Thursday, January 12, 2012

In Christ - I am redeemed from the curse of the law

I am redeemed from the curse of the law...

I Peter 1:18,19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 

Galatians 3:10-14 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them." But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for "the just shall live by faith." Yet the law is not of faith, but "the man who does them shall live by them." Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) ,that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

Joni and Friends Daily Devotional

October 13, 2010
The Written Code

"For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code." Romans 7:5-6

“Put off falsehood. Avoid all appearances of evil. Forgive seventy times seven. Flee from sexual immorality. Let no unwholesome word come out of your mouth. Get rid of bitterness.

“The longer the written code, the more oppressive the pressure to obey. A list like that seems tiring. Obtrusive. Burdensome. And the more you concentrate on the dos and don'ts, the more tempted you are to break the law. Like the mother who tells her child, "Don't go in that room," you can then be sure her child will, sooner or later, head for that room. As the verse says, sinful passions are aroused by the law.

“Thank God, we have been released to serve the Lord in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code. We serve Jesus; we don't serve a list of rules. This is exactly why we should stop using words like "victory" and "defeat" to describe our obedience. We are never defeated by this or that sin. Rather, we are obedient or disobedient to the Lord.

“If you see obedience as merely a duty, it will quickly become a burden. The letter of the Word has no saving or sanctifying power - and human will, no matter how strenuous, cannot give that power. SO look to Jesus and obey Him with glad, reckless joy.

“Lord, although You don't give me rules, You give me Your love - may I return that love and obey You out of sheer joy.”

Taken from Diamonds in the Dust. Copyright © 1993 by Joni Eareckson Tada. Used by permission. Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530

I don’t know about you, but I’m SO glad I don’t have to live my life based on a list of do’s or don’ts!  Don’t take this wrong – I KNOW I’m a sinner saved by grace – but if I had to “follow the rules” to be “good” I’d be the best rule follower on the planet!  That’s how I USED to live – even as a young child I felt that my worth was based on how well I followed all the rules – and I ended up with a bleeding ulcer at 13 because it was just TOO HARD.  Not that I stopped trying at that tender age – my rule following continued into my very early twenties when I jumped off the rails and went my own way for about 2 years – leaving all those rules in the dust.  When I came back to my faith I realized that I was saved by grace – but it took time for me to really believe that I was loved by God just because He loved me – not because I’d been “extra-special-good” that day.  Now I choose to obey God because I love Him, too, and I know that the proof of my love for Him is my obedience.  AND – I know, now, that His rules aren’t arbitrary – they’re not to keep us from having fun – they’re for our own good, and to protect us from all sorts of things!  SO – I live by grace – IN grace – knowing that I’m accepted in the Beloved even when I stray - but I’m not overwhelmed with guilt when I blow it.  I repent – and move on.  The freedom of that kind of life is AMAZING!

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