“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2 MEV. The same verse in The Message translation reads as follows: “Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” Romans 8: 1-2.
As born-again Christians, what does it mean to be free from the law of sin and death? Here are a just a few of the things it signifies:
For any situation we face, we can choose to speak words of the law of sin and death, words of unbelief and doubt or we can choose to speak the Word of God, words of the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
On the one hand, we have the lies of the devil. On the other, the truth of the Word of God. We are the deciding witness. 2 Corinthians 13:1 NIV says, "...Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." Do we bear witness with Satan's lies or God's truth?
My dear friend, no matter how dire your circumstances are today, speak the Word of God over them and activate the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. God’s Word will never fail you.
The Law of Liberty
In the Province of Ontario, Canada we are in lockdown again due to Covid-19. My husband and I are one of four couples who meet regularly by Zoom to study God’s Word. We are presently studying the Book of James. The passage we are looking at presently is James 1: 19 – 27.
The verse that caught my attention in this section is James 1:25 AMPC: “But he who looks carefully into the faultless law, the [law] of liberty, and is faithful to it and perseveres in looking into it, being not a heedless listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he shall be blessed in his doing (his life of obedience).”
After reading the above verse, I said to myself, “What is the law of liberty?”
The first verse I looked at in trying to answer this question is John 8:31-32 MEV: “…if you remain in My word, then you are truly my disciples. You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.”
What is truth? In John 17:17 Jesus says, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” So, from these verses, we learn that God’s Word makes us free – it liberates us.
I then looked at Deuteronomy 6:4-5 MEV: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, The Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” This is the Jewish Shema. Shema means ‘listen’.
The Old Covenant was conditional between God and the people of Israel. In Deuteronomy 30: 9-10 MEV, it says, “The Lord your God will make you prosper in every work of your hand…if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, by keeping His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law…” The people of Israel would be blessed if they kept all of God’s commandments and statutes.
I then went to Matthew 22:37-40 MEV: “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” Sound familiar? Jesus added the part about loving your neighbor as yourself.
The New Covenant is an unconditional covenant between God and His Son, written in the Blood of Jesus. We are to love God and to love our neighbor as ourself. The part that thrilled me is that in the New Covenant, the Law is not written on tablets of stone and conditional on us keeping it to the letter but the law Jesus spoke about is written on our hearts as born-again believers. Hebrews 8: 10 MEV says, “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God and they will be My people.”
And Ezekiel 11:19 says, “And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone…and give them a heart of flesh.”
God’s law of liberty is written on our hearts today – to love Him and to love our neighbor as we do ourselves. Romans 5:5 MEV says, “And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” May we, may I, let God’s law of liberty, written on our hearts, flow out to a lost and hurting world.
Words are Important
“We have the same Spirit of faith that is described in the Scriptures when it says, ‘First I believed, then I spoke in faith.’ So we also first believe then speak in faith.” 2 Corinthians 4:13, TPT.
Back in elementary school, many long years ago, I remember assignments from a curriculum called, ‘Words Are Important,’ designed to improve our reading comprehension and vocabulary. We read a story and answered questions about what we had read. If I remember correctly, we were timed. The exercises were challenging in that the questions asked were subtle and aimed at ascertaining if the reader had really understood the words written on the page.
“Words Are Important” has stuck with me over the years. The truth of the matter is that words are important. Of all that God made, human beings are the only ones of His creation who use words. Animals communicate with one another but they don’t use words. Words are containers and can hold life or death, faith or fear. Proverbs 18:21 in The Message says, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
Jesus spoke sobering words in Matthew 12: 36-37: “…for every idle word that men speak, they will give an account on the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (MEV). Words are important to Jesus.
And words are important to God. Our words play a role in our salvation. Romans 10: 8-10 (MEV) says, “…This is the word of faith that we preach: that if you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Hebrews 1: 3 (TPT) says that “the Son is the dazzling radiance of God’s splendor, the exact expression of God’s true nature—his mirror image! He holds the universe together and expands it by the mighty power of his spoken word.” And we know from Genesis chapter one that God spoke the world into existence.
By the Word of God, we receive faith. Romans 10:17 (GNV) states, “Then faith is by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” If there is little Word of God in our hearts, there will be little faith. More Word, more faith.
In whatever situation we face today, we need to be mindful of the words that come from our lips and speak God’s Word into our circumstances. Isaiah 55: 10 -11 (MSG): “Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth…So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.” The words we speak are important. I want to always speak the Word of God because I know it will never fail!
Our Passover Lamb
On the tenth day of Nisan, the day we call Palm Sunday, the lamb was selected by the priestly shepherds on the hills just north of Bethlehem to show to the high priest for his inspection to be the spotless Passover lamb, whose blood would be shed for the sins of the nation. (It is interesting to note that Jesus was born very near those hills. See my blog posting, "Our Strategic God".)
At the same time, we find Jesus with His disciples on the Mount of Olives. Here He tells them to find a donkey which He would ride into the city of Jerusalem. This was to fulfill the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9, which says, “Shout and cheer, Daughter Zion! Raise your voice, Daughter Jerusalem! Your king is coming! A good king who makes all things right, a humble king riding a donkey, a mere colt of a donkey” (The Message).
Jesus comes down the Mount of Olives and crosses the Kidron Valley as He heads towards the Eastern Gate of the city. Meanwhile, the high priest is entering the city, carrying the Passover lamb. It was customary for the people to lay down palm branches as the high priest carried the spotless lamb into the city. The crowd looks up and sees Jesus approaching and remembers all the mighty works they had seen Him do - healing the sick, making the blind to see, the lame to walk and healing Lazarus from the dead on the fourth day. Can you catch their excitement?
The crowds shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Hosanna means, “Save! We beg You Son of David.” ‘Son of David’ was another name for the Messiah.
We do not know if Jesus entered the Eastern Gate at the same time as the high priest but it must have been in close proximity. In the Gospel of John, John called Jesus the Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). The fact that Jesus entered the Eastern Gate either with or after the high priest carrying the Passover lamb thrills me. God was saying to His people and to us in a visible way that Jesus is our Passover lamb.
Later, the religious leaders were indignant to hear the children shouting praises in the temple area. Jesus told the them that if the children kept quiet, even the rocks would cry out in praise of Him.
We know that a week later, the crowds turned on Jesus and on this day, Good Friday, they shouted for His demise. He died an awful death to atone for the sins of humankind – for your sin and for mine. The dying declaration from His lips was, “It is finished” (John 19:30). ‘It is finished’, tetelestail, was used in several ways. It could mean that a bill had been paid, a task completed, a sacrifice given, a masterpiece finalized. On the third day, God declared that He had accepted His Son’s sacrifice by raising Him from the dead. Romans 1:4 declares, Jesus Christ …”declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…”
On this Easter weekend, when we celebrate the death and resurrection of the Son of God, my heart’s desire is that you, too have crowned Him as the Lord of your life.
In this Blog, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from many years of following Jesus.