Paul continues to contrast the New Law of the Spirit with the Old Law of Sin and Death:
“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh” (Rom 8:12).
If we live according to the Old Law of Sin and Death, we are owned as slaves, not to the flesh itself, but to living according to the flesh. This distinction is almost obscure, but the difference is between who we are and how we live. Paul then repeats in different words that we have a choice to make:
“For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom 8:13).
“If” means making a choice between the Old Law and the New Law. The Old Law is represented best by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, who started out in perfect unity with God, but ended up after temptation and disobedience with disunity from God, after disregarding God’s good warnings. This resulted in God’s judgment and perpetuation of the Old Law of Sin and Death.
It was an awfully long saga of human history from Adam and Eve, living under the Old Law until the New Law was given as a free gift:
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Rom 8:14-15).
Paul asks, “What is it that we received through Jesus? Are we falling backwards at the wrong fork in the road to the dead end of disunity from God? Or are we moving forward on the right fork in the road through repentance to receiving the Holy Spirit and the never-ending love of God and forgiveness and restoration?”
How do we know when we receive the Spirit as sons of God? I have two examples from personal experience. One is getting caught in an early morning shower on the Big Island of Hawaii, when the sun did not stop shining, but rather it penetrated through the shower, breaking down every raindrop into all the colors of the rainbow. The rain was so soft, I did not care about getting wet. The rainbow, or course, is God’s sign of peace to us as recounted in the story of Noah.
The second is every morning around 4:00 when I sit down to write these blogs and pause in the total quiet, and the same feeling of the rainbow rains down on me, bringing total peace and assurance of the Lord’s presence.
Whether it is rain or reign, this is what we received through Jesus! His beauty is the rain that nourishes his world and his beauty, in the reign of his Spirit, in the quiet of the morning, assuring us of the continuous presence of the New Law of the Spirit within us!
You are invited to make a comment on this blog about how you feel the Spirit. It could lift up someone else!
“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order they we may also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:16-17).
There is a third moment of feeling the rain and the reign, and it is when we are suffering with Jesus, in times such as the current day.
Step outside. Watch the dawn and then the glow of the sun on the horizon.
Feel the reign of grace pouring down upon you in perfect unity with Father, Son, and the New Law of the Spirit!