“But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:23-29
When our faith is placed solely and exclusively in what Jesus accomplished on Calvary’s Cross by paying our sin debt and giving us dominion over our sin nature (which we were all born with due to Adam’s fall), the Holy Spirit develops righteousness and holiness in a Believer’s life.
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Romans 8:1-4.
Please understand, this righteousness and holiness does not come from standing in front of a mirror declaring such…that is self righteousness. It does not come from serving the lost hot dogs and water. The righteousness and holiness that comes from God, begins in the heart and comes out as good works- not the outside in. There is no graduating class either.
This righteousness and holiness that I speak of comes solely and exclusively through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work. Through our faith, not works lest any many should boast, the Holy Spirit is commissioned to isolate the reigning monarch in our life, our sin nature, and begins His sanctifying work in the Believer’s life. The Holy Spirit’s work in the Believer’s life when their faith is properly appropriated in Jesus’ finished work will in turn fulfill the moral law of God. It is the change on the inside, this circumcision of the heart (Romans 8:28-29) that enables the Believer to be obedient to the moral law without it having to be addressed.
This does not condone disobedience but enables obedience. There are those whose heart is not after the ways of God and are disobedient to the moral law. They claim God has not dealt with them regarding their sin of choice when His Word has clearly already judged their sin as sin. In all reality, God has not “dealt with them” because their heart is far from Him and closer to their sin of choice. “This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:8-9. Their heart is not enabled to be obedient because their sin is the idol that stands between them and God.
Then there are those who are in bondage to sin. They hate their sin but do not know how to overcome their sin. Their faith is in Jesus Christ for Salvation but they reject God’s grace for victory over their sin. Time and time again they try to overcome and time and time again they fail. The strength of their self effort is laid waste by the strength of their sin nature. Their faith is placed in their strength and not Jesus’ finished work on Calvary’s Cross, therefore they are not enabled to be obedient. As much as they want to be obedient, they cannot. We do not have dominion over our sin nature when our faith is placed on anything other than Jesus for our deliverance. The Holy Spirit is not commissioned to endorse faith in our self efforts or our works to overcome sin, no matter the religious connotation of our works (positive confession, hail Mary’s, 40 days of purpose, 21 days of fasting, etc.). By relying on our self effort to overcome sin we are rejecting God’s grace. In our heart we just don’t believe God will enable us to be obedient because we have tried and failed time and time again. I speak this from experience.
Finally, praise God, there comes a day when we cry out and say “Lord help me, I can’t do it” and He does…He enables our obedience. We quit asking Him to strengthen us to overcome and yield ourselves to Him. “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:13-14. Sadly, we do not realize nor understand, we are rejecting God’s grace because of unbelief. Instead of saying yes to God, we are still saying no to sin. By saying this, I am not condoning disobedience but simply stating facts as to why so many Believer’s remain in bondage. Religion has swept them to and fro, from one scheme of man to another to overcome their sin nature which in reality keeps them focused on their sin nature, as all law does, and not Jesus. All the while, the One they need to overcome their sin nature is knocking on the door – Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Instead of saying “yes” to Him (yielding to Him) they are saying no to their sin. The same faith that got us in to the Kingdom of God, is the same faith that allows the Holy Spirit to develop righteousness and holiness in the Believer…it comes from the inside. By yielding ourselves to God’s plan of sanctification , which we were unable to do before our Salvation.
This faith I speak of, faith in Jesus Christ, Who He is and what He has done, breaks the bondage of sin. It births a new creature in our heart that allows one to be obedient to God. This does not mean we will not fail, nor does it mean that we are sinless perfection. This faith in Jesus Christ creates a humility that can only come through the Cross of Jesus. It will humble those whose religion works from the outside in and lays waste the unprofitable works of the flesh. Is your form of doctrine working from the outside in or the inside out? The difference is law and grace.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9.
-Donna Clark Warren