and good works as a Buddhist or Hindu… the prayers, church attendance and activities you feel obliged to do as a Christian … they’re all your activities springing from the ‘Law of Sin and Death’.
However, every honest man or woman will be left in a terrible quagmire or torture chamber, resulting in despair because, no matter how much we strive, this nagging voice inside us is never satisfied. You can never be good enough! The ‘better’ you become, the more you’ll see new areas of failure. Even if you believe the illusion and think you have finally mastered your demons, it won’t take long for you to hit rock bottom again. How long will it take for you to realise that this law won’t let you keep your illusions?
I wrote above that we think that God wants us to perform better … and to
some degree He does! Jesus said that
righteousness surpasses that
of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not
enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:20)
It was He who installed the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ in the first place; NOT for us to succeed in fulfilling it – but to be crushed by it!
This law; this relentless slave-master serves one purpose; to bring you to the very end of your own efforts. (Matt. 12:20, Gal. 3:24-25)
Finally, after many years of futile attempts to better ourselves, we stand in front of a pile of rubble – the outcome of all we could do – to acknowledge our own inadequacy. We know we can’t give Him anything – we know we’re lost unless He saves us, covers our sins and lifts us out of our natural state; that of being bound to the ‘Law of Sin and Death’, into a new realm of ‘Sonship’. (Ro. 4:4-5)
So far so good; most will agree with this … and right, there’s nothing threatening about it at all!
how is it that after we have received God’s forgiveness, a ‘new life of
keeping rules and behaviour regulations’ is laid on us? How is it that after
having received such grace we now think we have to prove that we are ‘truly
worthy to be saved’, by living a life by the ‘book’?
Why do we think that we have to know the scriptures as well as possible, to enable us to live after the laws of God? Some even believe that the Holy Spirit gives us this remarkable ability!
How can the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ – which served God’s purpose to bring us to repentance by showing us our own inability in the first place – now be the law for a child of God who has been saved by nothing but undeserved grace alone? Why do we still refer to how we perform here on earth to determine our spiritual state… instead of enjoying the ‘zero-gravity of our spaceship’ after the ‘Law of the Spirit and Life’?
“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1.Cor. 2:9)
Now we can conceive
what the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ is, right?
That’s no problem at all! We’re
only too well acquainted with it! Did it save us? NO!
So why don’t we reject it completely? Why do we try to impress God with behaviour which originates from the ‘Law of Sin and Death’, and think that by means of this old, condemned law, we can now live ‘worthy of our high calling and salvation’?
This can’t work, right? In Galatians we read that Paul, after He had met Christ, went into the desert for 14 years to be instructed by God alone… do you think God taught him to be an even better Pharisee than that which he confessed to being in Philippians chapter 3?
If so he would never have
written that it’s OK to partake of food, sacrificed to idols (1.Cor. 8:4-13,
10:25-31)... because it clearly CONTRADICTS the written word of God! (Just
keep in mind the only ‘Word of God’ he could refer to was the Old
How did he come to write, ‘All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.’ (1.Cor. 10:23)?
All things are ALL THINGS… the very moment you say ‘all things’, ‘except one’, it’s not ALL THINGS anymore, is it? Think about that for a while.
He even says: ‘… why is my freedom being judged by another’s
conscience?’ (1.Cor. 10:29) Wasn’t the conscience, this constant whisper,
the servant working hand in hand with the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ in the
past? Yes, but now we read that the conscience is completely cleansed once
we draw close to the throne of God. (Heb. 10:22)
Today we don’t understand how revolutionary this was for a Jew, or even a ‘Super-Jew’, like a Pharisee, such as Paul was, anymore. We weren’t raised under the Jewish version of the ‘Law of Death and Sin’ … although we have our own versions, of course!
For Paul to write this meant that he was actually writing against the Law of Moses! It meant writing against everything the prophets had accused his forefathers of!
It was such revolutionary stuff; no wonder his fellow Jews wanted to stone him to death as a heretic! Right, this was what the very Law of Moses commanded them to do with a man who spoke and wrote as Paul did!
