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Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles

Stumbling Blocks and Obstacles

As we continue through Paul’s letter to the Romans, he’s explaining the relationship between strong and weak believers. We mustn’t fall prey to the temptation to judge one another. In my last post, I left off on this verse.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way.

Romans 14:13

I want to take the time to explain what these stumbling blocks and obstacles mean. It’s important for us to make it as easy as possible for growth to take place in the lives of fellow Christians.

The Greek word translated stumbling block, means a stub. It’s something sticking up from the ground, that will cause a person to trip. What does this mean in relation to weaker believers?

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, won’t he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge.

1 Corinthians 8:9-11

When Paul wrote this, idol temples were the restaurants of his day. Selling the food that had been sacrificed was a way that these temples made money.

Paul taught that since these idols were nothing, you could eat this food without guilt. However, a Christian that might have worshiped at this temple before they were saved, would have a problem with it. In that case, the stronger Christian should be mindful of this issue.

What does that mean to us now? If you know that someone has rules in an area, then don’t rub your freedom in his face. If you know someone has an issue with scratch tickets, don’t wave your winning ticket in front of them.

“It’s not my fault they’re too weak to deal with it.”

But it is your fault if you don’t walk in love towards your fellow believers. That brings me to the word, obstacle. This word literally means a stick-trap. It’s what you see in the cartoons when a rope is hung from a bent tree.

This is a trap that will spring when you step in it. That’s what we’re doing when we don’t operate in love with a weaker Christian.

Maybe they had an issue with something before Christ. Maybe they were addicted to video games (Yes, that is an addiction) and the Lord had set them free from that. If you force them to play a game with you, the devil might use that to trap them all over again.

Do you really want to be the source of guilt and pain for a brother or sister in Christ? We must walk in love with each other.

As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.

Romans 14:14

In this verse, Paul literally says that I have seen and I have been convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in and of itself. This is totally opposite what he was taught as a Pharisee. God must have done an incredible work in him.

But, Paul adds a footnote to this. If someone assigns the label of “unclean” to something, then to that person it is unclean.

It’s all about your attitude. If it reminds you of your sin and tempts you to return, then it’s unclean to you. Since you won’t be operating in faith, that would make it a sin for you to do it.

That’s why our overall outlook must be that of love, especially to those of us with a weak conscience. We mustn’t ridicule or judge each other for what someone feels strongly about. In that way we can all grow together as the body of Christ, fulfilling His call.

Question: What is an area of weakness for you?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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A Serious Warning

A Serious Warning

We’re continuing to look at God’s dealings with the Jews as talked about by Paul in the book of Romans. He’s applying it to the church.

For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

Romans 11:21-22

In my last post, I talked a little about this aspect of God’s character. He’s able to make hard decisions very quickly. It’s important for us to understand how this applies to us.

Too many believers are under the impression that God is supremely soft-hearted. They treat His grace like a welcome mat and live the way they want. But, that’s not who God is.

That’s especially true in the time that we’re living in. We’re getting close to the return of Christ. That means God is starting to clean up His church to be the spotless bride spoken of in Scripture.

Jesus, Himself, talked about this. At one point he gave a parable about the end-times. Listen to how the Lord explains it.

As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil.”

Matthew 13:40-41

Did you hear what the Lord said? He’s not talking about the sinful world. At the end of the age He’ll be weeding His kingdom.

The good news is that the Lord warns us exactly what or who He’ll be weeding out. First, everything that causes sin. This is a Greek word that means to set a trap. That’s those who teach or do things that would cause others to fall and miss God’s best for them.

He will also weed out all those who do evil. Or, literally all those who live without any law – specifically God’s law. I believe He’s talking about godless believers. They believe in God and may even love Him. But, they live as if they don’t.

For hundreds of years, carnal Christians have been mostly allowed to continue as they pleased. But, as we near the end of the age, the Holy Spirit is going to make it impossible to straddle the fence. People are going to have to choose all or nothing when it comes to spiritual matters.

Jesus had more to say about those who cause others to go astray.

But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come!”

Matthew 18:6-7

Again, He’s talking about people in this verse. That’s an important point. I say this because the very next verse in this context is usually misinterpreted and ripped out of its context. As you read it, remember that Jesus is talking about people who cause others to sin.

