When we discovered last week that we have always been addicted to the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it may have been a shock to many. How could always wanting to be “good” be a bad thing! (There I go again, without even thinking!).
For one who is walking by faith in the One Who lives within us, the Holy Spirit, it is neither good nor bad, because we don’t live by trying to keep the law of God. Living by His law is only for those who don’t yet know Him and are not yet indwelt by Him. Civil order must be maintained, and they, as yet, have no internal divine life to empower them to do so, so they must still be externally restrained by the law
However, when we who do know Him, and we actually believe that the Spirit will prompt us, nudge us, motivate us and lead us do just as He wishes, with no help whatsoever from us, we are “living by faith,” or “living in the Spirit.”
This is exactly the way Paul tells us to live in Colossians 2:6: “As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” I began my Christian life by faith alone, so I continue by faith alone, trusting that “it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13), with the result “that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:4)
It is particularly important to notice, in the last two verses, Philippians 2:13 and Romans 8:4, there are phrases that are generally skimmed over because they do not fit our worldview, which is fundamentally shaped by our addiction to good and evil. These phrases are little more than throw-in, filler phrases, rather than an emphasis of the whole verse, as I believe they are.
Notice in Romans 8:4 the law is fulfilled “in us” by the indwelling Spirit, not “by us,” as we naturally assume because of our addiction. In Philippians 2:13, the Spirit is actually changing our wills, our “want tos,” to make us want to do exactly what He wants us to do. Do you believe it? Are you living by that faith?
Do you see the incredible significance of these three verses when they are placed in juxtaposition as I have done? If I am walking by faith alone in the Holy Spirit (“according to the Spirit”), to change me, do not these verses tell me that the law of God is fulfilled IN ME? Therefore, can I not naturally, spontaneously, and unconsciously (NSU) do exactly what I want to do, because my will is being conformed to God’s?
I can almost hear the inaudible gasps from the readers! Yes, I am learning to actually believe those three verses are not simply “words on a page.” I am learning, ever so slowly and reluctantly, that I really can trust God to change me, just as He says He will, so that I genuinely WANT TO love my enemies, think of the needs of others first, no longer desire to look at pornography, and be open and transparent with my brothers and sisters about my sin. This is walking by faith! It is a genuine miracle.
This is not rocket science. As a matter of fact, it is just the opposite. It is becoming like a little child who does nothing but believe his daddy and do exactly what he says. No “better ideas;” no “deeper insights;“ no “more mature understanding.” Just, “Yes, Daddy.”
There are all kinds of genuinely, great theologians who have unconsciously devised all manner of intellectual schemes to keep from having to become as little children who only know to do exactly what Daddy tells them. Next week I want to investigate one of those universally accepted ways to get around the biblical case I have presented in this posting. It allows us to participate in our own salvation and preserves, and even feeds, the legitimacy of our addiction.