The Law cannot set you free. The Law cannot deliver us from the old nature. While the inward man may delight in the Law of God (Psalms 119:35) the old nature delights in breaking the Law of God.
Having explained what the Law does, Paul now explains what the Law cannot do. The Law cannot set you free. The Law cannot deliver us from the old nature. While the inward man may delight in the Law of God (Psalms 119:35) the old nature delights in breaking the Law of God. It is not surprising that the believer under Law becomes tired and discouraged and eventually gives up! What can be more discouraging than trying to live a good life, only to discover that the best you can do is still not good enough? The only answer is to let the Holy Spirit lead you.
Paul sees two spiritual laws at work (verses 21-24). The one is what can be called the law of God. This law is holy, just, and good. It demands absolute perfection as a standard of behavior, because perfection is God’s minimum requirement which is consistent with His own holiness. Then there is an opposite law, which Paul refers to as the law of sin. When Adam fell in the garden he placed the whole human race under this law. Anyone who ignores this law will ultimately wander hopelessly astray from the truth. Yet most of the universities and schools of our day teach every law known to science, except the law of sin. Yet the fact remains that the law of sin is what really explains why people do what they do.
The “law in my members” is the sin deep within us. It refers to everything with us that is more loyal to our old way of selfish living than to God. This inward struggle was as real to Paul as it is for us. We can learn from Paul what to do about it. Whenever Paul felt lost, he would go back to the beginnings of his spiritual life, remembering that he had already been freed by Jesus Christ. It is the law of sin that causes the eyes to look involuntarily with lust, the tongue to wag with gossip, and the ears to strain to hear that which is improper and impure. With the conflicting potentialities, purposes and principles of these two laws the believer can sometimes almost be pulled apart. The only way of escape is “through Jesus Christ our Lord” (v. 25).
Those who say we still need to live by the 613 Mosaic Laws defined in the Old Testament, have you ever tried to memorize them all? And if you did, did you include the memorization of what the Talmud says about each and ALL of those 613 Mosaic Laws?
Please read on…
Chapter 4: The Holy Spirit Leads You
To the Galatians, Paul writes, “If you have been filled with the Spirit, then walk in the Spirit.:” The Corinthian believers had been filled with the Spirit but had failed to recognize the responsibility of walking in the Spirit. And so the apostle made a sad announcement, “Ye are yet carnal … and walk as men.”
No matter how much a man may receive from God in spiritual gifts, nothing is accomplished unless that man walks in the Spirit. For example, the Holy Spirit comes to guide the believer into all truth, but how can He accomplish this ministry in the life of the believer who will not study the Word of Truth?
The Holy Spirit comes (Acts 1:8) to give us power to witness, but how can He empower the testimony of the man who neglects to witness? Again, the Holy Spirit offers His great ministry of assisting the believer in his prayer life, but how can He accomplish His work in this respect if the baptized believer neglects his prayer life, or ignores the Holy Spirit in his prayer life?
All of the gifts of God given in response to man’s consecration are bestowed suddenly. … But the fruit of the Spirit is produced only as man walks in the Spirit, daily keeping the body in subjection and appropriating the divine gifts which God has given. “Walk in the Spirit.” (Condensed from The Baptism in the Holy Spirit, by Willard Cantelon, Assemblies of God evangelist. © 1951 by Willard Cantelon. Gospel Publishing House. Springfield, Missouri 65802)
You Have a Friend to Lead You
The Holy Spirit and Guidance
How many times have you asked your friends, “What do you think I should do?” Some people even depend on horoscopes and fortune-tellers. But you have Someone much better than that. You have a Friend who knows the future. He knows what is best for you. He loves you and wants to guide you in all your decisions. He is the Holy Spirit, your helpful Friend.
Let the Spirit direct your lives. The Spirit has given us life; He must also control our lives (Galatians 5:16, 25).
He Leads You by God’s Word
The Bible is the road map that the Holy Spirit uses to lead you to heaven. Day by day He helps you apply to your circumstances the teachings of God’s Word. So it is very important for you to read your Bible every day.
The Holy Spirit will sometimes speak to you through certain verses as you read. Time after time Christians have testified: “I had a problem and didn’t know what to do. Then as I was reading the Bible one verse seemed to stand out from the page. It was exactly what I needed. My problem was solved.”
The Bible verses that you memorize make it easier for the Holy Spirit to lead you. He will bring them to your mind when you need them. When you are tempted to do something you shouldn’t do, a verse may flash through your mind like a stop signal. “Thou, God, seest me!” The Holy Spirit has brought these words from the Bible to many a Christian just in time to turn him away from temptation.
How can a young man cleanse his way? By living in agreement with Thy word (Psalm 119:9 BV).
The Holy Spirit will also speak to you through Bible teaching. This may be in preaching or teaching in the church, on the radio, in Bible clubs, in gospel literature and in study courses such as this one.
These are ways that He has chosen to lead you into all truth. Remember John 16:13.
He Leads You by the Church
How does a child learn how to walk, talk, run, play, and work? From his family! Father, mother, brothers and sisters all teach the child what to do and how to do it.
When you were born again, the Holy Spirit made you a part of God’s family — the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. He expects you to accept from your brothers and sisters in Christ the help that they can give you. You will find much guidance, teaching and help as you take your place in a local church. Be sure that it is one that believes the Bible, obeys it and teaches and accepts the work of the Holy Spirit.
Christ has put in the Church pastors, teachers and other leaders. The Holy Spirit provides for them special gifts and power so they can do their work well.
He did this to prepare all God’s people for the work of Christian service, to build up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12).
