All throughout scripture we are warned about disobedience against God. We are given clear description of what is disobedience, and also have accounts of those who chose to walk this way. I think of Deuteronomy 28 specifically, where God has explained that to live blessed lives is to obey God, and to live cursed lives is to disobey. Jeremiah 17:5-8 speaks the same message, the warning is that if you put your trust in man, in your own flesh or that of others – rather than God, you will live under a curse. Psalm 1 David displays it clearly the blessing and cursing and again it is based on living in obedience or disobedience. Many do not take Old Testament scriptures for them, but I would encourage us to look how there is connection, and how they give to us a very good description of how we need to live and why.
In Galatians 3, Paul rebukes the church because they began to live under the law, which brings with it the curse. He said these words: For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”
Many have taken this to mean, and I was one of them, that to live by rules and lists of to do’s, is what we would see as living by the law, or being counted as being legalistic. This is true, but there is more that we need to take a look at. When anyone of us operates by our own strength, our flesh we are subject to the law – and this brings the curse of the law upon us. We are counted as living under the law, when we operate in the flesh, for this is also called the works of our flesh; Gal 2:16. The Old Testament passages I have referred to, Paul has expounded their meaning this throughout the epistles, specifically Galatians 5 and in chapters 6,7 & 8 of Romans.
We all agree that we are no longer under the law and that we are now under the Law of Christ; Romans 8:1-8. To be under the blessing of God means we are found hidden in Christ; Col 3:1-3. And in order to remain hidden we must live – dead, to our flesh; Romans 6:11 and live abiding lives; John 15:1-8.
I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Gal 5:16-18
Christ is not only our redeemer, but He is our very power to live law abiding citizens; 1 Cor 4:20. In reality, Christ, as He spoke with His own words, ‘I did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but to fulfill them.’ So now all the ‘to do’s and the don’ts’ are found in Him. We not only live according the law and the prophets, but we now live to a higher standard; Matt 5:17-20, in His Spirit.
Christ has paid the price for us, yes and Amen! We are no longer subject to the curse of the law, Amen! But it is one thing to be given our freedom papers, and quite another to live by them. This was the problem and a good example for us that the children of Israel encountered over and over again. They were freed, but still craved the life of bondage and thus reaped great sorrow and even their death for this; Psalm 78. This is the problem I see all around in modern Christianity, people who are suffering under the curse, and not recognizing this. People still living according to their flesh, and expecting God to bless them.
While we were told by Jesus that we would have tribulation and troubles – but Jesus said that HE HAS OVERCOME, so that we may live in Him through them and that we too would be overcomers; John 16:33. I’m afraid that many take the troubles they face, the suffering they are enduring as what Jesus talks about, but in truth what they endure and face is the result of what they have lived by, and are under the curse of this, as what Paul spoke when he said that when we sow to our flesh, we will reap corruption. Jesus was in fact speaking about the persecution we would face in walking out our Christian faith, obedient to God.
We are promised peace that only Jesus can give us, and that joy will be our strength. I pray that we would look into our problems, troubles and anguish a little more deeply – asking the Father to reveal to us if perhaps we too have been operating in our flesh thereby reaping its result.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Gal 6: 7-8