A teaching by Rev. Barbara Williams, President of the Ministry of the Watchman International
Week of January 2-6, 2023
I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.
Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
Have you ever done anything that you really didn’t want to do? Of course you have; we all have done this. Sometimes we are pressured, we are deceived, we get lazy or rebellious, and we do things against our better judgment. Sometimes we are bound in a certain type of negative behavior, and feel that we cannot stop doing certain things. Even after we are born again, perfect behavior is not automatic. We must be transformed by the renewing of our minds into our new life in the Spirit. In other words we must let Him lead us.
When we follow the leading of the Spirit of God, we feel free to be close to God, we have the boldness to come before Him and ask anything. We do not feel condemned, even though we may not do everything right. When we walk in the Spirit with a pure heart, we are God-conscious instead of self-conscious. However, if we continue after the flesh and our old patterns, we remain self-centered and sin-conscious.
Condemnation is the result.
If you are in need of healing, there is good news! Proverbs 4:20-22 SAYS:
My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.
So there is life and health in God’s word. Since God’s word is medicine, we must take it like we would a prescription. I suggest three times a day, like you would your food. Remember, healing is the children’s bread. Consider this your “dose” for today. Remember, read, and meditate three times a day the following:
Rx: Psalm 21:4 ~ He asked life from You, and You gave it to him—Length of days forever and ever.
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timothy 2:15
If you’ve never studied the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, we invite you to join us as we read through the Bible in a year. Read and meditate on these chapters this week:
January 2: Genesis 2, Matthew 2, Ezra 2, Acts 2
January 3: Genesis 3, Matthew 3, Ezra 3, Acts 3
January 4: Genesis 4, Matthew 4, Ezra 4, Acts 4
January 5: Genesis 5, Matthew 5, Ezra 5, Acts 5
January 6: Genesis 6, Matthew 6, Ezra 6, Acts 6
January 7: Genesis 7, Matthew 7, Ezra 7, Acts 7
January 8: Genesis 8, Matthew 8, Ezra 8, Acts 8
O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
There are different laws for different kingdoms. We were once the children of disobedience and walked in darkness, so our flesh is conditioned to the law of sin and death. Death comes in many forms; condemnation is one of them. It carries guilt, oppression, and helplessness with it. “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” This is the voice of condemnation.
To feel condemned is to feel that there is no way out. There is no faith in the realm of condemnation. If we live in our old mindset and fleshly appetites, we hold onto oppression, depression, and condemnation. We lose our joy and have to depend on outside forces to come and lift our spirits. It is a terrible place to reside.
Simply put “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23).
When we walk in the Spirit, in the newness of life, we are God-conscious; we live in the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus. We do this by choosing to yield to the transforming power of His Spirit and His Word. We change our minds (repent) about what we are doing, and we choose life. We choose the life that Jesus has planned for us. This sets us free from the condemnation of the law of sin and death.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.”
The old covenant law was weak, because it had to be carried out by the flesh. When the weakness of the flesh couldn’t keep the standard of the law, a curse of condemnation was attached. The reason we find ourselves feeling condemned when we walk after our own strength is that the flesh has never been able to please God, (Romans 8:8). When people realized how hard it was to obey God without the help of His Spirit, they began to look for deliverance from the bondage of the flesh.
What the old covenant law could not do, God Himself did for us when He sent His Son—Jesus condemned sin in His flesh, and thus did away with the old covenant. Once God condemns something, it is impossible for us to take that sentence off. God in Christ did away with the old covenant and its requirements, and that which replaced it is far superior—It is the justified living by faith.
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, 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.
Jesus condemned sin in the flesh so that righteousness would be fulfilled in us. God’s Spirit dwells in us, and we walk by faith in Him. We trust the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth. When we trust God, then we walk in the Spirit.
When we aren’t trusting God, we fall back into the walking after the flesh. We pick up our old habits of trusting our own strength and letting go of God’s help. Many people become religious because they really don’t trust God to lead them. They may get impulses to do religious activity, like going out and passing out tracts, praying extensive prayers for people they don’t know in foreign countries, or putting on a front with other saints—like asking how they are, and saying they’ve been “on their spirit.” Often these activities are just manifestations of our carnal mind trying to think up something spiritual to do because the Holy Spirit is not prompting us to do anything that we consider spiritual.
Did you hear what I said? Nothing we CONSIDER spiritual.
Sometimes, the spiritual is taking your time to meditate and study the Word more so that you will have patience with your loved ones. Sometimes it is spending time communing with God so that your ministry will be more powerful. Spiritual may be fixing a meal for your neighbor. Sometimes, the spiritual is getting your mind off divorce and on to laying down your life for your spouse.
Chill out. Wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. This is the spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.
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. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.
Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
What things do you mind? What is on your mind most of the time? Are you thinking about things that are good, pure, praiseworthy, and thankworthy and of good report? Are you minding the things of the spirit or the things of the flesh?
If you are after the flesh, your thoughts are fraught with fear, worry, lust, apprehension, fantasy, and plans to feed the lusts of the flesh. If you mind the things of the spirit, your mind is peaceful, full of the fruit of the spirit, loving toward all men, and full of the goodness of God. You do not feel oppressed, you feel free.
If you want to mind the things of the Spirit, meditate on the scripture that exhorts us to think on things that are pure, lovely, true, honest, praiseworthy, and thankworthy and of good report. This is a command of God because He knows we are all tempted to fall into the familiar thought pattern of sin, condemnation and death.
For many years as a brand new Christian I still suffered from mental depression. When I found this scripture in Philippians 4:8, I was angry. I felt that God was telling me to do something that I was unable to do. He was requiring too much of me. I found I did not trust God. When I realized that God never asks us to do something that we cannot do, I was able to change my thoughts and obey this scripture. These days, condemnation is out of the question. It was not easy initially, but I have disciplined my thinking and am now able to walk in the mind of the Spirit as well.
“Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
It is a blessing to commune with God. Let the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus set you free into life more abundant. You do have a choice.