3 What the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, 4 in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
Have you ever watched a toddler learn to walk? They fall down, get back up, fall down again. Sometimes they cry, but they keep on going. Learning to walk according to the Spirit is something we also have to grow into. The Holy Spirit gives us freedom from the bondage of sin. Paul told the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” There is freedom in walking according to the Spirit, but there will be times when, like a toddler, we will fall. We must learn to get back up and keep walking.
It was God’s will from the beginning that the righteous requirements of the law be fulfilled. Unfortunately, this perfect set of requirements was given to an imperfect people. The law had no power of its own, so it could not overcome the power of sinful humanity. This was no mistake; rather, it was part of God’s plan to show His mercy and grace to those He loved. The law revealed the death in man, but it also gave substance to the offer of life available through Christ.
Apart from the regenerative, empowering, and renewing work of the Spirit, our fallen view of reality inevitably distorts the nature of God’s truth. Only by submitting to the truth of His Word are we given insight into who we were created to be as bearers of His image. Because God in His infinite wisdom sent His Son in the flesh to fulfill the requirements of the law in our place, we are now enabled by the Holy Spirit to understand and live out the righteousness He requires.
This understanding goes beyond a second-hand faith based on traditions that have been passed down from parents and grandparents. Instead, it is birthed through a genuine personal encounter with Christ. Paul’s encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus changed his life.
We are sinful in our flesh, and without the aid of the Holy Spirit we cannot please God. The gospel of Jesus Christ makes possible a new way of life for the believer—a life lived abundantly in and through the power of the Spirit. Our sin was condemned in the flesh of Jesus Christ on the cross, and regeneration comes to those who understand and believe this.
By the power of God’s Spirit we are made new. While our flesh may be under sin’s domain, those who follow Jesus’ example of walking according to the Spirit are not. Jesus walked according to the Spirit as the perfect example of righteous living. He set us free from the condemnation of the law.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Paul encountered the risen Christ and experienced Him up close and personal. Have you encountered Christ on a personal level?
- If you are a Christian, you probably know all about Jesus. But do you actually know Him?
- The Holy Spirit empowers us to live triumphant lives. Are you walking according to the Spirit?
Pray for the church planting efforts of Jason and Jennifer, global workers from our church family in Europe. They have seen many people become newly interested in knowing God in the wake of the pandemic.