Last week we looked at the story of Jesus who was brought a woman who was accused of adultery. In the end, Jesus challenged the religious leaders for those without sin to throw the first stone to deliver punishment to this woman. But after each of them leaves one-by-one, Jesus turns to the woman and said that he does not accuse her, but tells her to go and sin no more.
Paul in addresses those who try to bring their fleshly credentials to God in the attempt to be righteous. Paul has the ultimate, Fortune 500 CEO-type of credentials in that Jewish culture. And Paul calls that rubbish! It was garbage to him. He used a word that in our time might be considered sh*t, it was that strong to him.
None of us is good enough to fulfill the law. And on our own, we deserve death. Behavior isn’t a way to salvation, but it comes out as an expression of our salvation and decision to make Jesus the Lord of our lives. It is the law of the Spirit that gives us life that saves us from the punishment we deserve.
The law wasn’t the weak aspect, but we were. So ultimately the law was there to be a reminder that not one of us could escape punishment. So God had to provide a way to save us. So God sent his Son in the likeness of us and then offered him as a sin offering. The law ultimately results in death, but God wants us to have life. So the law was powerless to overcome the will of God.
Behavior as a requirement means that we are under the law and unable to escape from its ultimate result. But behavior, as a result, means that we have overcome the law by accepting salvation and bypassing punishment as the result.
And here when it says we “live according to…” it literally means to walk in step with the Spirit. In it can be seen to be taken further to be compared to marching in step. That the Spirit loves each of us in the same truth. And so we are called to walk in step with the Spirit so that we can let God work in us, so ultimately he can work through us.
We struggle with this in our day. Some days we leave God out. And then at the end of the day, we miss the relationship and ask, “What happened?” It is at that moment that the Spirit will remind us that we didn’t start our day in step with him. And then when the problems of life happen, when we are already walking with God, he will already be equipping us to handle that. But when we are not, it will blindside us and we will struggle with it.
So let us meditate over this knowing that the Spirit of God is walking with us as we decide to walk with Him.
3:1 Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself. (ESV)
2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. (ESV)
3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. (ESV)
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. (ESV)