The Apostle Paul just told us that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because the righteous requirement of the Law has been met through Him. With each thing he told us there was a caveat where something is required of us. He writes that there is now no condemnation FOR THOSE WHO ARE IN CHRIST JESUS and that the righteous requirement of the Law has been met in us WHO WALK ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.
This begs the questions: are we in Christ and are we walking according to the Spirit? Most of us shrug off such thoughts and assume that because we consider ourselves to be better people than we consider ourselves bad, that we are fine, and therefore we will be accepted by God when we meet Him face to face. But Paul is not suggesting that we use some sort of self-determined and self-diagnosed moral scale with which to determine such things. In versus five through eight Paul shows us how we should asses with a standard that we don’t get to make up on our own.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 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 for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 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. 6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Seeking His Righteousness…
There are two groups of people Paul is talking about in this passage; those who set their minds on the flesh, and those who set their minds on the Spirit. Though I am simplifying the topic tremendously, I do think we can illustrate the point with just asking the question of who is seeking the Righteousness of God.
I often see signs in front of churches that state, “All are welcome here!” Such signs are meant to be inviting but I wonder if such signs are really proper. It seems to me that maybe all are not actually welcome in the house of God.
Consider the fact that Jesus literally drove the Money Changers out of the Temple courts because they were defiling the House of God: they certainly weren’t welcome. And consider that Jesus told the religious leaders that “only the sick need a doctor” suggesting, I think, that those who considered themselves to be fine in the sight of God without Jesus didn’t really need to come to Him. So I wonder if it wouldn’t be more correct to have signs that stated “all who seek the Righteousness of God are welcome here” because it seems to me that too many of us are at the church for other reasons.
33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…”
How do we start our day; do we ask God to fulfill in us His righteousness or do we go to church with the intent of being transformed by the righteousness of Jesus? Likely we don’t always. More often than not we are going because it is ‘what a good Christian does’ or because we like the emotions we get from the worship, or we like the scriptural teachings we get, or maybe the fellowship of the like-minded people that we get. I would suggest that these are the reason why our culture is so quick to church-hop so easily.
As churchy and religious as many of us are, are we really interested in being transformed from the inside out by the righteousness of God by the resurrected Christ? The answer to this question can only be decided by you.
In Isaiah 47:7 God tells the Babylonians “…But you did not consider these things or thing about what might happen.” I take God’s words here to be a warning for myself to spend more time considering things in prayer and meditation, to mull things over in my heart and mind in order to assure that I am not walking according to the flesh.
As we have signs welcoming ‘all people’ to our churches, I wonder if Jesus really wants all people in His church, or if He wants just those people who are seeking His Righteousness. Because, let’s face it, too often people who come to church do so as money-changers and Pharisees who have no interest in seeking the God who is but rather they desire the god of their own imaginations. For remember, Paul tells us in verse 8 that people who are of the flesh cannot please God.