Today we have the New Testament; most of which was written by ‘Brother Paul’. He fought the ‘fight of faith’, opposed Jewish believers who, although they were saved by grace alone - because they were so accustomed to the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ - foolishly, ‘after beginning by means of the Spirit, tried to finish by means of the flesh afterwards.’ (Gal. 3:3)
Sadly most believers reject the ‘Law of
Spirit and Life’ by bowing again to the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ because
everyone they see around them is doing so, too. They even turn the words of
the New Testament into a kind of ‘New Law’ by turning every written word
into mandatory utterances of God by which you have to live… to the iota,
today! Women have to have long hair, have to wear a covering on their heads,
are not allowed to speak in church, etc.
Although Paul himself wrote that he and the churches didn’t fight about those ‘matters’, (1.Cor. 11:16) from the way these believers think, one had better make sure one keeps it, because unless one keeps everything Paul, Peter and John wrote, one will lose one’s salvation in the end.
I know I’m exaggerating a little … but I have to, to expose this wrong spirit
which paralyzes the vast majority of believers.
Although they are saved by grace alone (and they even say so and preach it), their daily life isn’t directed by the ‘Law of Spirit and Life’, but reveals them ‘doing the splits’ between their verbal confession and the obvious reality of a life which shows clear characteristics of the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ instead … disguised with some pious-sounding, religious vocabulary, of course!
This spirit isn’t the Spirit of Love and Freedom… but a spirit of ‘Dos and Don’ts’. It’s not about knowing Jesus’s voice intimately and following it faithfully… even against your own instincts and fears… but only about pleasing the outer scheme of a dead religion called Christianity!
Paul couldn’t keep silent about it and it has to be repeated today too. Just as he had revelation from God and put his life on the line to preach it, so the schemes of dead religion need to be dismantled today.
How did we end up in this terrible state?
Well, a life lived after the ‘Law of Spirit and Life’ has some effects on us
which the remnants of our old nature, well accustomed to the rule of the
‘Law of Sin and Death’, don’t like at all!
‘The New’ is all about the death of ‘The Old’! That’s nothing you and I have to do, like some deceived people think, but this is automatically activated once the ‘Law of Spirit and Life’ enters our lives. You don’t need to worry at all… you can’t get around it! Once you’re under ‘The New’, ‘The Old’ will experience pain and agony and try to wriggle out of this horrible, uncomfortable situation in any way it can. Ah, and one of the most effective tools for this gets offered to you by religion… it’s dead and lifeless, right, but offers superficial relief from the constant stench of death by covering it with the ‘lovely’ scent of illusion.
God isn’t a rapist. He won’t force you. He wants your love … and not your performance. He wants all of your heart… and not what you do!
So, yes, we can go out of our way to avoid every discomfort and pain the ‘Law of Spirit and Life’ puts us through… and choose what pleases ‘The Old’ in us. It has inevitable consequences though: God isn’t pleased at all and we grieve His Spirit. He withdraws as we live our ‘version of a godly life’ – but without His presence!
That’s why Christianity is in the state it’s in today. We had all better behave like Paul and spend some time in a desert, and be instructed by The Life alone!
The ‘Law of Sin and Death’ makes us believe that if we keep from cheating, lying, stealing, adultery, murder, anger and are the sweetest, most loving, most honest, prayer-meeting-attending, sacrificially giving, constantly Bible-reading (best to learn it by heart) Super-Christians we will be very pleasing to God. But although this convinces the natural man that this is godly, it actually comes from the FLESH, from what we can do, from our efforts. EVERYTHING we produce from our own abilities ALWAYS springs from the flesh and not from God! It isn’t based on the ‘Law of Spirit and Life’, which functions by receiving everything from God ALONE… from ourselves there is NOTHING (and nothing means NOTHING) we can bring to Him at all.
The ‘Law of Spirit and Life’ isn’t stressful like the above at all… indeed,
it’s very simple. It just says: My
sheep hear My voice and follow Me!
