“So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.” Romans 7:4-6.
Two realms – the natural, physical realm and the realm of the unseen – are operative in the universe. The physical realm is more real to us because we function in it in our everyday lives. However, with the harnessing of the energy waves, for example, microwaves, wireless, light etc., we have become much more aware of the unseen realm. It amazes me how, with a single touch on the screen of my android tablet, I can order a book from an internet company anywhere in the world and in a few minutes, via energy that I can neither see nor understand, the book appears on my device and I can begin reading!
It is not difficult for us to understand, then, that we can live in two realms spiritually. We have bodies that relate to and function in the world. We eat food from the ground, and our bodies convert it into energy which drives our systems, but we also function in an unseen dimension which is just as real. The world we live in is immersed in the presence of its Creator. The Bible says that He fills heaven and earth. He is fully involved in what happens on earth, and that includes us.
The very breath we breathe is His breath – life. When He removes our breath, we die. We have no life apart from Him. If it were possible, scientists could put all the elements of a human body together but they cannot produce life because both physical life and spiritual life come from God. That means, of course, that if life comes from Him then we are dependent on Him and accountable to Him whether we acknowledge it or not.
Therefore, He has the right to dictate the way our lives are to be lived. When we confirmed our forefather’s disobedience by our own, we suffered the same consequences as he did, alienation from God. However, God did everything to put us back on track and to restore the connection between the seen and the unseen realms.
So, Paul says, we were cut off from the power of the sinful world to influence us when we died with Jesus. It is a fact. It’s real. It happened. God did it in the unseen realm when we turned to Him through Jesus. We died to our old lives and the power of sin to keep us enslaved but the reality of it is activated by faith, that unseen power, like the unseen waves of energy that network our planet and our universe, has connected us to a new power, the power of God.
From what were we cut off? Paul said we were cut off from the power of the law. Why the law? The law has the mysterious power to arouse sin in us. We know how this works. Just tell a kid not to do something and he will do it! Before you told him not to, he didn’t even think about doing it but, the moment you said, “Don’t,” he wanted to do it! Take away the prohibition and the desire to do it goes as well. That’s how we were wired by the sin nature in us with which we were born “in Adam”.
However, Jesus destroyed that perverse nature by His perfect obedience to all God’s “prohibitions”. He killed the desire, then they killed Him but He rose again and would never be subject to temptation again. Now, through faith, we are in Him, and have the potential to live as He did. In addition, He took away the necessity to have rules and regulations, and replaced them all with one “rule” if you like, the law of love. Then, just to make sure that we would follow that law, He gave us His Holy Spirit to produce His love in our hearts…
…which makes it all about Him and not about us. Paul said, “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” This means that Jesus in us by His Spirit makes it possible for us to reflect His character in the way we live. The old, rotten fruit of self-centredness and greed has been replaced by a new life of pleasing God by caring for others.
It’s the power of heaven breaking into the earthly realm and showing us what God is really like. It’s about having God’s will done on earth as it is in heaven. It’s about us being mirrors of Jesus. It’s about living in the realm of the Spirit while we are still in the flesh.
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