Looking back at 2:19-21:
We have seen that the good news God has for us is Jesus Himself, the Man who gave Himself for us that we might be taken out of this evil age. He personally offers us all the benefits that Christ earned freely in love. What is clarified in chapter 2 is that these benefits are taken hold of by faith, and not by any work of the law. If the law had any power to make us obtain the riches of Christ, then Christ would have been unnecessary. So faith has been shown to be the most important piece of our justification with God.
We also saw that there is a recognition that the law made us dead men walking, but that Christ now lives in us, and we access that life by faith in Christ.
Looking at verse 1:
It is so easy to become bewitched. This word means that we are led away to evil by the false promise of something good. That truth is it that we are so easily led away from? It is the truth that Jesus was crucified on our behalf. This truth should teach us two things that drive us to the Lord.
1. THE LORD LOVES US ENOUGH TO GIVE HIS LIFE FOR US: Romans 5:8 tells us that God demonstrates His love towards us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. If you ever think that the Lord does not love you, then you have been bewitched and forgotten the image of Christ on the cross for your sake.
2. THE COST OF ETERNAL LIFE IS TOO HIGH FOR US TO PAY: Hebrews 10:1-4 tells us that the rituals of the law do not make the worshippers perfect. There is nothing that can be done to complete us in righteousness before the Lord apart from Jesus. The cost is too high. It costs the precious blood of Jesus. This is not something we can pay ourselves. If we think we can earn our salvation, we have been bewitched and are sorely mistaken about the true cost of salvation. We must again look at the image of Christ on the cross.
Paul asks three questions to clarify his point about living before the Lord in faith and grace.
Looking at verse 2:
Paul asks how the Spirit was initially received. Receiving the Spirit was not achieved by the works of the law. In other words, it was not earned. God does not give us the Spirit as a reward. There is no trade of equal value involved. You cannot receive the Spirit because you have read your Bible extensively, been nice to everyone around you, or made significant progress at work or school. Receiving the Spirit is done by faith. What does this mean? First, "received" does not mean offered. The Spirit is offered freely as a gift in Christ. The offer is for all. Received means to "grab ahold of." It is about accepting the offer. The Spirit is accepted by faith!
What is faith? Faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 for us as the "substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is taking something that you do not see, and actively becoming a vessel to show that thing in real in the physical life you live now. It is taking the promises of God, which we do not see here and now, and actively living your life as a demonstration that those promises are real. God has promised us the Spirit, and receiving the Spirit in faith is about DOING THINGS IN YOUR LIFE as if you have the Spirit because you have the great confidence that God has given you the Spirit.
As a note, this is not blind faith. We do not just randomly believe that God will give us His grace, or that the Spirit will dwell with us. We have CONFIDENCE of this provision because God Himself has PROMISED IT and PROVEN IT by Jesus Christ. Romans 5 says that if God has shown us His love by dying for us, then how much more shall we live by His life! It is the only reasonable and true conclusion that can be drawn from the life of Jesus! He is our sacrifice, and He has brought us into a place of life in Him. Surely if He loves us enough to die for us while we are sinners, then He loves us enough to give us His Spirit and dwell with us eternally! It's a promise we can trust our lives with!
Looking at verse 3:
Paul asks if the work of God which was begun in the Spirit can be perfected in the flesh. The idea is that God has begun a work in us, transforming us into the image of Christ here on earth. This was begun by the receiving of the Spirit in faith. It is continued unto completion also by faith! Just as much as you could not earn the gift of the Spirit by fulfilling the law, you cannot earn Christ-likeness fulfilling the law. Being like Christ is not something that is earned. It is something that is given. The Lord promises to accomplish this in you, you must simply live with faith in that promise.
Looking at verse 5:
Paul asks if the Lord supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles by works or faith? Moving past the personal work of the Spirit in your life, the working of miracles and external demonstrations of God's power are not something that we accomplish by the law. No, rather the Spirit works THROUGH our lives as a gift to help in the glorification of Christ here and now. He provides gifts of prophecy, tongues, interpretation, knowledge, faith, and healing as He wills. It is not a reward for our spiritual state. It is His gift to bless those around us and glorify Christ through us. Everything is done by faith, by receiving the offer of a gift in our lives. It is all by grace, through faith.
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Justin & Danielle Reyes
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