Paul and all the other disciples followed this law, and that’s why we have the New Testament, today. If they had had the attitude the majority of believers have today, we wouldn’t have anything but the written testimonies and letters of all those ‘Super-Jews’, who, (by the resurrection power of Jesus, naturally!) finally succeeded, in fulfilling to the very iota… the Law of Moses.
Now I want to come to the crux of the matter for every believer:
The Law of Spirit and Life
Just as no physical object can escape the law of gravity so no natural man
can escape the ‘Law of Sin and Death’. It’s ingrained in our existence;
permeates our thought life and even our subconscious. It serves a God-given
function – but only up to the point until Divine Life enters into a person’s
There is a moment of complete brokenness and failure under the full impact of the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ and then the next moment, right after the reviving touch of God, this law is so completely done away with, so utterly ridiculed that even remembering it grieves the Spirit of God. (Hebr. 10:11-13)
The old life is so completely extinguished that God doesn’t even remember it
anymore; it’s as if it had never existed at all. You are connected with God
in such a way as if Adam and Eve had never caused the ‘Law of Sin and Death’
to be implemented at all. You’re a completely new creation… and with this
new creation there comes a new order; a new law; the ‘Law of Spirit and
This law has NOTHING in common with the old one! It works in a completely different way!
Because it is so different from all we learned and knew in the past, we have to reject that old way of life completely by learning to feel, think and function from a renewed heart. (Ro. 12:1-2)
This rejection of the old is what you and I have to do by ourselves. God won’t force us into it; compulsion is against His creational idea for mankind. Just as He gave man the freedom and independence to trespass against Him and didn’t intervene, so He won’t do this for us now either, but expects and exhorts us to regard our past life under the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ as null and void, rejecting and abhorring everything with the faintest smell of the old.
Whereas our old life was an endless fight between our desires, followed by a bad conscience and condemnation, He now expects and exhorts us to first hand over our desires to Him and then take every feeling and thought of condemnation captive, under the ‘Law of Spirit and Life’… for, ‘there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you FREE from the law of sin and death.’ (Romans 8:1-2)
Paul describes this wonderfully:
Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:
“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?
These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.’ (Col. 2:20-23)
We’re called to fight the good fight of faith, not by tightly clinging to every letter of the Bible, but by living on a completely new plane of existence. This is so new and alien that it never enters into the unredeemed human mind.
To start with, if you were the holiest of all men who ever lived, all your righteousness would mean nothing to God (Is. 64:5). However, you can receive such a perfect cleansing that God looks at you as if you never had been separated from Him at all. You can’t do a thing to get it! It’s His free gift to everyone who believes in Jesus Christ!
Next; forget about the idea that after having received this unfathomable
grace you are now expected to prove your worthiness by being ‘super-holy’.
Nope – dead wrong!
Not only have you received His complete pardon for free – everything you need to live by the new ‘Law of Spirit and Life’ now is nothing that originates from you, but is activated in you by His Spirit, as you allow your mind to be changed by His leading.
He has prepared beforehand everything that you and I have to do (Jo. 15:5, Eph. 2:10).
Change doesn’t come from your efforts but by simply staying in His presence with your focus on nothing else but loving Him alone. (2.Cor. 3:18)
Lastly; there is no law for you anymore –
except the one written inside your
heart! (Jer. 31:33, Eze. 11:19, 36:26)
Forget about what others say. When we appear before the throne of God one day, He won’t ask us if we have followed the Bible or if we have heeded and done what others told us – He will only ask us whether we followed Him faithfully, putting by faith, into practice that which we heard Him say.
There’s only one thing that is ‘required’ of you: Love the Lord your God with ALL YOUR HEART and with ALL YOUR SOUL and with ALL YOUR STRENGHTH and with ALL YOUR MIND; and, Love your neighbor as yourself. (Lu. 10:27)
Love however, can’t be forced, commanded or ordered. True Love of God is the response of a new heart and spirit which cry: Abba, dear Father! As we all see this isn’t a law in sense we understand laws at all. Our action is no fruit of obedience but a result of what God does inside of us. The only thing that God will look for in you and me is LOVE!
