The Christian life is one of discovery. As we walk with Christ the Holy Spirit through His word reveals to us our new position and power in Christ by grace.
Paul in Ephesians 1:17-20 prayed,
17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him,
18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
19 what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
The moment you put your faith in the gospel you were spiritually placed in Christ. In Christ we have blessings, a glorious hope, an inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of God’s power, which is the indwelling Holy Spirit, the one that raised Christ from the dead.
As we read the Bible we discover our position, apply that truth and walk in the truth.
This was Paul’s focus in Romans 6:3-6 when he said,
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
The believer has been positionally identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection and therefore we can have power over sin and walk in the newness of life.
Paul in Romans 7:1-6 gives us another illustration, interpretation and application of our freedom and power because of our new position in Christ.
First in verses 1-3 we see the illustration.
1 Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?
Paul begins this question as he did the question in Romans 6:3. Do you not know? Both illustrations being presented would have been common knowledge to believers in Rome.
The common knowledge was regarding the jurisdiction law in general. These believers knew that laws were only binding on a person as long as they were alive, once a person died they were free from the obligations of the law.
A dead person does not have to pay taxes, or fulfill their civic duty to report for jury duty.
Paul narrows his focus to Jewish marriage law in verses 2-3.
2 For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband.
Paul looks at Israeli marriage law from the perspective of a Jewish woman. I’m told by Jewish scholars that in Israel a women had no right to divorce her husband, only the husband could divorce his wife if he found some uncleanness in her.
This being the case the law bound the wife to her husband as long as he was alive. Once the husband died the widow was free from that marriage law and could go and marry another man.
3 So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man.
The wife was to obey the law not only for conscience sake, it was a capital offense under Jewish law for a women to be convicted of adultery.
But if the husband dies, the wife was free from both the obligation and therefore the curse of marrying another man.
Second in verse 4-6 we see the interpretation and application of Paul’s marriage illustration.
4 Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.
The word therefore indicates that Paul in now interpreting and applying this illustration..
Notice Paul says nothing in verses 4-6 about marriage and divorce. This passage is not addressing the principles of marriage and divorce for believers, it’s only an illustration our freedom and blessings in Christ.
The focus of this illustration is the individual believer, those who come to faith in Christ through the gospel.
The old husband who died refers to our life before Christ when we were controlled by our flesh and dominated by our sin nature that we inherited from Adam.
The law refers to the law of Moses, the Old Covenant that the Jews were under until the death and resurrection of Christ.
The wife represents the believer who has a new relationship with the law and a living and powerful relationship with Christ.
5 For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death,
Paul in this verse describes our life before Christ and why we needed to be delivered from the Old Covenant.
We were in the flesh. Before we came to Christ we were controlled by the sinful impulses of our human mind, emotions and body. We were slaves to our lusts and had no power over them because our the old man, our sin nature lorded over us and dominated our lives.
Notice Paul included himself as those who were in the flesh. Even Saul of Tarsus the devote Pharisee was in the flesh before he was saved through the gospel.
The law could not save Saul, but only reveal his sin and a need for God’s grace and righteousness. Paul describes his experiences under the in verses 7-12.
The law could only restrict outward behavior, it could not bring inward transformation and power to keep the law. Rather than bring life, the law revealed that the Jew was dead in trespasses.
The law also provoked the sin nature and made it want to sin more. The law said, “you shall not,” but the sin nature said, “oh yes I will.” The Law said, “you shall,” the sin nature said, “I will not.”
Our life before Christ can be summarized in the words flesh, sin, law, death.
6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
The believer in Christ has been delivered from the law, that held us or bound us to the flesh. The believers deliverance came in their identification with Christ on the cross.
Paul in Galatians 2:19-20 said,
19 For I through the law died to the law that I might live to God.
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
The believer through the gospel has died to the law and therefore has been delivered from the Old Covenant. The word delivered does not mean the law has been destroyed or annihilated, it means to render inoperative.
The believer in Christ like the wife illustrated in verses 1-3 is free from the written code and that bound us to the old life. The believer is now a new creation in Christ, raised to the newness of life, so we can walk in the newness of the Spirit.
The newness can be seen in our new intimate relationship with Christ, standing under grace, and empowering by the Holy Spirit.
First newness of the Spirit speaks of a new intimate relationship with Christ.
Under the Old Covenant there was a priesthood, temple, ritual, ceremonies. The believer in the Old Testament was bound to the letter of the law, today in Christ we have been freed from the law to enjoy a new intimate relationship with a resurrected bridegroom.
Christianity is a love relationship with Christ, we serve Christ with the same love and excitement that lovers express during their engagement.
