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Tag Archives: the law

In Christ is Perfect Freedom

I’ve been posting about Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  In it, he outlines what Christ did to overcome the effects of the Law.  We’ve been set free in Christ.

For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.
Galatians 2:19

The result of trying to serve the Law is always death.  There’s no way that anyone can live up to all it contains.  Paul understood that no matter how hard we try, we always end up at the same place.  The Law places us in an endless cycle of guilt, fear, and frustration.

That’s why the Lord wants to get rid of your entire past. The “old you” is removed and nailed to the cross with Christ. It’s never to be heard from again. But it doesn’t end there.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20

Christ doesn’t only deal with our past. The work He did on the cross affects our present and future as well. This is because the cross means nothing without the resurrection. The two must go hand in hand.

It’s great that Jesus got rid of my past sins and the guilt and shame that came with it. But I’m living in the present. I’m concerned about the future. How does what He’s done speak to this?

The power that was released when Christ rose from the dead is available to me today. I now have the power of God present in me. I have a source of strength that will get me through today victoriously. It will carry me through until I reach my destiny in Christ Jesus. That’s the power of the death and resurrection of Christ.

It’s just like when we’re doing something on our computers. You can create a lot of great stuff. But until you click on the save button, everything can be lost. Christ did a powerful work on the cross. But it was when He rose up from the dead that He hit the save button.

The Lord’s death and resurrection opened up the saving work of God for all time and to all people. This is what the church should be proclaiming. Repentance and forgiveness are now available through Jesus Christ.

That’s why I’ve bowed my knee to Jesus as my Lord and Savior. No other god has ever done this for his people. All the other religions tell their followers that if they want acceptance, enlightenment, or paradise, then they need to work harder. Sweat for it, bleed for it, suffer for it. Only when you’ve put enough effort into your seeking, will you attain the prize.

My God understood my problem. As a human being, I’m incapable of living the perfect life He requires. I had no ability to approach God on my own merit.

I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!
Galatians 2:21

If there was a rule book or a set of laws that we could follow correctly, then we wouldn’t need Jesus. Because of the grace of God and the work of the cross it’s no longer about my ability. It’s now all about God’s work in me.

Question: How does Christ’s work continue to change your life?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Church

 

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Sonship Beats the Law

I’ve been posting about the Biblical principle of Sonship. In my last post I talked about Zacchaeus from Luke chapter 19. Jesus had just called him down from the tree and told him that He was coming to Zacchaeus’ home.

Zacchaeus had no idea what was about to happen.

So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a ‘sinner.’”
Luke 19:6-7

These two verses show us in a tangible way the difference between using the power of the law and the power of the Spirit. The law is always trying to block your way. It says that you must get yourself ready before you can abide with Christ. The religious people thought that there was no way that Christ should enter Zacchaeus’ home.

I’m writing this so that you’ll know for a certainty that it doesn’t matter how you start out. Your problems, failings and lack of commitment are all things of the past. You can start fresh by abiding with Christ today. The time to run to the Lord is before you try to fix yourself up. It’s only as you remain in His presence that you receive the power for changing your life.

Look at what happened to Zacchaeus.

But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”
Luke 19:8-10

Salvation had come to Zacchaeus’ house. We usually misunderstand what salvation is all about. If you can grasp its total impact in Scripture, salvation actually includes all of God’s life changing and restoring power. It was this power that was manifest in Zacchaeus’ life that day. His love of money dissipated in the light of the Spirit’s love.

But the more importantly, Jesus said that he, too, is a son. He may have gone his own way for a while, but Zacchaeus was loved by the Father. The Lord was clear that He came seeking Zacchaeus.

It’s an interesting perspective because Zacchaeus thought that he was seeking Christ. It’s just like our spiritual worship. If we will “bend forward to kiss” the Lord, then He will bend forward to kiss us.

The greatest ministry of Christ was that He came to seek and save that which was ruined. Right now the body of Christ in America is full of ruined sons. It’s time to seek the Lord.

What we’ll find is that in our seeking of Him it’s actually the Lord who’s seeking us. It’s time for us as believers not get saved, but to BE SAVED. We need to rise up to our rightful place and position of Sonship.

This can only happen as we see the importance of our relationship with the Father. This means that we understand how to relate as sons and daughters to our heavenly Father.

Question: How does Sonship change your view of who you are as a believer?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2014 in Faith, Legalism, Sonship

 

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Sons and Daughters are Free

SkateboardI have been posting lately about the Scriptural principle of Sonship. In my last article I mentioned the freedom we have in Christ.

Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”
John 8:34-36

Sons are free in the house. If I truly grasped how deep the position of Sonship is, it would totally revolutionize my walk with the Father.

Think about it in an earthly way. I have three children who are adults at this point. They’re free in the house. If they want breakfast, they don’t need to ask me, “Dad, can I please have a bowl of cereal?”

They wake up, get the bowl, the cereal, and the milk all by themselves. That’s the freedom of maturity. In the spiritual sense it’s the same thing. Jesus said that healing is the children’s bread.