Right, you can forget about EVERY law you have known so far… but don’t be deceived into thinking that this means you can do whatever you please!
As I wrote before, you’re under a new law… and yes, this Law of Love you will experience as a disciplinarian you didn’t know before (Hebr. 12:6-11)… but again, this is none of your concern at all. This is the job of the Heavenly Gardener. (Jo. 15:1-2)
God will be greatly pleased if you choose to live by ‘His law’
rejecting the ‘Law of Sin and Death’ which surrounds and tries to
subject you to itself again, especially through so-called ‘Bible-waving
brethren’ who have never tasted the freedom which comes from the ‘Law of
Spirit and Life’ themselves.
‘My sheep hear My voice and follow Me,’ Jesus says. This is something between Him and you alone. Why should your freedom be judged by another’s conscience?’ (1.Cor. 10:29)
I can see
the question written all over your face;
“How can this happen? Won’t it all end up in anarchy and lawlessness? How can God be honoured by everybody acting after his own whim?”
It seems you have overlooked
the important information I gave earlier! You’re absolutely right; natural
man had better stick to the old ‘Law of Sin and Death’. It’s the best thing
for him. Unless he has received a new
heart filled with the Spirit of God – and by this enter into the Kingdom
of God with its ‘Law of Spirit and Life’ – the outcome of everything I wrote
above would certainly result in self-destruction.
Natural man isn’t able to live by it because he lacks that vital precondition of a renewed heart and spirit. Everything to do with God is plain foolishness to him. (1.Cor. 1)
for everyone who is born of the Spirit! For him, the OPPOSITE
is true! If this person still lived after the old rules and regulations,
this would mean grieving the Spirit within, who wants to rule
every area of his life.
We are no longer in control
anymore but instead are controlled by
His Spirit… for those who are led by the Spirit of God
are the children of God. (Ro. 8:14)
Following the lead of His Spirit doesn’t mean ‘having a good time’, but facing a daily dying of your old nature with its desires, dreams and longings. It means handing over the reins of your life into God’s hands and trusting Him to bring you through – even though everything you see in front of you screams at you that you’re lost.
As He says to us all:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross
daily and follow me. For whoever would
save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my
sake will save it.”
This ‘let him’ implies that one has a choice here that requires willful, deliberate action by one’s own volition, but there won’t be salvation without this conditional loss before. ‘The Old’ can’t inherit ‘The New’. Clinging to old principles and habits deactivates the redeeming and changing powers of ‘The New’ and keeps us in the state of spiritual death.
Once a wrong choice is made, the believer is left in great distress. We know from the Word of God about the results His Life should have in us, but everything we see convicts us of the painful truth that what we actually so long to have is absent from our lives.
The discrepancy between the promise of His Life and the reality of what the soul experiences can’t be bridged. This truth should actually bring us to a place of critical self-examination but religion now offers some cheap escapes, deceiving us into thinking that the obvious following of outward rules, regulations and man-imposed rituals (like studying the scriptures, daily worship sessions, fasting and praying, as well as good deeds) prove that we somehow have ‘The fruit of His Law of Spirit and Life’ in our lives.
Although a fruit is something that grows on its own if the branch is connected to the vine, we get tricked into thinking that this – our own product – must please God now, because, of course, it pleases the critical eyes of our fellow men. Here again, our mind is focused on the visible instead of on the invisible.
From this stems all kinds of religious persuasions that pester, divide and
decapitate the body of Christ today.
Not only do we have to leave this cursed system outwardly but it’s of crucial importance that it gets completely removed from our inward man as well. There has to be a radical unlearning, de- and reprogramming under the supervision of God’s Spirit before we’re able to succeed in becoming the OVERCOMERS He so longs to see.
Sanctification is not about
ascetism but obedience to His Spirit in you!
It’s not about what you can do, but about what He does in you as you completely yield to His divine will trusting Him with all you have.
It’s up to you and me either to stay with The Old – or experience a
revolution so radical that nothing the world has seen can compare with it.
In His Service