If your hand or your foot causes you to sin cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

Matthew 18:8-9

The context is people who offend. I believe that Jesus is letting us know His attitude toward the members of His own body.

Think about it. I have caused my eyes to sin on many occasions, but my eye has never caused me to sin. In the body of Christ, however, a single member can cause others to miss the mark.

The Lord want you to know that it doesn’t matter how indispensable you think you are to the kingdom. If you’re offending the body, Jesus Christ is severe and decisive. If that’s you, then take the time to repent and change your direction.

Question: How do people cause others to sin?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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No Condemnation!

No Condemnation!

We’re continuing our study through Paul’s letter to the Romans. In this post we’re starting chapter 8.

Remember, in the last chapter we saw that there’s a battle going on between my mind and my flesh. Each of them is submitting to a different law. But, we can get victory through Christ.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2

Here’s another one of those passages that people like to take out of context. It’s one of the favorite verses for people who hate correction. The least bit of constructive criticism causes them to respond, “Stop speaking condemnation over me!”

That statement shows a total misunderstanding of what this verse means. It literally reads that there’s no guilty verdict in Christ Jesus. We’ve been declared “Not Guilty” in Christ. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t miss the mark sometimes.

Jesus made a statement to a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. He couldn’t have made it any clearer.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:11b

We need to take this to heart. Telling someone to stop sinning is NOT the same as condemning them. It’s part of the assignment of Christian leaders to lovingly warn believers of the outcome of their actions.

Condemnation is the final verdict. That’s why the phrase, in Christ, is so important. It’s because we’re found in Christ that the law of the Spirit of Life liberates us from law of sin and death.

What, exactly, is this law that liberates us? It’s in Christ.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8

Actually, what Jesus said here was for us to remain in His Word. His Word remains in me if I remain in Him. James talked about this as well.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

James 1:21

He went on to say that we can’t just look into the Word, then forget it. We must continue in the Word. He concluded with an important statement of truth.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:25

Please understand that James is not simply talking about reading the Bible. He’s talking about remaining in Christ and allowing His Word to be planted in us. Notice that James equates the implanted Word as the perfect law that gives freedom.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom…

James 2:12

The truth is that we’re not going to be judged on the ten commandments. We’re going to be judged by the Word planted in us. This is the law of the Spirit of life that sets me free as I allow it to take root in my life.

Question: What’s the difference between condemnation and warning against sin?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Word in Your Heart

God’s Word in Your Heart

In my last post, we saw from the book of Romans, that an immature believer will begin to agree with God’s law. They’ll see it in contrast to the sin that continually enters their life.

So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law…

Romans 7:21-22

We have to realize that we’re not responsible for the desires of the flesh. They’ll always be there. But, as we begin to delight in God’s Word, we possess the keys to victory over the flesh.

The second sentence in this verse says that, I rejoice with myself over God’s law in my inner man. What’s Paul talking about here? He mentions it elsewhere in his writings.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

In the context of Second Corinthians, chapter 4 (check it out), Paul is talking specifically about himself and his team. Unfortunately, this verse is not true of all believers.

We know from his writings that Paul spent time in the spirit each day, renewing the inner man. We have to come to the realization that our inner beings are important. Too many believers ignore this basic fact.

The pharisees had this same problem. Jesus rebuked them for it.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

Matthew 23:27-28

As God’s people, we can’t just let the flesh be the strongest part of our being. We live in a society where our flesh is being fed and nurtured on a daily basis. We must also strengthen our inner man.

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…

Ephesians 3:16

It’s through the Holy Spirit that our inner man is strengthened. This power flows from the Holy Spirit to our spirit to our heart. This is what we need to overcome the flesh and the sin nature.

I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

Psalm 119:11

This is more than simply memorizing Scripture. We need to spend time in the Lord’s presence hearing a Word from Him. That’s where change comes from.

This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

Hebrews 8:10

The important question is; who will do the writing on our hearts? The obvious answer is, God, by His Holy Spirit, not me by my memorizing.