That’s a daily requirement for children. My children don’t even need to ask me for bread – they can take as much as they want, whenever they want. It’s my joy as a father to provide for them. It’s the same with our Heavenly Father. He enjoys bestowing His gifts upon His mature sons.

If we continue looking at what Jesus said in the above verse, we find that a slave has no permanent place in the house. Remember one of the verses we looked at in the first post of this series which said, “Don’t become a slave again to fear.”

You may not be a slave to sin anymore, but have you become a slave all over again to the fear of the law? I’ve found this to be the case in many believers’ lives. I’ve seen fear in their eyes that if they don’t tithe, they’ll suffer financial loss.

Sometimes it’s the fear that if they say the wrong thing they’ll lose the blessing of God upon their lives. It turns out that much of what’s done, is because of this fear and not out of love for the Lord.

Sonship is freedom from fear. When you truly understand your place in the household of faith as a son of God, then fear will dissipate. God does not want us to be captives to this fear. He desires us to walk in the freedom of His love.

We have to get beyond the childish way of thinking. God’s not looking for an excuse to hurt us.

“If I don’t keep my room clean, I won’t get my allowance.”

“If I don’t tithe, God will let the devil steal my money.”

That’s how children think. Adults have a different understanding. I tithe because I love God and I know it pleases Him. He blesses my finances because I’m a son and He loves me. That’s freedom from fear of the law.

Questions: Are there any areas where you’re still in bondage to fear? How can you overcome that?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on December 5, 2014 in Legalism, Sonship

 

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My Righteousness Doesn’t Work #powerofGod

TreeI have been posting about the relationship between righteousness and the power of God manifest in us.  It should be clear that our own self-righteousness is not enough.

But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
Romans 3:21

This verse makes it clear that it cannot be by my works.  It’s apart, separate from the law.  This means that I have to access the power of God in order to live righteously.  Anything else is trying to put the cart before the horse.  If my goal is to live righteously in order to walk in the power of God, then I have chosen a path of weakness and frustration.

And yet, so many people are trying to walk this very way.  The Bible is clear on the outcome.  So let me ask, what if I try to obtain righteousness through obedience to the law?  What if I try my hardest to live up to what I’m told is right?

I can read my Bible daily, go to church on time every week, pray every day, and tithe.  On top of that, I can make sure that I don’t lie, cheat, steal, walk in anger, gossip, or envy.  What’s wrong with trying to live up to a godly standard with my own strength?

In the Gospel of John chapter 9 we’re told of a healing that took place in Jesus’ ministry.  There was a man who was born blind.  He came to the Lord for healing.  Jesus did something very interesting.  He spit on ground, made mud, and put it in the eyes of this blind man.

He then said for the man to go and wash in a nearby pool.  The blind man obeyed the Lord and was healed.  The trouble was that this occurred on the Sabbath – the Jewish holy day when no work was supposed to be done.

According to how the Pharisees interpreted the law of Moses, healing was a form of work that could not be done on the Sabbath.  Because of this, Jesus almost started a riot because of this healing.  For some reason, the Pharisees decided to make an example of this case.

They began an investigation into every aspect of it.  They talked to the man who was blind and now can see.  Because of their exposure to the truth involved in this healing, after talking to this man they are divided.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”  But others asked, “How can a sinner do such miraculous signs?”  So they were divided.
John 9:16

What was so divisive about this event?  It all centered on their understanding (or lack of understanding) of the power of God.  They had to ask themselves; where does the power to heal come from?

If the power to heal is from God, then Jesus is a man of God.  On the other side, some were saying that there are rules to how you can heal.  If you break these rules, then you’re a sinner no matter what happens.

This is where we seem to be in the body of Christ today.  Divided over how the miraculous takes place.  Is it my righteousness that sets the stage, or is there something else at work?

In my next post I will share how this investigation turned out.

Question: Why is operating in the gifts of the Spirit so controversial?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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The Two Kinds of Righteousness

BeamIn my last post I started talking about the relationship between the power of God and righteousness.  There are so many believers bound in the notion that if we can just be righteous enough, we can walk in the power of the Spirit.

They spend their lives frustrated trying to live up to the righteous rules set out by their teachers.  Many give up on ever obtaining a walk in the power of the Spirit.  Little do they know that their quest is in vain.

And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts!
2 Corinthians 3:11

It’s the power of the law which, like batteries, eventually fades away.  Not so the power of the Spirit.  This verse literally says that it lasts, remains, stays perpetually.  What kind of power are you looking for?  A temporary boost that fades as your strength declines?  Or do you seek a power that comes from the Spirit of the living God?

The righteous life can only come from a walk of power.  Jesus not only walked in power, but also in the righteousness of the Father.  This means it’s possible for me as well.  I just need apply the truth of Scripture to my life.

For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
Romans 1:17

Righteousness is not a function of my strength or my will power.  It comes from God through His Holy Spirit.  The key is that this truth is revealed in the Gospel – the Good News.  Truly, to many believers righteousness from God is Good News.

As I’ve said before, so many live their lives constantly failing to live up to the standards set by Christ in the Word.  The Good News is that you don’t have to.  But wait a minute!  Maybe you think I’m talking about the imparted righteousness that God gives to us when we’re saved.  I’m not.

