Romans 1-8 Meditations No.23: Means & Motivation
Rom 7:6 “we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”
We’ve moved on from the constant references to sin that has been overcome by Christ on the cross, and moved into the more positive, I was going to say (but all before is very positive, all the explanation of how believing brings righteousness), but this part of Paul’s letter addresses the practical outworking of the work of Christ in us, and he’s going to get us to face the powerless lives we used to have, as he leads us to thinking about the wonder of the Spirit being imparted to us.
We need to put our starter verse in context: “But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.” We covered the death aspects, our dying to self, in earlier studies and so now he deals with that other hindrance to God’s salvation – the Law. Yes, He had given it, but it had been for a limited time as a guide for Israel, a written code that they could refer to for daily life and for dealing with the mishaps of life. But that was then.
Now, Paul is teaching his readers, it is not the Law we rely upon, look to for life and energy and direction, it is the Holy Spirit. Yes, we once followed rules which were often expectations laid on us, mine, imposed by me to try to make me look good, and of others who wanted me to comply with their standards to share in whatever part of the world we were in – church, club or whatever.
But the trouble with that was that I kept getting it wrong and felt bad, when I failed to live up to the standards and expectations I and others had imposed on my life. That was how the old life used to be, often following these roles for cosmetic purposes, to appear to look good, but that never dealt with what I was feeling on the inside.
However, when we came to Christ, he simply said, stop doing that, it’s not helping you. Instead receive my Holy Spirit and let Him empower you, guide your, teach you, help you. Suddenly we realized we had a new life, born again into a new world, it seemed, and guilt was replaced by hope, shame was replaced by new vision and purpose. Grace is about reaching up and receiving the vision that God puts before, reaching up and receiving the resources He has provided for us. Have you noticed, preachers who preach rules impose burdens and create guilt, but preachers who preach grace and impart the Spirit, create visions of what can be and then help us to receive the power that enables us to reach those visions? So let Him inspire you, teach you when you open His word, or you pray. It’s a new day! Look up and see the wonder of what He offers you.