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Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)
This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4
Welcome back to HBS. We’re going to move on past Romans 8:1 with this lesson.
Just so you know while we we’re parked on verse 1 we we’re actually exploring the depth of God’s Word (digging deeper). This phrase simply means a “deep desire” to know God more – or a closer walk with Him.
To bring this into the human realm, when you met the love of your live the first time, were you content with observing them from a distance or did you desire to know them more?
How did your relationship develop? Perhaps it started with small talk. Then later on that progressed to taking long strolls by the seashore or lakeside together. Maybe you chose to go for walks in the park. If your wallet was empty, like mine, your plans were smaller but the zeal undiminished. I remember talking for hours on the telephone for instance to the one who had captured all my attention. We did go out on occasion. Going to a restaurant together or to the movies was okay, but admittedly the best time was “alone time” - together?
After all is said and done, what was the point of this “time investment” and “soul searching?” Wasn’t it a “deep desire” to know them more? Wasn’t this an outward expression of one’s love - an intimate sharing between two individuals?
King David, the psalmist, wrote:
2: My soul longed and even yearned for the courts of the Lord; My heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.
Here David expresses a desire to be with the Lord who his heavenly Father.
Perhaps David had many questions to ask the Lord. From the human perspective I think David wanted to know everything there was to know about his Father in heaven. David was longing for an intimate connection. In a small way, David was simply expressing his unconditional love in return for the Lord’s.
Jesus clearly instructs us that God is the Father of us all.
9: “Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name…
Can you remember back when you had one-on-one time with your father as a child?
Do you recall questioning your dad about his boyhood, his parents, his job, etc. because you wanted to “know him more” or you just wanted to “feel” closer to him? Weren’t those times special…just you and your father alone together?
God is longing for that same intimacy with all His children?
I heard one person translate intimacy with God the Father in this way – “In to me see.”
As we take the time to explore the depth of God’s Word, we will discover the breadth of His infinite love for us, and then He can fill our hearts with that same kind of love.
King David wrote:
9: For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has (what) filled with what is good.
When Believers begin to develop a “hunger” for the presence of God in their lives, our souls begin to “desire” a greater understanding of His character and disposition toward us. This is what drives us deeper into His Word. But let’s let the Word of God speak.
1: As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.
2: My soul thirsts for God, for the living God…
Abraham Lincoln put it this way, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has ever given man. All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated to us through this book.”
That’s worth considering; but all the goodness of God cannot be recorded in the Bible (John 21:25), but the truth of it can be communicated. This is where the depth of the Word comes into play, “digging deeper” if you will. It goes far beyond “knowing” words on a page, or committing a Bible verse or two to memory. It has everything to do with spending time with this book to better understand God’s character.
Please turn to Romans, chapter 8. We’ll begin today’s lesson starting at verse two.
8:1-11 Life in the Spirit
8:1-4 Freedom from condemnation
8:5-8 Spiritual vs. fleshly thinking
8:9-11 Indwelling Spirit gives life
Romans chapter 8 is the great chapter that brings into view that part of our salvation which is exercised by the third Person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. Without Jesus Christ’s sacrificial work on the cross for all mankind there would be no salvation and without the indwelt presence and constant intercession of the Holy Spirit there would be NO application of that salvation toward us – no revelation of the mystery of God’s Grace.
Romans 8, then, comes after Christ’s work on the cross – after His atoning blood has put the Believer’s sins away permanently – after he or she has seen that they have “died with Christ to sin, and to that legal responsibility they once had in federal Adam…
“Sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under Law, but under Grace.”
The Apostle Paul has shown “the flesh” to be incurably wicked; yet there is a blessed deliverance which gives us freedom “through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
I consider Romans 8 is to be the most encouraging chapter in all of Scripture for the person who is in Christ Jesus given that it begins with “there is now no condemnation” and ends with no separation (compare verse 1 with verses 35-39).
And so we begin:
2: For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
God has set us free from the only law that could condemn us.
Paul mentions two laws in verse 2. What’s he telling us?
I’ll use an illustration: you have the law of aerodynamics and the law of gravity.
The law of gravity says that a large, heavy metal object in the sky must fall to earth and crash (picture an airplane). But the law of aerodynamics is a higher law and overcomes the law of gravity. This law enables the airplane to soar and fly and not fall to earth.
Paul is saying, by the law of sin and death I will fail, I will fall, and I will crash (Romans 7:23-25) but by the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus I am set free and able to live a life pleasing to God (Romans 8:2).
God said, “The person who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:20; Amos 9:10).
This decree no longer applies to Believers because God addressed it – completely.
