Walking in the Spirit
THE WAY INTO THE CALL
“Walk in the Spirit,
and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh”
In the previous article (See Part One) we introduced the standard of what it means to walk and live in the Holy Spirit. At the thought of the enormity of such a call men and women tend to close their hearts to this reality. The power to live up to this standard is far beyond the capacity of our own resources. This seems an unattainable “ideal” rather than the call of God to all who are in Christ Jesus. We have been tainted by the presentation of a “gospel” today that declares the only difference between a saved and an unsaved individual is that one has been forgiven. This is a repulsive and derogatory declaration of all that God has purposed in Christ.
“Therefore, Christ having suffered for us in the flesh, also you arm yourselves with the same thought, that he suffering in the flesh has been made to rest from sin, for him no longer to live in the lusts of men, but to live the remaining time in the flesh in the will of God. For the time of life having passed is sufficient for us to have worked out the will of the nations, having gone on in wantonness, lusts…”
1 Peter 4:1-3 (LITV)
God has called us out of darkness with the intent we may live and walk righteously. He has also made the provision for us to do so. The New Covenant reveals a “new law” by which this walk is now attainable. To be called to a high and holy walk without the resources of the living Christ would be the same dispensation (only more impossible) as the Old Covenant! The New Covenant is one of provision and substance; He who calls is the same One who fulfills the call within those who hear His voice and obey Him. The provision is always bound up within the call. As we obey His power is given to rise up and walk in a manner beyond our own resources. We see clear pictures of this in both the Old and the New Testaments. When the feet of the priests stepped into the flooding river it parted. When Peter stepped out of the boat he walked upon the water. When the disciples distributed the five loaves and two fishes the multitudes were fed. The examples go on and on. In Christ we have the full provision to live godly lives, to grow, develop and become, in reality, His expression in the earth.
“For the saving grace of God has appeared to all men,
instructing us that having denied ungodliness and worldly lusts,
we should live discreetly and righteously
and godly in the present age”
The “saving grace of God” instructs us to deny ungodly living and worldly lusts to the end that we should live righteously in this world! Righteousness is the product of God’s grace within our lives. It is His grace at work in our hearts to live above and beyond our own pitiful resources. It is not by the works of the law but by the power of His grace in us through the medium of faith.
In Romans, chapter 7, we are presented with the agony of anyone who tries to walk a life of righteousness by their own resources. It is the struggle of one who desires to walk uprightly but lacks the power and might to do so. Paul ends this sordid description with the cry “who shall deliver me…”. The encouraging part of this question is “who” not “what”. Those on the verge of true deliverance come to the realization that their hope of deliverance is no longer in something; inherently there is the recognition of a need for someone. So many today look for answers from the medical field, counsellors, self-help strategies and other things to deliver them from their plight. Jesus is our salvation, our deliverer and our only hope of living uprightly.
Paul in his discourse continues from Romans 7 into the beauty and power of Romans 8! He moves on from the anguish of human inability into the very power and life of the Son. He takes us from the “Law of sin and death” into the “Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”! The Law of sin and death is one of desiring to live right but utterly failing due to the weakness of the flesh to live spiritually. Earlier Paul had stated that the “Law” was spiritual (Romans 7:14). The flesh being of a fallen nature had no capacity or ability to fulfill a spiritual law. Hence the New Covenant was introduced.
“For the law being powerless,
in that it was weak through the flesh,
God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh,
and concerning sin, condemned sin in the flesh”
The powerlessness of the Law was revealed in our inability to walk in it. God has never abandoned the righteousness of the Law! His end remains unchanged; however his means to that end has changed. His answer to us is a “New Law” which now becomes our provision so that the “righteousness of the law may be fulfilled in US”! What is that New Law? (It is better to ask, Who is that New Law?) His Name is Jesus! Paul continues from Romans 8:3 to the next verse…
“So that the righteous demand of the law
might be fulfilled in us,
those not walking according to flesh,
but according to Spirit”
Romans 8:4 (LITV)
This fulfillment of the righteousness of the Law as a reality in our life requires us to live and walk in the Spirit of God! Paul could not have presented to us a clearer message of the power of salvation to which we have access by Christ Jesus our Lord. The provision has been made. The issue of sin has been eradicated and the way forward is offered to all who would plunge themselves into the reality of being hid with Christ in God.
“Whereunto he called you by our gospel,
to the obtaining of the glory
of our Lord Jesus Christ”
2 Thessalonians 2:14
“Obtaining” means the acquiring and laying hold of something. Paul in his epistle to the Philippians describes his life of intense pursuit as the “one thing”.
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”
Paul follows this with this admonition to God’s people…
“Let us therefore, as many as be perfect,
be thus minded: and if in any thing
you be otherwise minded,
God shall reveal even this unto you”
Those who are open to the voice and the teaching of God’s Spirit will be of this mind. It is the very premise and purpose of the New Covenant.
“For the law made nothing perfect,
but the bringing in of a better hope did;
by the which we draw nigh unto God”
This “better hope” allows us to “draw nigh” unto our God. The Word is clear and the means is sure because God who cannot lie has promised us with an oath that these things are true.
“Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things,
be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace,
without spot, and blameless”
2 Peter 3:14