Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Licentiousness, Law, or Something Else... (Repost)

(Originally posted 3/4/07)

A life of Licentiousness or a life of Law – which would you choose?

I choose neither! Real Life is found in neither one, but yet we tend to gravitate towards law because we’re not secure in our faith. We gravitate towards rules and regulations – law – because we’re not confident in Christ-in-us.

We know we don’t want to preach licentiousness. We know life in Christ isn’t about “anything goes.” So we try to control others and ourselves through law.

Tony Vincent, in his song “Shake the Money Tree” from his self-titled album (over a decade ago), put it this way:

“Too insecure to live by faith

We’re always looking for some other way.”

The song is actually about trusting in Jesus rather than money. It’s about being content regardless of our financial status. It’s about trusting that God provides.

But that little line speaks much more to me in other ways too. Our Christian walk is “by faith and not by sight” (2 Cor 5:7). “Walk by the Spirit and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal 5:16). Somehow we’ve made “walking by the Spirit” into a Law-walk rather than a faith walk - and I think that's because we're not fully convinced that the good news of the gospel and the power contained in it is really that good and that powerful! We find a sense of security in rules and standards. And we've come to realize that walking by the Spirit is like the wind... you never know where it's coming from and which way it will blow! (John 3:8) But yet the fruit of the Spirit is not the same as the fruit of the Law! Compare Galatians 5:22-23 with Romans 7:5 and Romans 7:9-11.

The fruit of walking by the Spirit (walking by faith, not by sight) is so much different than the fruit of walking by Law. Trusting in the Spirit (as opposed to our own fleshly attempts at righteous living) results in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. But trying to live by the Law results in aroused sinful passions, revival of sin, the deceit of sin, and death!

People naturally resist forced behavior change. Even if we want to change, even if we want to do wonderful, loving, kind deeds... if someone tells us “you must do this,” we naturally resist doing even what we want to do! But when we step aside and let the life of the Spirit who is in us take over, and just let Him do what He supernaturally does in us (not forcibly, but gently... and usually not logically!), the fruit will be so much greater than anything we could conjure up on our own.


  1. I read a comment somewhere, I think by Rob Rufus, that walking in the Spirit is walking in the grace covenant (of being already righteous by Christ's work) rather than trying to live by law (trying to be righteous by my work). I think for the first time I began to understand what walking by the Spirit is. Now I see walking by the Spirit as more being myself, because I am already in the Spirit and under grace, and not trying to put myself under law. In the grace covenant, the Spirit does all the work and fruit producing. I can focus on enjoying this great friendship with God, rather than spending all my time doing a "fruit check".

    Thanks for this post!

  2. Hi Sparrow Girl!

    Yep indeed, I've equated all of these things: "walking by the Spirit," "walking by faith," "abiding in Christ," "resting in Christ," etc, etc, and to me they all mean what you've said... walking in the truth of the grace covenant - not living by law, but living by the very life of Christ that indwells us.

    It's living in the fact that "I died."

    As my friend Paul Anderson-Walsh would say, "The life that I live in the body... I don't." "I no longer live, but Christ lives in me." So yeah, it's far far far from living by law, but rather it's living in union with God Himself! We can truly rest and be ourselves (our new creation selves)!