Word On Worship – Sunday – January 23, 2022
“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
The exhortation of Romans 8 is that the Christian is living out our lives in the Spirit to be far from passive. We are not to be striving to be righteous in the strength of our flesh, but we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh through the Spirit. There is no peaceful co-existence with the flesh; we must choose sides. We will either walk according to the Spirit or according to the flesh. If we walk in the Spirit, we will wage war against the deeds of the flesh. This is a struggle every Christian must take seriously.
The Christian’s walk according to the Spirit is a walk of obedience, based upon our obligation to God, according to His goodness and grace to us. There are no harsh words, no dictatorial commands. Paul is not a sergeant here addressing new recruits but a brother reminding us of the goodness of our Father. God’s Spirit is a gift from the Father to every Christian. He reminds us that we are sons. He leads us and empowers us so that we may act like sons to the glory of the Father.
The challenge in our walk is usually not in what we do, but how and why we do it that makes something of the Spirit or the flesh. We falsely assume certain activities (like prayer, worship, and Bible study) are spiritual, but others (like washing dishes, changing diapers or the oil in the car) are not. Whether we work at preaching or teaching in secular schools, the issue is whether we are doing it by means of God’s Spirit or by means of the flesh. Some of the activities which appear most spiritual are those which can be, and often are, done in the flesh. For example, James warns us prayer can be accomplished in the flesh, or in the Spirit: “You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3). Even Paul experienced that preaching the gospel can be done in the flesh or in the Spirit: “Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will” (Philippians 1:15).
The great danger faced by the church today is not that of “secular humanism” but that of “religious humanism”—seeking to serve God and to please Him in the power of our own flesh, rather than “according to His Spirit.” The greater danger is that of appearing to be spiritual and religious in the power of the flesh. Take note of the strong distinction which the Scriptures make between that which is of the flesh and that which is of the Spirit. May God grant us the ability to distinguish the two and to choose to walk according to the Spirit putting to death the deeds of the flesh.