For those of us that are in Christ we have found in him the greatest of positions and the living hope for a changed condition.
Position: who we are. Where we stand before God. Unchanging. We are IN CHRIST. He is our representative head. In him we are righteous, forgiven, justified, sanctified, glorified.
Condition: how we live. Changing, transforming, progressive sanctification. Christ is IN US. He, over time, changes our desires and therefore our behaviors. As we consider and act upon our position (faith) our condition changes.
Romans 7:1-6 shows us our new position in Christ. We are free from the law because of our death with Christ (Romans 6).
Romans 7:4-6. Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God. 5 For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death. 6 But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.
Romans 7:7-24 shows us our condition when we fail to trust in our position. When we fail to consider ourselves dead to sin and dead to the law, we will invariably try to live under that law. Some law. The law of God (7:22) or the law of self, or the law of mother-in-law, or the law of a political ideology, or the law of peer pressure, or the law of shame, or the law of “be better do better.”
But Romans 7 takes us beyond a position of simply being dead to the law. It also takes us into a position of the new way of the Spirit. In other words, we are positionally dead to the law, but we are also resurrected and joined to Christ.
God didn’t save us so we could keep the law. God, in Christ, kept the law so he could save us. He saved us so that the law would become a part of who we are. He saved us so that we would love the law so much that we no longer need to even think about keeping it. In Christ we live by faith, and that faith produces love, and that love IS the keeping of the law.
So why is this so important?
Because as Christians we must constantly consider our position if we are ever going to see our condition change. And, we must rely solely on Christ for both. Recently we all got to see a good example of someone living from his position in Christ, and we got to see how this impacts his condition during a hard time – Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey. If you’re not a football fan this interview he did on the Today show is still worth a watch. Parkey missed a pretty big kick recently and although he is saddened, he is not destroyed. “Football is what I do, it’s not who I am.” He gets it.
For many of us, much of our life is spent first looking at our condition. “I’m still sinning.” “Why do I doubt so much?” “How can I ever please God?” “What resolutions and commitments do I need to make?”
But focusing on our condition only leaves us where Paul is at the end of Romans 7:7-24. “Oh wretched man that I am, who will save me from this body of death?”
Rather we must consider (appropriate by faith) our position in Christ. God’s love for us. Our salvation. Our forgiveness. Our righteousness. Our freedom. Our daily walk must start here if it is aver going to be by faith.
We are living in the new way of the Spirit. We are “to live is Christ.” Do you believe this? Will you start there today?
From her latest album, here’s another good one from Audrey Assad about the heart’s battle and the new condition that comes with deliverance. “Your law is freedom and mercy is Your rule. Though You dwell within me, I can’t contain You.”