For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
If you live a Spirit-led life, you will naturally do the right thing, and you will enjoy the fulfillment that comes with that. You won’t have to live by the law. You won’t have to live by dos and don’ts. You’ll never say, “I won’t steal, because the Ten Commandments tell me not to.” Instead, the Spirit of God, living in you, is going to speak to you and say, “Don’t steal, because that is not right. Not in a pure life with me.”
This is one of the foremost themes in Paul’s epistles. His letters are genius! In both Romans and Galatians, he tells the churches, “If you’re going to live by the law, you need to obey the law. Good luck with that!”
And if you think that’s impossible, the corollary is even worse. If you’re going to obey the law, then you have to live by the law. Think about that for a minute. It’s really an impossible thing to do. It’s hard enough to obey the law, but you’re doomed if you insist on living by it. Do you think it’s hard to avoid checking out your neighbor’s shiny red sports car? The law says you can’t covet, but our flesh is sinful! Now, if you think that’s hard, try to avoid even thinking about looking at it! That’s what it takes to live by the law.
To live by the law is to live in condemnation. Legalism is a miserable place to be. Live in grace.
Those who live in grace, Paul says, will have freedom. Those who live in grace just take what’s dealt, and they deal with it. They don’t have to live in a world boxed up by rules, where bad things happen when the rules get broken.
Think about tithing. If you give because you have to, it becomes a burden. You’re not going to be a cheerful giver. But in the life of grace, there is no rule about tithing. In the Spirit-led life of grace, the Spirit says to you, “Hey, be a cheerful giver.” That’s all it says. You don’t see the word “tithe” in the New Testament, because in the new covenant, there is no such thing as tithing.
Are you going to want to tithe? Are you going to want to give? Yes! I truly believe you will. You’re going to understand how things work, and you’re going to want to help support those things that are good. You will want to help support your church. You will want to help people in the ministry, or help people who are in poverty. You’ll start to feel like this is a part of life. That righteous life will be inside of you, the Spirit at work.
If your church preaches that you have to tithe, you might not feel much enthusiasm for it. But if someone says, “Hey man, be a cheerful giver, whatever you feel like you should give,” then all of a sudden you’ll find yourself wanting to give more. It’s good to be able to do something because you want to do it, not because you have to do it. It’s very freeing!
But is this true when it comes to chores? What if you don’t want to clean your room? More on this next time. See you Thursday.