So, getting back to Romans, I rejoice with myself on the inside. My heart and spirit rejoice together as God by His Spirit writes His law on my heart. That may not stop the flesh from wanting something different. But, it gives me new strength to walk in victory.

Question: How have you experienced an increase of God’s Word written on your heart?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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I’m Not a Victim of Sin

I’m Not a Victim of Sin

In my last post, we looked at Paul’s view of the infancy stage that all believers pass through. The goal is to go through as quickly as possible. It’s not an excuse for a sinful lifestyle.

Let’s look at these verses in detail. Remember, in this section, Paul is not talking about himself, but writing from the perspective of a baby Christian.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Romans 7:15-16

It’s interesting to note that every word translated as “do” in this verse is a different Greek word. The literal translation of that first sentence is, I do not comprehend what I am fully accomplishing.

There’s another verse that can help us to understand what Paul’s saying here.

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.

Philippians 2:12-13

We have to realize that God is working in us. His work includes the changing of our will and our actions. We simply need to submit to the Lord’s process.

So, in Romans, Paul isn’t saying “I don’t know what I’m doing.” He’s expressing to us that as a baby believer, he doesn’t fully comprehend what’s being accomplished in his life.

The simple fact is that I don’t understand how God is working His will in me. He’s getting me to think like He thinks. In that way I’ll begin to act on His plan for my life.

Going back to the original verse in Romans, Paul tells us why he doesn’t comprehend what he’s accomplishing. Again, the literal translation of the next sentence reads, the reason I don’t comprehend it is because what I intend is not what I practice habitually.

It’s not that I don’t do it. The problem is that it’s not a habit yet. Paul is saying that at this point the baby Christian hasn’t reached the level of habitually doing what he knows to do.

Instead, this immature believer finds himself doing things that he hates. But, there’s an important difference. This phrase does not imply a habit, but something that he falls into from time to time.

That brings us to the next verse.

And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.

Romans 7:16

There are times I find myself doing something that I actually don’t want to do. The good thing is that I recognize that it’s wrong. I find myself agreeing with God’s will. This is the first baby step to freedom.

For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do – living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap abuse on you.

1 Peter 4:3-4

Peter explains it well. He says that when you were in sin, you chose to do it. Now, you’ve determined not to do it, you even hate it. You may still fall into it from time to time, but your heart is changing.

The world thinks it strange that you want to do good. They think that serving God is a bad thing, it’s no fun. But, now you’re agreeing that the law is good. This is the growth you want to see as an infant believer.

Question: How have you seen your attitude toward God’s law change over the years?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Spiritual Infancy

Spiritual Infancy

In my last post we were talking about the difference between spiritual laws and physical laws. Today I want to review a little bit, so we can see the progression through the book of Romans.

Here’s the verse we left off on.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Romans 7:14

Remember how Paul brought us to this point. In his letter, he started by talking about ungodly sinners with no knowledge of God. He also talked about those who were actively anti-God.

His next subject was religious people. These are the ones who think rules will get you to God.

He then shared about the principles of salvation. He explained how Christ set us free from death, sin, and the law.

At that point, everything he talked about was theoretical and positional. It was all about the finished work of Christ that He accomplished through His death on the cross and His resurrection.

But now, we’re getting to the important part. How is all of this applied to my life in practice?

Paul starts by talking about how we can offer ourselves as a paid volunteers of sin. We saw that when you offer to work for sin, sin will pay you wages.

In any job you’re selling yourself to the company for your paycheck. We basically say, “I’m yours, I’ll do what you tell me for a price.”

Actually, this wasn’t the normal lifestyle until the industrial age. Until then, most people worked for themselves.

So, we’re now at the point in Romans where Paul is talking about Christians who are working for sin. There’s a Scriptural word for that.

Brothers, I could not address you as spiritual but as worldly – mere infants in Christ. I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?

1 Corinthians 3:1-3

The word translated as worldly in this verse is actually the word, carnal or fleshly. It means that they serve God according to the dictates of their flesh.

The apostle equates this with being a spiritual infant. This tells me that every Christian goes through the carnal phase. But the real question is; for how long? The goal should be to get through this infancy as quickly as possible.

We need to understand that this is who he’s talking about at this point in Romans – infant Christians.

