What I Read Today:
2 Corinthians 3; Mark 7; Ezekiel 21; Proverbs 9-10; 2 Samuel 21
2 Corinthians 3 vs. 6, “He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” NIV
What does it mean when we say we should live by the spirit? We hear people on TV talking about being spiritual, but what does that truly mean? Do they somehow have some special connection to the spirit world? Is this like a Star Wars movie where they are tapping into the “Force” and speaking to Yoda?
What does the Bible say about living by the spirit?
Paul is confronting an on-going problem in 2 Corinthians 3. The Jewish religious leaders had come up with a system for ensuring salvation through a series of rules based on the Mosaic Law. You would save yourself if you obeyed these rules.
The problem was that no one could abide by the laws correctly. The Jewish people understood this. Leviticus 11:45 said, “I am the Lord, who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy.” NIV
What does that mean? It means that God is Holy. He cannot have any imperfection in his presence. He especially cannot have sin in his presence. Throughout the Bible, every time that someone would come into contact with God, they fell to their knees in fear. Why? Because they understood at that moment that they were not perfect. Every sin they had ever committed came flooding back into their minds in God’s Holy presence.
Yet out of his great mercy, time and again, God comforts those in his presence and makes them holy. He did with Isaiah, Moses, and Peter. He reached out to a sinful person and gave them peace.
The law has three purposes.
First, it is to serve as a curb. The law keeps us from descending into chaos. In our hearts, we know that it’s wrong to kill, cheat on our spouse, or steal. That’s the law helping to curb our base desires.
Second, the law is a guide for the Christian. That means that aside from being a curb, the Christian seeks to follow God’s law as an act of love towards God and our fellow man.
Finally, the law is a mirror. Jesus’ intent with the beatitudes was not to give us another rulebook. He intended to point us to our need for a savior.
So, when we say we want to live by the spirit, what we are saying is this; We live our lives out of love and gratitude for what our merciful God has done for us. We live our lives in a way that please our God. We don’t do this to earn our salvation. Instead, we live this way out of thanks for the “free” gift of our salvation.
That’s what living by the spirit is!