2 Corinthians 5:21
Sin is a fundamental relationship— it is not wrong doing, but wrong being— it is deliberate and determined independence from God. The Christian faith bases everything on the extreme, self-confident nature of sin. Other faiths deal with sins— the Bible alone deals with sin. The first thing Jesus Christ confronted in people was the heredity of sin, and it is because we have ignored this in our presentation of the gospel that the message of the gospel has lost its sting and its explosive power.
When a surgeon operates on a patient the primary goal is not to stop the symptoms of the illness it is to remove the source of the illness. In the same way Jesus did not come to deal with sins the symptons, He came to deal with the source of sin. It is revealed throughout the Bible that He deliberately took on His own shoulders, and endured in His own body, the complete, cumulative sin of the human race. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us…” and by so doing He placed salvation for the entire human race solely on the basis of redemption. Jesus Christ reconciled the human race, putting it back to where God designed it to be.*
The penalty for sin was paid. A clearing of the slate, accounts balanced, our sins and the sins of our fathers and forefathers no longer separating us from a holy God. We were redeemed.
But what then? It is one thing to understand and grasp this truth but it is entirely another thing to see it working in our lives. Evidence of the proclamation in 2Corinthians 5:17 ” If any man or woman is in Christ the old is gone the new has come.”
Recently I was talking with friends about this dilemma. If everything that is necessary has been provided for us to become more Christ-like why aren’t we? In Galatians 5:16 We read,
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”
What does it mean to live by the Spirit? A diagnosis of our human condition was made (Romans 3:23) and Christ came to provide the cure (John 3:16). Just as the surgeon follows a diagnosis that leads to a procedure to provide a cure, living by the Spirit is that cure for our spiritual condition.
But how does that happen? I believe first we have to examine what living by the Spirit looks like. Live in this application is not static. We are not waiting for the miraculous to happen in reference to 2nd Corinthians 5:17 “all things new”.
To live by the Spirit is to pursue the things of the Spirit. Being that (although we still have a choice to “do” the things of the flesh), supersedes doing. It is the difference between “will not” and “do not”. It is not the need to only walk by the Spirit and also not gratify my desires. It is a command to walk by the Spirit a command that frankly we can only obey as the Spirit gives us the desire and power — and then obeying that command and walking, living out our day to day lives by the enabling power the Spirit of grace supplies. Then and only then will we be enabled to not carry out the desires of the flesh but live empowered by the Spirit.
There is much more that could be said concerning this command to “live by the Spirit”. I believe as we begin to earnestly pursue the One who took away the power of sin He will reveal all we need to know. Start today.