Romans 8:2 The Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
It is not uncommon for a patient to seek help with an ailment for which there is no pill. I will insist the answer lies in weight loss, physical therapy or some lifestyle modification, but the patient invariably repeats the question, Can’t I just take a pill? I can identify with that. If, in the depth of my addiction, you told me of a pill that could fix me, I would have been interested. I did not want to change, I just wanted the easy answer. I still want a magical pill that allows me to eat whatever I want and lose weight. I desire a solution that requires nothing from me.
Yesterday I asked the question, What is wrong with me? Why do I do the things I do not want to do? The answer, that I have a disease called the flesh nature, only led to another question. Is there any hope for my condition? Paul asked the same question, Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Here then, is Paul’s answer: Jesus Christ. Through his death on the cross, Christ has given us a new spirit life as an alternative to following our disastrous flesh life. When we come to know God, our flesh nature is not removed, but we are reborn in our spirit to this new perfect life. Jesus taught that we are flesh and spirit. It is in our spirit life (God in us) then, that we are made new and perfect.
We now have the freedom to pursue the only one who can meet all of our deepest needs. The purpose and meaning we sought in our destructive flesh, can only truly be found in the new life in God. This new life offers to us the profound transition from condemnation, death, misery, and sin to life, peace, joy, forgiveness and freedom.
How then do I attain this freedom and forgiveness? The how, is both simple and difficult. Paul said we are simply saved by faith. We do not earn this new life by good behavior. Faith though, is turning from the pursuit of self to follow God. If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23).
Therein lies the problem for many of us. Many of us see our need and would like it fixed, but we long for an easier option. Can’t I just take a pill for that? Radical commitment to God seems a little extreme. I just need a little nip/tuck, not a complete overhaul.
Not everyone is ready for profound change. There are, after all, other ways to get sober. Many have left behind drink or drug without following God. God is not the only path to sobriety. Paul insisted that God is, however, the only answer to the underlying disease of our flesh nature.
God does not automatically make me skinny or sober when I come to him. Those issues are but symptoms of my disease, the disastrous flesh life. If, I want the solution to that problem, I need the new spirit life. It is only when, in faith, I commit to daily abandoning the old life and following this radical new life, that God begins to deal with my individual symptoms. If I want to know life, peace, and joy, I must daily abandon that which leads to condemnation, misery and pain.
When we come to know God, our flesh nature is not made perfect but we are given the answer to it. In Christ, we are given a new life in which we may find peace, joy and freedom. Christ does not offer a magical pill but He does offer the answer to our disease of self.