Monday, June 2, 2014


A certain vibrance infills us when we consider life directed and guided by the Holy Spirit. If, indeed, the Spirit directs our days and our actions in His peace, then it follows that God desires to have His way with us—our thoughts, our words, our actions. He so does desire this very thing. Yet, we live at war wih ourselves. (Rom. 7:22-25) Since Adam’s fall, our bodies, corrupted by sin, are bodies of death. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ, who has given us His Holy Spirit to rescue us from our sinful nature. (Rom. 7:25, 8:6-7) Life in the Spirit, then, is not some existential, twenty-four/seven, year-round emotional high. Grace is not the drug that infuses some rush of giddiness that clouds our mind to the things of this world or the challenges to our Christian faith. Sure, we experiences emotions and rejoice in what Martin Franzmann deems “open-eyed realism.” Emotions such as happiness, excitement, love, sympathy, etc. sprout from our Spirit-engendered trust in Jesus Christ, in whom there is now no condemnation. (Rom. 8:1) When freeing us to this new life in the Spirit, Jesus teaches us more about His Gospel. Though weakened by our sinfulness and corrupted beyond our repair, we cannot fulfill righteousness in and of ourselves. Yet, Jesus was born, lived, suffered death and was raised to fulfill the whole Law in His own flesh. And, He counts it to our benefit—no strings attached, no conditions except that we remain true to the trust He has created. We don’t keep the Law in and of ourselves to merit everlasting life. Jesus kept it for us. He appeased His Father’s wrath by taking on His shoulders the punishment aimed at us. He did it in completely the same will as God the Father, who wants all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:4) When we think of Jesus’ imputing His righteousness to us, we most quickly run to the cross and Baptism into it. Rightly so. That’s where Jesus’ passive obedience to the Law’s condemnation counts us holy, righteous, marked by Jesus’ blood. Jesus also imputes His active righteousness to us. He did fulfill the whole Law and credited it to our account. He didn’t need to merit anything or consider equality with God as something to be grasped. (Phil. 2:6-7) He’s God the Son, after all—who with the Father and the Holy Spirit—live and rule to eternity, ever one God revealed in three persons. Jesus humbled Himself, a servant, to be a little lower than theangels. (Ps. 8) so that in His divinity He remained equal to the Father and in His humanity He became like us—sin excepted. (Heb. 4:15) After all, the Law demanded fulfillment. (Matt. 5:17-20) It required perfection. (Matt. 5:48) Only the shedding of blood could pay the punishment for those who break it. (Lev. 17:11) Life in the Spirit, then, whether comforting, consoling, vivifying, or instructing—remains life in and through Jesus Christ. He counts His obedience to the whole Law, including iths punishment—which He didn’t deserve—to our credit. Being so declared righteous (Rom. 3:28), we desire to live according to the Law. (Rom. 3:31) Vibrant living? Sometimes. Bold living when confronted by challenges to our faith? God willing this remains so. Forgiveness living? Always. Rom. 8:3-4: “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

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