For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14
If you allow the Spirit to lead you, you will be fulfilled. 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. He will say, “Don’t steal. Stealing 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!”
Take a minute to think about this in reverse. If you’re going to obey the law, then you need to live by it. Have you tried? It’s not possible! 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 new car? 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. The law says, “Don’t covet,” but you can’t help it! The flesh is sinful.
To live by the law is to live in condemnation. Legalism is a miserable place to be. Don’t do it. You don’t have to. Live in grace.
Those who live in grace, Paul says, will have freedom. Those who live in grace can take what’s dealt, and 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.
Tithing is a good example. If your church preaches that you have to tithe, you might not feel much enthusiasm for it. It might even feel like a burden. But if someone says, “Hey man, whatever you feel like giving,” 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!
In the life of grace, there is no rule about tithing. The Spirit just says, “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.
When you allow the Spirit to lead you, will you want to tithe? Will you want to give? Yes! I truly believe you will. 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 see the redeeming work the Spirit is doing, and you’ll want to be a part of it. Then it will become a part of you. The righteous life will be deep inside of you, the Spirit at work.
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.