[Note: The following post represents my personal reflection on Christian faith which, I believe, makes me a better homeschool mom and gives you, the reader, a little glimpse into what makes me who I am as a wife, mom, and teacher.] Those of you who have heard my testimony, know that I spent the first eighteen years of my adult life as a disobedient, rebellious woman. Bitter over a drunken dad and perverted pastors, I renounced my childhood faith, and left the organized church. Freed of the hypocrisy of religious men, I pursued marriage, education, career, and finally parenthood with gusto. Outwardly successful and inwardly proud of my achievements, I foolishly continued down this treacherous path until the darkest day of my life in August 1991 when the hard reality of unexpected infant death abruptly smacked me in the face. What?! I was a good girl, and bad things like this don’t happen to good people. My intentions were good, but they weren’t good enough to save my son.
During those years of spiritual exile, I refused to acknowledge the Lord’s presence and authority. In fact, I pretended that He was dead. What I didn’t realize until many years later was that I was the one who was really dead. Spiritually dead, that is. The perfect prodigal, I embodied the truth of Romans 1:18-32…I knew God, but I didn’t honor Him or give thanks, so He gave me over to my sin, and there were dire consequences which I still regret to this day.
Judgment is painful, but it is meant to correct us and get our attention. Desperate for forgiveness and restoration, I finally cried out for mercy in October 1997, and Jesus met me face-to-face. In the midst of my heaving sobs, He quietly and gently told me all was okay now. He forgave me. Ever since that day, I have faithfully followed Him because He is my life and my hope. His Law is no longer repulsive. Rest is possible when I obey because He has my best interests at heart. He has proven himself faithful and worthy of my total trust. His judgment against me was good because He used it to bring me back into right relationship with Him. After experiencing such extravagant mercy, all I wanted to do from there on out was obey. I will follow Jesus because He is worthy, and I never want to live in the wasteland of sin and death ever again.
The Law of Sin Enslaves Us
According to Richard Hays, author of The Moral Vision of the New Testament, “the great difficulty with the Law of Moses…was that it could only point to righteousness, never actually produce it. There is a powerful and inexplicable ‘law of sin’ at work in human hearts that constantly defeats our solemn intention to do the good and to obey the will of God. Consequently, even where the hearer of the Law applauds the vision of the moral life conveyed by the Torah – as indeed we should, since the commandment of the Law is ‘holy and just and good’ (Romans 7:12), the Law can produce only condemnation and frustration.” The Apostle Paul agonized in Romans 7:14-24 over this life “in Adam” under the Law but before the rebirth “in Christ”:
For we know that the law is spiritual; but I am of the flesh, sold into slavery under sin. I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?
The Apostle Paul leaves the reader feeling desperate and hopeless at the end of Romans 7:24. He outlines our basic problem and asks who will save us?
The Law of the Spirit Frees Us
In verse 25, he reveals the solution: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul starts chapter 8 with the exhilarating revelation that Jesus condemns sins and releases those who follow Him from deserved condemnation. We are reborn from the old “in Adam” to the new “in Christ.”
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do; by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. for those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law – indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Why does God do this? So that we, His people, can fulfill His ‘holy, just, and good’ Law. The Holy Spirit empowers us to obey, and when we walk according to the Spirit, our desires and actions are totally aligned!
The Law of the Spirit Empowers Us
Hays again: “God is present in power in His people (the church), changing lives and enabling an obedience that would otherwise be unattainable. Obedience is a consequence of salvation, not its condition. The Holy Spirit is not a theological abstraction but the manifestation of God’s presence in the community, making everything new. Those who respond to the Gospel have entered the sphere of the Spirit’s power, where they find themselves changed and empowered for obedience. Obedience is possible at all only because God has broken the power of sin and begun the work of conforming believers to the image of Jesus Christ.”
Are you living in the same spiritual wasteland that I used to occupy? Good intentions are not good enough. You cannot save yourself from the power of sin and death. Today is the day to make it all right. Confess your need to Jesus, and commit to follow Him no matter what the cost. He will give you the power to obey. Or perhaps you already follow Jesus, but you are still clutching an old, destructive behavior that He is calling you to lay down. He wants to transform you into His dream daughter, but you have to participate by obeying. Don’t delay…confess today.