I’m having a problem moving on from a verse that captured my attention last week during my morning devotions. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Rm. 8:2
Not that I was reading this for the first time, but in fact to this point, had given little thought beyond the typical Christian understanding of these words…that Christ had become the propitiation for my sins, setting me free from the requirements of the Old Testament Law. At the risk of accusation of arrogance or self-righteousness, it does seem that I have that part down, at least as much as the average Joe Christian I observe.
Something however, as is often the case when scripture is allowed to come alive in one’s spirit, has sequestered my thoughts here. “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus…”
My meager science training has causes me to interpret the word “law” as meaning absolute, not mere theory, no “hope so” but certainty. I know I am leaving myself open here, as so many no longer believe in absolutes and maybe that is the part I found so refreshing in this early morning “spiritual Aha”? Have we violated the very law that releases the supernatural and thus have surrendered the givens that evidence the absolutes in society?
Let me move deeper into the phrase “the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ”, the operative here being “the Spirit of life in Christ.” Is there a tipping point that comes into play when one dares to move beyond simply being Christian and actually delves into living the life of Christ?
The blurred and surface expectations of Christians today may make this hard to differentiate. I’m not talking about church attendance, tithing, evangelism; some personal calling lived out in an ecclesiastical role apart from secular life, but living Christ. Yes, I’m thinking “being Christ”, joint heirs to the anointing, taking on the “Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” To be sure, it is found in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, even possibly some second experience after salvation, as is the traditional Pentecostal thought. However, being a part of that sect, so many who profess this second baptism rarely bring anything of Christ beyond tongues, which seems to have limited relevance to living Christ in one’s community?
What does it mean to step into “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” and what law is released into the life of that one? Is there a line to be crossed that releases true life to the one who fully participates in “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus”?
What does that life look like? Are these the beings that turn cities upside down?
Most certainly, it is not a life of do’s and don’ts, touch not, taste not’s; though my own life has so long been bounded by just such teachings. I sense it is a much greater Kingdom passage; one that affords access to the creative power of God as demonstrated in the Christ, yet may carry the risk of loss of all carnal relationships, almost assuring persecution and the full participation in His sufferings?
A recent obit of one of my first 9th grade students, passing this week at the age of 55, brought home the reality of only a few days left in my life to explore the deeper truths of God on this earth. I must step beyond the safety of religion, if I am ever going to experience the abundant life in Christ sought now for decades. Yet some days, I seem no closer than when I first gave my heart to Christ. Neither am I about to beat myself up, for I believe that I have given God more than average access to my life.
But what does this life look like and what must I do to step across this Kingdom divide? Maybe this growing hunger for God will eventually overtake my fear of violating my own religious beliefs, possibly providing remedy for my deep resistance to loss, suffering and selfless service.
Maybe I am closer “to Christ” now than when I first read this scripture? Could I even be on the cusp of finally breaking through to “the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus?”