And that brings us to, probably, one of the most misunderstood and most misquoted passages of the New Testament. It’s used as excuse for all kinds of sinful lifestyles.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

Romans 7:15-20

Christians who want to stay in their infant stage pull this out of context and say, “Look at this! Even Paul didn’t do right. So don’t judge me.”

What they don’t understand is that Paul was talking from the perspective of an infant Christian. This is not supposed to be the normal Christian life.

In my next post, we’ll begin looking at this section of Scripture in great detail. We’ll see exactly what Paul was trying to get across to us.

Question: How have you seen your Christian walk progress through the infant stage?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

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

 

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Spiritual Death

Spiritual Death

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. We left off talking about how the law puts a spotlight on sin. Here’s the verse we were looking at.

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

Romans 7:13

In my last post, I said that when death came to Adam and Eve, it caused them to lose their relationship with God. I want to talk about that in a little more detail.

Remember, Adam was perfect before he fell into sin. That means that he functioned perfectly according to God’s plan for him. What does that mean?

God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

John 4:24

This is something that Jesus said to the woman He met with at a well. A question we don’t usually ask is; did Adam worship God perfectly? I believe that he did. Adam and Eve worshiped God in spirit and in truth before they lost their perfect state.

If they worshiped with the spirit, that means that they didn’t have to use physical words. They talked and communed with God on His level. That’s what God created them for.

Does Scripture bear this out? I believe that it does. Look at what happened immediately after they sinned.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.

But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

Genesis 3:8-10

This is the very first time a sound is ever mentioned in the Bible. This is the first time they hear God with their physical ears. That’s why they were so afraid.

Now sin had a spotlight, and serving God was by rules and the law. Right and wrong was now the rule of righteousness. In that sense they died – they lost their spiritual relationship with God.

This is the relationship that’s restored in 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

That’s the life we received in Christ. He renewed our relationship with God in the spirit. That brings us back to where we left off in Romans, chapter 7.

We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.

Romans 7:14

Paul is now explaining to us a new concept. He’s telling us that the law exists spiritually. We have to realize that there’s a spiritual law.

Yes, Adam served God in the spirit. But spiritual laws work differently than physical laws.

Paul wants to make it clear that even though there’s a spiritual law, he’s talking about the carnal, fleshly law. It’s because of this law that we’re sold into slavery to sin.

Wait a minute! What about Christians? In my next post we’ll see how this principle plays out in the lives of believers. It’s an important concept for us to understand.

Question: How do you cultivate your spiritual relationship with God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel, Worship

 

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The Spotlight on Sin

The Spotlight on Sin

As we go through the book of Romans, we’ve been talking about how the law brings death into our lives. This happens even though God created it as a good thing. Paul continues with this thought.

For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death.

Romans 7:11

According to this verse, sin used the commandment as a starting point. Then it deceived me, just like the serpent in the garden of Eden. As a result, it put me to death.

That’s why it’s so important not to “enforce” the letter of the law.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

2 Corinthians 3:6

That’s because the letter gives power to sin and brings death into our lives.

We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers…

1 Timothy 1:8-9

The good news is that we are righteous in Christ. This tells me that the law is not for us! The law is for the unrighteous. I shouldn’t need a set of rules to keep me in line with God’s plan for me.

Paul continues with this thought.

So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.

Romans 7:12

The fact is that the law is holy, set apart to God. Also, the commands that it contains are holy, righteous, and good. There’s nothing wrong with the law on a moral level. What’s wrong, is how sin twists the law in order to kill us.

Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful.

Romans 7:13

We need to understand that Paul is being very specific here. He asks; did the good law become death to me? The answer is, absolutely not! What the law did, was to throw a spotlight on sin so that it could be seen for what it was.

As a result, it put on a show for me, to attract my attention. The goal was to make sin look utterly sinful.

Why did God do this? The answer is simply that He didn’t. It was Adam who turned on the spotlight when he ate the fruit. That’s why, immediately, before God did anything, he hid from God.

That’s because it caused death to Adam’s soul. Specifically, a rift in communication between him and God.

This is the chasm that needed to be crossed. That’s why true salvation can only be found in Christ Jesus. He’s the bridge that brings us back into an intimate relationship with God the Father.