We died with Christ (Romans 6:8) and it is no longer we who sin but the sinful nature within us (Romans 7:17). Our sinful nature will die, and we who are in Christ Jesus will live on in eternity as co-heirs with Christ Jesus.
3: For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,
The Law is good but limited. We’ve covered this detail a couple of times already.
The Law is just but it cannot justify (Romans 7:12, 3:20).
The Law is holy (it came from God who is Holy) but it cannot sanctify (Romans 7:12).
The Law confirms that I am a sinner before God but it cannot make me a saint!
(A mirror may show me that I am filthy but it cannot cleanse me).
What the Law could not do, God did through His Son, Jesus Christ! Jesus fulfilled the righteous demands of the Law. Jesus Christ is the end of the Law (Romans 10:4).
Believe me when I say this, and Scripture will back me up, God does not want us to go on sinning. But even if we do those in Christ Jesus will not be condemned for doing so. The Law could not save, the Law could not give a person eternal life, but God could and He did through the sacrificial death of His Son for all those who believe.
Jesus came to give us eternal life and He did it in such a way as to fulfill the “righteous requirements of the law.” When Jesus freely gave up His life, He satisfied all the demands of the Law - “It is finished!” It cannot ask for one thing more.
4: so that the (righteous) requirements of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
What are the “(righteous) requirements of the Law?” What does the book say?
25: And a lawyer (who hoped to make a fool of Jesus) stood up and put Him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26: And He (aware that he was a lawyer) said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?”
27: And he answered, “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOUR SELF.”
28: And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE.”
The “righteous requirements” of the Law demands and requires that a person live a righteous life of loving God (perfectly) and loving one’s neighbor (perfectly).
I can’t do this and neither can you. How are we, as Believers, to accomplish this?
The Person and power of the Holy Spirit makes this possible.
Read verse 4 again carefully, it does not say, “by us” it says, “in us.”
This is something God does in us by His power and by the working of the Holy Spirit.
This is Bible study 101, but some of you may be unaware, the flesh is that which I do in and of myself (that which I produce). The Spirit refers to that which God does in me by the Person of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
The Law requires that I love God and love my neighbor (Matthew 22:36-40).
These two commandments summarize not only the Ten Commandments but all of God’s Commandments. We know from our study of Romans, that we cannot keep the Law by trying to keep the Law. It’s impossible. Even a saved sinner cannot do it.
They want to – but they can’t (Romans 7:14-25).
The key to fulfilling the law is love (Romans13:8-10 and Galatians 5:14).
Think about this. The Biblical definition of the word “love” is seeking another’s highest good. Put another way you want the best for that individual!
The definition of a friend (neighbor) has changed in today’s hi-tech world. In the context of social media, the term “friend” is often used to describe the contacts in a folder on some electronic device rather than relationships. You may have the ability to send your “friends” a text message from time to time but this is not the same thing as having or experiencing a long-term personal relationship with a person one on one.
There are many definitions of what it means to be a “friend” nowadays.
I’ll put it to you this way. A true friend is someone who is seeking your highest good!
If someone is always loyal, chaste, honest in every transaction, thinks of you first, and is putting your needs first then you have a true friend. But if there is one word that unlocks the real meaning of true friendship it is commitment (1 Corinthians 13:1-13).
Now that being the case, if you love your neighbor (friend) you’re not going to walk into his garage and take his $1200 bicycle, you’re not going to spread gossip about them, you’re not going to sleep with their spouse, you’re not going to lie to them, you don’t fight and squabble over every little thing, you don’t carry grudges, and you’re not going to insult them at the drop of a hat. Why? You’re seeking their “highest good.” You’re putting them “first.” You’re committed to the relationship and to its happiness.
Reminding you all of what we covered back in Lesson 25, the Mosaic Law was intended by the LORD God to be a temporary covenant. The New Covenant, to which the Mosaic Law actually pointed to, stands as a “way of life” that is different in nature to the way of life under the Law. Believers in the Grace Age live by the Spirit and are guided by love and truth. In other words, the Mosaic Law is fulfilled in Christ Jesus!
Love and truth – these two items are getting harder and harder to find by the day.
And this should not be the case. Are we not living in a Christian nation?
What is the ultimate expression of one’s love for another?
Jesus Christ gives us the perfect example:
12: This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
13: “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life (seeking their highest good) for his friends….” (See also Romans 5:6-8).
If more people would practice the concept of “seeking the highest good” of others, how many problems would go away in our families, our workplaces, our communities, our nation, Washington, D.C., and in the world?
The key to this dilemma is what’s missing in all these places…Jesus Christ.
The key to having love is a Spirit-filled walk (Galatians 5:13-23 and Romans8:4).
The Spirit of God produces this love in us (Galatians 5:22-23).
(To be continued)
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GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
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