We live in expectancy and preparation for our wedding day. Jesus went to prepare a place for us and promised He would come again to receive us to Himself (John 14:2-3).
Second newness of the Spirit speaks of our new standing under grace.
Paul in Romans 6:14 says, For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. When God lead Israel out of Egypt by Moses He lead them to Mount Sinai.
At Mount Sinai God established a conditional covenant with Israel and gave them His law. God said if Israel obey His law they would be blessed, but if they disobeyed His law they would be judged and cursed.
The history of the Old Testament reveals that when Israel kept the law they were blessed, but they often did not, and therefore were placed under the judgement by God.
During the days of the Prophets when Israel was failing to keep the law God through the Prophet Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah promised a New Covenant that would take the place of the temporary Old Covenant, the law. The New Covenant would be unconditional, based on God’s grace alone.
Jesus at His first coming offered to the nation of Israel the blessing of the New Covenant and His Kingdom, but Israel rejected His offer.
On His last night with His disciples took the bread and cup and instituted the Lord’s supper. Jesus took the cup and told His disciples that it was the blood of the New Covenant (Luk 22:20). Christ through on the cross signed, sealed and inaugurated the New Covenant with His death.
The New Covenant was promised to Israel and will be fulfilled with Israel at Christ’s second coming after the Tribulation, at this time all Israel will be saved (Rom.11:25-27)
Until then, all who are in Christ through the gospel are partakers of the spiritual blessings of the Jewish covenants.
One aspect of this blessing is we do not relate to God by the works of the law but we stand in grace.
Paul in Romans 5:1-2 says,
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Paul in Romans 8:1 says, There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
There is no condemnation for the born again believer since we’re not under the law, but under grace. In Christ we are justified, declared righteous. The believer serves because we are blessed, not in order to be blessed as before under the law.
Third the newness of the Spirit speaks of our new power to walk in righteousness because of the permanent indwelling Holy Spirit.
Every covenant had a sign or token. The token of God’s covenant with Noah was the rainbow, with Abraham was circumcision, the Old Covenant (law) was the Sabbath Day. The New Covenant’s sign is the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 speaking of the New Covenant says,
25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.
Jesus was amazed that Nicodemus one of the leading Jewish scholars did not know that he needed to be born again. Only through water and the Spirit could he enter the Kingdom of God.
Water and the spirit does not refer to water baptism, but the cleansing from sin and regeneration by the Spirit that Ezekiel 36 promised. This work comes to all believe in Christ because of His death, resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father.
Paul speaking of the gospel of grace said in 2 Corinthians 3:5-6,
5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God,
6 who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
Through faith in the gospel the believer receives the blessing of the permanent indwelling Holy Spirit.
People often make picture collages to remind them of special events or seasons of life.
Here’s a New Testament scripture collage to remind us of the blessing and power of Holy Spirit that we have in Christ.
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches… (Rev.2:7a)…He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (Joh.7:38-39)… Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you (Joh.16:7.
And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever—the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you (Joh.14:16-18)…In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Eph 1:13-14)…Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1Cor.3:16)… Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? (1 Cor. 6:19)…But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you (Rom.8:11)… Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us (1 Jon 3:24)…and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come (Heb.6:4b-5)…
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Eph.4:30)… For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death (Rom.8:2)…Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Do not quench the Spirit. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor.3:17-18)…I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish (Gal.5:16-17). And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:24-25).
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law (Gal.5:22-23)…(for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord (Eph.5:9-10)…In sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ (1Pet.1:2b) There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit (1 Cor.12:4)… But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all (1 Cor.12:7)…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills (1 Cor.12:11)…Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them (Rom.12:6a)…
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit (Jud.1:20)…Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Rom.8:26-27)…And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God (Eph.5:18-21)…
And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (1 Cor. 2:1-5)…”EYE HAS NOT SEEN, NOR EAR HEARD, NOR HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN THE THINGS WHICH GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual (1 Cor. 2:9-13)…
But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him (1 Jon.2:27)…But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you (Jon.14:26)… “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me (Jon15:26)… and when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment (Jon.16:8)…However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you (Jon.16:13-15)…
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high (Luk.24:49)…for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now (Act.1:5)… But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Act.1:8)…This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?— Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Gal.3:2-3)…He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev.3:22)”
Since Christ died, rose again and ascended into Heaven God has given His Holy Spirit to those who believe the gospel. The believer is not to rely on the works of the flesh, but we are to abide in and depend on the indwelling Holy Spirit.
In closing, the Christian life is one of discovery. God reveals to us through His word our position and power in Christ. The believer is to reckon these to be true and then respond by walking in faith.
As we walk in the word and the Spirit we’ll be like trees planted by rivers of water, that bring forth their fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever you do shall prosper (Ps.1:3).