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Holy Spirit – Life and Death

Holy Spirit – Life and Death

I’ve been looking at the principles found in the parable of the Prodigal Son. This is in Luke 15:11-32. Today, I want to talk about one last truth found in this story.

The father is speaking to the older brother, trying to get him to rejoice over the son’s return. He makes a statement that should speak to us as believers.

But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.”

Luke 15:32 NIV

According to the father, the younger son’s return was a change from death to life. That’s the same with us when we’re saved.

Your flesh cannot fellowship with God. Your spirit, because you’re now in Christ, can live in relationship with God.

We’ve seen from Paul’s writings in Romans, that the flesh can never please God. The apostle continues with this thought. However, even though I normally use the NIV, for this verse I believe that the NKJV is the more accurate translation.

But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

Romans 8:9 NKJV

This verse simply states that everyone can access the Spirit of Christ if they’re saved. It’s not a special level of achievement only attained by a few highly spiritual people. If you are His, then you have the Spirit of Christ.

But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.

Romans 8:10 NIV

Here’s a statement of fact. There are two results of having the Spirit of Christ within you. The first is that if Christ is in you, then your body is dead through sin. Secondly, if Christ is in you, then your spirit is alive through righteousness.

What does Paul mean by saying that your spirit is alive? Furthermore, what does it mean to be spiritually dead? This is a concept that many people have no understanding of.

Remember back to the Garden of Eden. When God created Adam, He said that if you eat of this tree, you will surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17) Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, yet their bodies didn’t stop working at that point.

That’s because in God’s terminology, death is the loss of fellowship with Him. It has nothing to do with the condition of your body.

Because of sin, communication ceases between Adam and the Lord. Humanity lost the relationship that they were created for.

The fact is, I’m going to live eternally somewhere, so death doesn’t mean my body stops working. That’s why the parable of the Prodigal Son is such a good picture of this truth.

The younger of the two sons took his inheritance and left home. Father and son were no longer able to have fellowship. When the son came to his senses, he returned home. We can see the attitude of God in the response of the father.

“This brother of yours was dead and is alive again.”

That’s how it works in our lives when we come to Christ. Even though your spirit existed before salvation, it couldn’t commune with God. That’s why believers now need to learn to communicate with God.

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.

Romans 8:11 NIV

Every Christian has the Spirit of Christ living in them. Because of that fact, communication and fellowship with God is now possible. This means that the Holy Spirit who raised Christ from the dead in us, and He will give life to our dying flesh.

That’s the bottom line. It’s the Spirit that works on our flesh, not the mind and will-power.

Question: Why is it better to rely on the Holy Spirit rather than will-power?

© 2022 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2022 in Legalism, Revival, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Christ, Marriage, and the Law

Christ, Marriage, and the Law

We’re now in Romans, chapter 7. Paul has been talking about how Christ has set us free from the law, sin, and death. He’s now about to use a common example to illustrate what he’s been teaching.

Do you not know, brothers — for I am speaking to men who know the law — that the law has authority over a man only as long as he lives? For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage.

Romans 7:1-2

Here Paul is speaking to those who know the law. He explains that the law is lord over humans only as long as they’re alive.

Now, using marriage as an example, he explains this truth. The law binds a woman to her living husband. But, if her husband dies, she is loosed from that aspect of the law.

So then, if she marries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is not an adulteress, even though she marries another man.

Romans 7:3

Obviously, if her husband lives, and there’s another man in her life, she’s an adulteress. If her husband is dead, then there’s no adultery. Paul is using the example of a married woman. So, what does that have to do with us?

So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God.

Romans 7:4

The point is that we died to the law with Christ, so that we could be married to another. We now belong to Him who was raised from the dead – Jesus Christ. In Christ the old connections are gone.

Look at the wonderful results of this truth.

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.

Galatians 2:19

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Romans 6:11

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Galatians 6:14

What could be better than this? We are declared dead to the law, dead to sin, and dead to the world. According to verses 2 and 3 above in Romans, what does this mean? We now have no connection, no obligation, and the freedom to choose another way of life.

Think about this in the natural. What if a woman’s husband dies? She goes through the grieving process. But then, God brings her another love.

What if she remains devoted to her dead husband? Everyday she places flowers on his grave. She continues to talk to that dead husband as if he’s alive. She still sets a place for him at dinner table.

Is she free? No! Why not? It’s because of her own choice.

Many Christians are just like this. The old connections to the law, sin, and the world are broken in Christ, yet they act as if they were not.

What’s the answer to all of this? Paul will get into it as we continue on in this teaching. You won’t want to miss it.

