“This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:2-5)
We can talk about the Holy Spirit all day long. We can read verses about the Holy Spirit as well. We can even read great books about the Holy Spirit.
But, unless we are brought to that place of seeing our dire need, as believers, for His continual work in our lives, He will simply remain an abstract idea to us.
Yes, we may see how He is necessary for our salvation. And even as someone who greatly influences our good behavior. And who gives us power to do good things.
But, practically speaking, we may still attempt to produce the works of God through our own dedication and will power. By the focused discipline of our own Christian flesh. Employing all kinds of methods and practices to bring our flesh under control.
Instead of patiently depending on the creation of His works in us.
A Spiritual Brick Wall
In my experience dealing with other Christian believers, this is perhaps the greatest challenge I have faced. Helping them to realize the absolute necessity of the Holy Spirit’s work; and the utter futility of their own efforts.
Most believers are hungry to hear about the forgiveness and liberty that they have in Christ. They long for that peace and forgiveness. And they long for a solution to the constant struggle against the flesh.
But there is a wall, a thick veil, that obscures the truth from most Christians. Even from very sincere and dedicated believers.
This thick fog of mists and vapors can only be pushed away when a believer has reached the end of his own strength. Or has reached the end of any confidence in his own will-power and self discipline to create the fruit of the Spirit.
There is something about our culture, or maybe it is the nature of man himself, that keeps a man striving to do God’s work for Him. Who tries to do God’s work in his own strength; and then gives God the credit for it!
How insane is that?!
As if God wants credit for something good that we have done in our own strength.
Yet, this is the state of most within Bible Christianity.
We preach a gospel based upon faith alone. But we still practice a Christian life based upon the dedication of our own flesh.
Or, to put it another way, based upon a life of self-discipline focused on producing those things that God has commanded us to do. Not realizing that the believer is unable, in himself, to produce anything that is acceptable to God.
“For I know that in me (that is in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:18)
The Peculiar Mechanics of Faith
Each of us longs for a way to measure our work and devotion toward God. We are looking for something that we can hold in our hands. Which we can look at from different angles and conclude that God is going to be pleased with what we have done.
Even as believers we long for this.
Even though the Lord will not be pleased with anything that we produce on our own.
However, we no longer truly live in the same world that we were born into. If we are truly born again, according to the scriptures, we are new creatures. We are now eternal creatures.
In fact, we are the sons of the living God. And Jesus is our Elder Brother. We have been made joint heirs of the inheritance the Lord is preparing for us in eternity.
Our life now is based upon faith. And all that we now do must be produced through the peculiar mechanics of faith.
“But without faith, it is impossible to please him: ….” (Hebrews 11:6)
Faith is confidence in what the Lord has said in the word of God. And what He has promised to do within us.
It is based upon things that are in direct contradiction to what we can see with our eyes. And in direct contradiction to the philosophies and processes of the world.
To Be Continued . . .