The Bible teaches about two different kinds of righteousness under the New Covenant.  First, there’s imparted righteousness.  This is the righteousness that Christ places within you when you’re saved.

This means that when God the Father looks at you, He sees you in Christ.  This gives you access to God at all times so that your sin will not keep you from approaching the throne for forgiveness, praise, worship, or any other purpose.  We need this righteousness to establish a relationship with the Lord as we grow in our faith.

There is also another kind of righteousness that the New Testament talks about.  That’s the walk of righteousness.

This is the application of the righteousness of God to our daily lives.  This means that I live correctly before God.  This one is harder to see manifest in my life.  That’s especially true if I try to accomplish it in my own power, as so many Christians endeavor to do.

I believe that in the above verse, Paul is talking about the walk of righteousness.  It’s this righteousness from God that allows us to live righteously.  We can never hope to walk rightly before God in our own strength.  It’s going to require us to walk in the ability of the Lord in order to please Him.

Question: Why is it so tempting to please God in our own strength?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God

 

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Righteousness and the Power of God #powerofGod

PowerWe know that the manifestation of God’s power in our lives is directly linked to relationship.  But this brings up a very important question.  What’s the relationship between righteousness and the power of God?

I grew up always feeling unable to walk in the power of the Spirit, because I was never good enough.  We’ll now look at what the Bible says about the relationship between the power of God and righteousness.

The fact is that no Biblical principle exists in a bubble, even though we like to teach them that way sometimes.  Righteousness, mercy, love, and power all relate to each other.  Right now we need to see how power and righteousness relate.

Just to make sure we have the same understanding, I define righteousness as being right in God’s eyes.  It’s when God looks at you and says that you’re living correct according to His standards.

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:18

This is an incredible claim, when you think about it.  Ever-increasing glory.  This sounds powerful to me.  Remember that the definition of power is the ability to produce change.

Think about the amount of power required for this verse to be fulfilled.  We’re being transformed into the likeness of the Lord from our imperfect state.  This is the place Paul is bringing us to in Corinthians, chapter 3.  Listen to how Paul describes this change of living in the verses prior to this.

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant – not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.
2 Corinthians 3:6

It’s obvious that he’s talking about the difference between the power of the law and the power of the Holy Spirit.  Life in the New Covenant isn’t based on the power of the law, but on the Spirit.  If we try to use the law, then death will be at work in us.  But it’s the next verse that’s even more revealing to us.

If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!
2 Corinthians 3:9

Did you catch what Paul said here?  He said that this ministry – the ministry based in the power of the Spirit – brings righteousness.  It is not the other way around as many people teach.  Some would have us believe that if you live a righteous life, you’ll receive the manifestation of the power of God.

This verse shows us the fallacy in that kind of thinking.  It’s just the opposite.  You need the power of God in order to live righteously. In actuality, righteousness is only obtained through God’s power.

Question: Why does living righteously require God’s power in you?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Power of God

 

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How God Exposed my Legalism

SpotlightIn my last post, I looked at Paul’s question – How does God give His Spirit and work power in the church?  This question is the difference between all other religions and Christianity.

Think about it.  In the book of Acts, the early church had no phones, radio, New Testament Scripture, or anything like the resources and knowledge we have today.  Yet they walked in the power of God that’s unrivaled in our modern generation.

As I thought about it, I also realized that my grandparents couldn’t read and had no formal education to speak of.  Yet there was an incredible manifestation of the power of God in their lives – what happened?

Let me say something now, for shock value, that I’ll explain more fully in a later post.  It was when the church started teaching about the promises we began to lose the power.

Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.  I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.
Romans 7:9-10

This verse is very clear.  God saved me apart from the law when I trusted the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Through this finished work I was made alive apart from the law.  Then the commandment came, which the Scripture says is the power of sin (I Corinthians 15:56). When this happens, death begins its work in me.

Let me explain how God used this truth to minister to me.  One day, as I was driving, praying, and meditating upon the Word, the Holy Spirit started to speak to me.  I had been going through a rough time financially.

I had done everything that I knew to do.  I had stood on all I’d been taught about prayers and confessions.  I’ve always been a tither.  I always remind the Lord what His Word says and that I’m standing on His promises.

At this point in my life I clearly heard God speak to my heart and ask me, “What are you basing your expectation on?”  Immediately my thoughts turned to the Scripture.  I’m basing my hope in the Word that tells me to tithe.  If I’ll tithe, then You will rebuke the devourer and open the windows of Heaven.  I give special offerings when You lead me to, so that I’ll receive the blessings of the seed of faith.

The Lord then asked me a question that floored me.  He said, “So you’re basing your expectation upon the law?”  I was speechless.  I had no response to this.  On the inside I felt like defending and justifying my actions.  But deep down I knew that the Lord had hit upon the very root of the problem, even though at that point I had no clue how to get out of it.

I came to the realization that I had placed myself under the commandment.  Trying to fulfill the requirements of the promises is a form of legalism.

Question: Are there Scriptural promises that you find yourself legalistic about?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Legalism, Power of God, The Church

 

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