Daily Readings and Thought for July 31st. “THOSE WHO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT”
Our 2 chapters (7 & 8) in Paul’s letter to the Romans can be said to be the most challenging in the whole of the Bible – for believers to get fully into their minds. How vital it is for us to read them in humility of mind – and spend real time to get a balanced and true picture of their meaning. Those who follow Christ in this way develop the opposite spirit to that of the Pharisees who lived according to their interpretations (and embellishments) of the ‘letter’ of the Law – and they were proud of this.
How true of them are the words of Paul in ch. 8 v.5, “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh…” In contrast, ” those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit” – adding – ” to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” [v.6]
May you and I be in the process of achieving that – to an ever greater degree. Back in v.3 we read “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do…” [v.3] How has he done this? Surely the life of our Master demonstrated how to live “according to the spirit.” [v.4] Paul learnt how to follow his example! And us?
Paul next challenges the Romans (and us) “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you.” [v.9] Note that little word “if.” He next makes another vital point, “Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”
We simply must live day after day so that we develop minds that think and as a result our minds provoke actions so we think more and more like our Lord. All who do this will one day, (how soon?) do miracles like he did! Really!? Paul, in writing to the Hebrews, warned those “who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit … the powers of the age to come” [Heb. 6 v.4-6] that they must not fall away. That “age to come” is almost upon us when those powers will be wonderfully in evidence – and will cause ‘Satan’ to be ‘bound.’ (see Rev. 20 v.2). Paul stated that “God subjected the world to come” [Heb 2 v.5] to believers.
Peter declared, in his final letter, “according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”[3 v.13] The “new heavens” we understand as ‘new rulers’, the role of “those who live according to the spirit” in their present lives, and, according to their talents they will occupy various roles, as Jesus said and we read last Friday, “to each according to his ability.” [Matt 25 v.5]