In my next post, I’ll look at this subject of relationship with God in more detail.

Question: What negative results of the law have you experienced?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2021 in Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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My Fight with Legalism

My Fight with Legalism

In my last post, I looked at Paul’s teaching on legalism in his letter to the Roman church. It’s actually what separates all other religions and Christianity.

Think about it. In the book of Acts, the early church had no phones, radio, New Testament Scripture, or anything like the resources and knowledge we have today. Yet they walked in the power of God that’s unrivaled in our modern generation.

As I thought about it, I also realized that my grandparents couldn’t read and had no formal education to speak of. Yet there was an incredible manifestation of the power of God in their lives – what happened?

There are some sneaky ways that legalism creeps into our lives. We have to be careful not to fall victim to them.

Here’s where we ended in my last post.

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
Romans 7:9-10

This verse is very clear. God saved me apart from the law, when I trusted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Through this finished work I was made alive apart from the law.

Then the commandment came, which the Scripture says is the power of sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When this happens, death begins its work in me.

Let me explain how God used this truth to minister to me. One day, as I was driving, praying, and meditating upon the Word, the Holy Spirit started to speak to me. I had been going through a rough time financially.

I had done everything that I knew to do. I had stood on all I’d been taught about prayers and confessions. I’ve always been a tither. I always remind the Lord what His Word says and that I’m standing on His promises.

At this point in my life I clearly heard God speak to my heart and ask me, “What are you basing your expectation on?” Immediately my thoughts turned to the Scripture. I’m basing my hope in the Word that tells me to tithe.

If I’ll tithe, then You will rebuke the devourer and open the windows of Heaven. I give special offerings when You lead me to, so that I’ll receive the blessings of the seed of faith.

The Lord then asked me a question that floored me. He said, “So you’re basing your expectation upon the law?” I was speechless. I had no response to this.

On the inside I felt like defending and justifying my actions. But deep down I knew that the Lord had hit upon the very root of the problem, even though at that point I had no clue how to get out of it.

I came to the realization that I had placed myself under the commandment. Trying, in your own power, to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism. I had to learn how to walk in the Lord’s freedom.

That’s why it’s important to understand how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and death.

Question: Are there Scriptural promises that you find yourself legalistic about?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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How the Law Brings Death

How the Law Brings Death

We’re continuing our walk through the book of Romans. We’ve seen Paul’s example of a marriage to show us how Christ set us free from the law, sin, and death. Now the apostle wants to show us how to apply these principles.

What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

Romans 7:7

After all this, Paul comes up with another question. It seems like the law was a big problem. But is the law sin? No way!!!

Scripture says that I only have knowledge of sin through the law. It literally says that I never knew by experience what coveting was, except that the law said, “Don’t covet.”

This is an important point. Look at what happened back in the Garden of Eden.

And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”

Genesis 2:16-17

Notice that by eating the tree, Adam and Eve would only be given the knowledge of good and evil. They wouldn’t have the experience.

What did the devil say?

“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Genesis 3:5

That’s what eating the fruit of this the tree did. By giving us the knowledge of good and evil, it put the desire in us to want rules over relationship.

Before then, Adam and Eve didn’t know what good and evil was. All they knew was that God had said, “Don’t eat this.”

But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead.

Romans 7:8

Sin sees the law as a starting point. Beginning with the law, sin fully works all kinds of longing for what I shouldn’t have. That’s why sin without law is dead.

That’s a spiritual principle that overlaps in other areas. For instance, faith without works is dead. The body without the spirit is dead. That’s why Scripture says that the power of sin is the law.

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.

Romans 7:9

This is a really good description of what happened in the garden. Adam and Eve were alive, both physically and spiritually. Then came the knowledge of good and evil. Along with that, sin came to life and they died.

Now they had to live by knowing good and evil. That means that they had to establish rules – the law.

I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.

Romans 7:10

It turns out the commandments that I think are pointing to life actually are leading me to death. That’s why we need to go from a life of rules to a walk in the spirit. In my next post, I’ll share my personal confrontation with this truth.

Question: How has trying to follow the law impacted your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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