Not in Oldness of the Letter

“But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.” (Rom.7:6)

It is a universal reality that every true believer desires to live a life that is pleasing to God. The belief, however, that walking in perfect accordance with God’s Law as the way to please Him places a weighty burden on us because of our utter inability to fulfill it. The problem we face with the Law is that it incites sin and this problem is not resolved by simply abolishing it or calling it obsolete. It must be fulfilled—to the letter! This is precisely what Christ did and those who place their trust in Him become partakers of that fulfillment.

With that, the new birth that the believer experiences results in new desires and new affections. The Law is no longer a heavy burden, but rather the Law becomes the believer’s delight as David describes in Psalm 1:2. Believers find contentment in walking according to God’s will.

But what about the areas of life where God’s will is not specific, where He is not explicit in terms of what to do and what not to do in a given situation? How are we to respond in those situations? Fortunately, in His infinite love and mercy, God does provide an answer. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul addresses this issue in Romans 14:22-24 when he records the following statements concerning Christian liberty and faith. He writes, “The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats because his eating is not from faith, and whatever is not from faith is sin.” What Paul is saying is that in the areas where God has left some “wiggle room,” so to speak, the answer comes by way of our own convictions which have been shaped by God’s Word. If we respond contrary to those convictions, doubt will creep in and we begin to condemn ourselves because our actions are not consistent with our beliefs and as such we are not walking by faith. The ultimate consequence of that response is sin.

Whatever is not from faith is sin. Let that truth shape your thinking concerning Christian liberty. Allow the Word to strengthen your convictions. Listen to your conscience that you may keep on the narrow path, for His name’s sake!

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