“…if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”
A few posts ago in Lost Crusader #5, (https://cawhoots.blogspot.com/2019/08/lost-crusader-5.html) I said that Christianity is an experience, not a set of rules or practices. Without taking anything away from the Church, I would like to add that the Christian experience is so individualized that it takes as many forms as there are believers.
Since Christianity is ultimately a relationship between individual believers and God, no church has the authority to dictate belief. In fact, that is not the Church’s proper function at all. The Church exists to testify to the power of the Spirit to transform mankind and to provide a community of like-minded individuals the opportunity to share their experience with one another. Period.
The Church has no authority to legislate for, to place on trial, or to preside over the believer. It does have the authority to decide its own rules for fellowship within its particular community. It derives this authority in the same way America’s founders arrived at the basis for the government they established. That is, that the church gets its authority from the consent of the governed. Plainly, the church, as a community of believers, gets to decide who can join their particular community and the rules for continued fellowship therein.
The upshot is that if you are considering a relationship with God as a Christian, you need not conform to the rules of any church. Christians are not under the law…not the Old Testament law, or supposed New Testament laws. This is not to say you make do as you please and rightfully call yourself a Christian. The truth is, there are rules because, after all, Christianity is a spiritual discipline.
You may remember Jesus made disciples of men and women. Disciples and discipline…you see the similarities? Jesus’ disciples are under the tutelage (teaching, discipline) of Christ and hence the Holy Spirit. If you are taught and led by the Spirit, you need no other law. Indeed, in the eternal kingdom of God, there is no other law.
I know there are people reading this who think I am making all this sound too free and easy. Think again. There is no law as exacting and demanding of mankind as obedience to the Spirit of God. The basic premise of the Spirit’s teaching and leading is, be holy as I am holy. Wow, that means perfection in thought, word, and deed. God is not kidding about this.
The gospel…the good news is God will not sell us short, will not give up on us, and will handle us with grace and mercy every step of the way though it takes all eternity. There’s an old song I like that goes, “I’m just an old lump of coal now, Lord, but I’m going to be a diamond someday.” That is the battle cry of every person determined to be lead by the Spirit into their destiny to be a child of God.
Nothing, my friends, nothing, is free. There is really no such thing as free salvation from the human condition in which we find ourselves. Christ paid for our freedom to choose to be led by the Spirit. There is no free, neither cheap, grace. You cannot stumble into an eternal relationship with the Divine Creator. You must choose it and pursue it. Let me tell you now, that pursuit is going to cost you more than you can imagine. This is because the Spirit will never give up until you are shining like the diamond you are. Let me leave you with a course syllabus for growing in the Spirit. You will not graduate until your ego lays in pieces and is replaced by Spiritual fruit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering (patience), gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (moderation): against such, there is no law.”
As a footnote, for this reading Spirit, with a capital “S” means the Holy Spirit of God. With a small “s”, we are talking about our spirit. Church with a capital “C” is the one and only congregation of God’s people and with a small “c” the buildings, denominations, and communities of believers you find by searching Google.