Living A Life That God Has Ordained
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Romans 5:1-2, Romans 8:1-17
Sunday 14th August 2016
We continue the series ‘The Sufficiency of Grace’ that we began last week with today’s message titled ‘Living A Life that God Has Ordained’.
It is one thing to be in existence, and yet another to live the life that God has ordained for us to live. We’ve not been created, called and chosen to live simply like the average person lives, but rather to a specific, God-ordained life, unravelling the mystery that points wholly to God. Remember that the Kingdom’s principles are distinct and different from that of the world. So in order to enjoy and live a fully satisfying life of the kingdom, we must discover and adhere to the governing principles.
Faith is the principle that governs the new realm of the Kingdom that we live by – otherwise called the dispensation of grace. Everyone can enjoy the grace of God, it is available to all of us but it must be accessed by faith. Our faith is the confidence that informs and reminds us that what we need has already been made available by the finished work of Christ. Although, the physical evidence may not be available in the natural realm yet, by faith we can say: ‘I see them, because Christ has made the provision already’.
In order to live a life that God has ordained, we must be conscious of these seven things: (a) We are no longer under the law, we are under grace. (b) We are no longer slaves to sin; the power of sin is broken off our lives. (c) We are now right with God; we are the righteousness of God (d) The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death (e) We are controlled by the Holy Spirit and no longer by our old nature (f) We are children of God (g) We are God’s heir and joint heirs with Jesus. Let’s take a close look at each of these points.
(a) We are no longer under the law; we are under grace: Law and grace represents two different dispensations. The law places emphasis on our actions to qualify for God righteousness. However, under grace our righteousness is undergirded by what Jesus has done for us. John 1:17 reads: ‘For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’. Our self-efforts and performance were instrumental in obeying the law, as opposed our faith in the finished work of Christ under grace. Despite our best performances, we still did not qualify to receive God’s promises. Thankfully, under grace we have already been justified by Christ and consequently qualified for the promise. The switch over occurred when each of us invited Jesus into our hearts. Galatians 4:4-5 explains to us what God did to initiate this process: ‘But when the right time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, subject to the law. God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children’ (NLT). From that moment onwards the rules of engagement changed, implying that in order to enjoy the full experience of God’s grace, we must constantly engage with the grace of God and completely ignore the terms of conditions under the law. St. Paul had to address this reversion to the law that occurred in the Galatian church (See other scripture verses: Hebrews 8:7-12, Romans 3:19-28, Romans 5:1-2, Ephesians 2:8-9).
(b) We are no longer slaves to sin; the power of sin is broken off our lives: Since we are no longer under the dispensation of the law, our lives are no longer governed by the dictates of the law. Consequently, sin no longer has dominion over us. Romans 6:1-6 put it this way: ‘Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of his wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin’ (NLT).
(c) We are now right with God; we are the righteousness of God: Romans 5:1-2 reads: ‘Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.’ As God’s children, we are in right standing with Him. From the moment we gave our lives to the Lord, God brought each of us under the new dispensation of grace. Romans 3:21 explains this further, ‘But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are’. Our connection with God can be likened to the illustration Jesus gave his disciples about the vine and the branches. As long as the branch is connected to the vine, it benefits from all that the vine has to offer. In the same way, our right standing with God and our connection with Him is beneficial to us under this dispensation of grace.
(d) The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death: The law of the Spirit became the rule of engagement after Jesus became Lord of our lives. The Holy Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-4 reads: ‘So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit (NLT). We are no longer under the law, living the life of the flesh; instead we now live the life of the Spirit.
(e) We are controlled by the Holy Spirit and no longer by our old nature: Romans 8:9 reads: ‘But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.)’ (NLT). The Holy Spirit within us guides and leads us to do all that God desires of us.
(f) We are children of God: We were once enemies of God, but now we are His children. What belongs to God now belongs to us. Here is Romans 8:14-16; ‘For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children’. The prodigal son understood this concept well enough that he decided to go back home after he came to his senses. Since God is our Father, we ought to behave like children who know the worth of their parents. Since we’ve been adopted, all that belongs to God now belongs to us.
(g) We are God’s heir and joint heirs with Jesus: Responsible parents often write a will, stating how their inheritance should be passed on to their children after their death. Conversely, the inheritance we have in God became ours from the point that Jesus died and rose again. Romans 8:17 reads; ‘And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory’ (NLT).
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