Question: How is your relationship with Christ similar to a marriage?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 1, 2021 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Dead to Sin

Dead to Sin

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re talking about how Christ freed us from sin on the cross. In the salvation He purchased for us, is our identification with Him on the cross. Because of that, death and sin don’t rule us anymore.

The apostle makes it clear that we’re no longer slaves to sin. We can apply the death of Jesus Christ to our own bodies.

In my last post, I talked about how we sometimes fight against this work. In their experience, there are many believers who still act as slaves to sin. So this death over the flesh is something that must be sought after. It doesn’t just happen.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

Romans 6:8-10

Paul now begins to talk about the implications of us dying with Christ. That’s why he uses the word, “if” in this passage. It requires an understanding of what has taken place in the spirit.

If we truly understand that we’ve died with Christ, then that should direct our faith toward living with Him. This means a common life together. His life and our life are melded together.

The reasoning is simple. In His death, He died to sin for all of us. Now Christ lives toward God. That’s the new direction that our lives should take on.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

Here Paul tells us that in the same way we trusted Christ in baptism, we must count or literally take inventory of, conclude yourself to exist dead, in fact, to sin.

This goes right along with our baptism. In verse 3 of Romans chapter 6 we were baptized into His death. Now in verse 11, there’s something that Paul is hoping you’ll move into by faith. Paul describes this step to the Colossian church.

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
Colossians 2:11-12

This is what Paul is trying to describe to us – the putting off, or dying, of the sinful nature. According to Paul, this is a surgical procedure that can only be done by Christ.

It isn’t a work I can perform. It doesn’t matter how much will-power I put forth. Only Christ, Himself, can bring it to pass in my life. I must submit under the blade of the divine Surgeon.

There are two prerequisites to this surgery. The first is baptism and the second is faith in the power of God. This means that I can’t look to myself and how well I can obey God. It’s all about how much I trust His power working in my life. How much am I willing to surrender to Him?

It’s the same as in the natural world. If I don’t trust the surgeon in a medical procedure, then I will not allow them to put me under the anesthesia. I’ll only let someone I trust have that much power over my body. Do we trust Christ enough to consent to His life changing work in us?

That’s a choice we all have to make. If I want to see the victory of God over my sin nature, then I have to do it His way. It’s a decision I have to make on a daily basis. It’s the basis for a victorious life in Christ.

Question: How has counting yourself dead to sin changed your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Attacking the Flesh in Water Baptism

I’m posting about our spiritual battle against the flesh – our old man.  In my last article, I talked about defending your mind against the attacks of the sin nature.  Now we want to go on the offensive.

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

We can’t live our whole life playing defense against sin.  According to Paul, the first thing we should be taught is how to put off the old self. Take the war to him.  We need to start seeing some forward momentum.

Paul wrote a lot about this subject. It’s from his writings that we can learn how to overcome the flesh. It’s in Romans, chapter 6, that he begins dealing with the subject of sin. He tells us that it’s the grace of God that covers our sins.

Paul goes on to ask a question that may sound a little foolish, but it’s one we deal with all the time. Should we sin more in order to get more grace? Obviously not. But he uses the following argument.

By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?
Romans 6:2-3

Here is a truth – in Christ we’ve died to sin. In the waters of baptism, we’ve identified ourselves with the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord. So, we shouldn’t want to live according to our old life. But by the very question he asks, he implies that it’s possible to live in sin even though we died to it. How can we get the victory over this sin?

It all starts with our water baptism. This is where we identify with Christ. This is where we begin the process of removing the old man. Peter agrees with Paul’s assessment.

…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also — not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ…
1 Peter 3:21

The word pledge in the above verse means asking, desire, or demand. When we allow ourselves to be baptized in water, we are placing a demand on God for a good conscience. Because we desire to live rightly before Him, we take this step. It’s how we start down the road to remove the old sin nature.

By faith, we see our old self dead and buried under that waters of baptism.  That’s got to be our attitude.  When we rise out of the water, by faith we assume that our old flesh stays under.

This is the first battle in a major campaign against the flesh.  It’s also a major victory.  By your act of obedience, you’ve placed a demand on God, and He completed the work.

Romans chapter 6 continues this thought. The first 10 verses describe our identification with Christ through water baptism. Then, in verse 11, Paul brings out the next step in the process.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11

The words, in the same way, let us know that this is a new truth. You were baptized, and by faith identified with the death of Christ. In the same way that you trusted God for this, now go on to the next step of faith. I’ll talk about that step in my next post.

Questions: Were you baptized in water?  How was your faith released during your water baptism?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2020 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, Spiritual Warfare

 

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