Every member of the Church needs to be full of the Holy Spirit. As leaders and members are led by the Spirit the whole church can work together in harmony. Each one will do his part effectively in God’s plan.
He Leads You by Spiritual Gifts
The Holy Spirit has spiritual gifts for every Christian. He wants us to accept these gifts so we can help one another.
There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. Each one is given some proof of the Spirit’s presence for the good of all (I Corinthians 12:4, 7).
You have read about the gifts of faith, miracles and healing. Here are some other supernatural gifts of the Spirit.
The Spirit gives one man a message of wisdom, while to another man the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. … to another, the gift of speaking God’s message; and to yet another, the ability to tell the difference between gifts that come from the Spirit and those that do not. To one man he gives the ability to speak in strange tongues, and to another he gives the ability to explain what is said (1 Corinthians 12:8, 10).
The Holy Spirit may give your pastor or another Spirit-filled Christian the message of wisdom or of knowledge that you need. Or this message may come directly to you in a deep impression or flash of insight. You suddenly understand what God’s will is for a certain situation. From outside of your own mind comes the revelation of what a Bible passage means and how it applies to your problem. God gives you the very words that you need to help someone else.
When you talk to people about the Lord or teach a Bible lesson you need this leading of the Holy Spirit. Parents need the word of wisdom from God to give their children the right kind of advice. The work of the Spirit is for practical everyday living, not just for crises.
The Spirit, who will make you wise (Ephesians 1:17).
And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship (Exodus 35:31).
Prophecy, messages in tongues and the interpretation of tongues are ways in which the Holy Spirit speaks to a group. Prophecy is God’s message in the language of the speaker. It may be telling something that will take place in the future. Or it may be just a message of exhortation and comfort to help the hearers. Sometimes the message comes first in tongues and then is interpreted. These two gifts together are like the gift of prophecy.
Some people are afraid of these gifts of the Spirit because of false messages that they have heard about. This is like refusing to accept money because you might get a counterfeit bill. Satan has always tried to confuse people by imitations of God’s work. There were false prophets in Bible times and still are today. But your Friend the Holy Spirit does not want you to refuse His gifts for fear of receiving a counterfeit or imitation of His work.
Neither does God want you to be deceived by imitations of His work. That is why one of the gifts of the Spirit is discernment of spirits; it protects the church from the work of evil spirits and mistaken ideas of people. People sometimes mistake their own ideas for revelations from God. Some bring terrible confusion by giving “messages” to tell others whom to marry, where to go and what to do. So God tells us to test all messages.
Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages. Put all things to the test: keep what is good, and avoid every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22).
Messages from the Holy Spirit meet these five standards:
1. The message must agree completely with God’s Word.
For example, a message that tells a man to take someone else’s wife could not possibly be from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has come to help us obey God, not to tell us to do something God has forbidden. Agreement with God’s Word is the most important test; everything has to be measured by it.
2. The message must be true.
If what is said in a message is not true, it is not from the Holy Spirit for He is the Spirit of truth. Prophecies that are from the Lord are fulfilled.
When the word of that prophet is fulfilled, then it will be known that the Lord has truly sent the prophet (Jeremiah 28:9 BV).
“And if you say in your heart, ‘How are we to know which word the Lord has not spoken?’ What a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord which is not fulfilled and does not happen, that is a message to which the Lord did not give utterance; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously: have no fear of him” (Deuteronomy 18:21, 22 BV).
But when the Spirit of truth comes, he will lead you into all the truth (John 16:13).
3. The message will honor Christ.
The Spirit of God and Spirit of Christ honors both the Father and the Son.
He will give me glory (John 16:14).
No one who is led by God’s Spirit can say, “A curse on Jesus!” (I Corinthians 12:3).
4. The message will bring blessing, not confusion.
But the one who speaks God’s message speaks to men, and gives them help, encouragement, and comfort. … The one who speaks God’s message helps the whole church … Everything must be of help to the church (1 Corinthians 14:3-4, 26).
5. The one who gives the message is conscious and responsible to do everything in an orderly way.
Satan imitates the work of the Holy Spirit. In spiritism the mediums may go into a trance and not be conscious of what they say when another spirit takes control of them. But when the Holy Spirit gives a message through a person, He does it with the conscious cooperation of that person. The person can choose when to speak and when to keep quiet so that he won’t interrupt the message God has given the pastor or others. Paul clearly teaches this in 1 Corinthians 14. The pastor should encourage the use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But at the same time he is responsible to see that all is done in order and not confusion. So those who have the gifts of the Spirit must recognize the leadership of the pastor and not resent his instructions or advice.
The gift of speaking God’s message should be under the speaker’s control; for God has not called us to be disorderly, but peaceful. Everything must be done in a proper and orderly way (1 Corinthians 14:32-33, 40).
He Leads You by Visions and Dreams
The Holy Spirit, Visions and Dreams
You have read in the Bible about how God spoke to people in visions and dreams. The Holy Spirit still speaks to people in this way today. What Joel prophesied is happening.
Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams (Acts 2:17).
In 1940 B.T. Bard wrote about a wonderful outpouring of the Spirit in Peking:
There are confessions of sins and shortcomings, messages in tongues and interpretation, prophetic utterances, spiritual dreams, heavenly visions of Christ and the glory land, divine healings, and, above all, a spirit of prayer and worship.
Kao Chu Ju truly desired the presence of God but she was afraid to have any show made of herself, or for anyone to lay hands upon her. Suddenly she saw Jesus in a vision, and He graciously laid His own nail-pierced hands upon her. She fell to the floor under the power of the Spirit and soon was speaking rapturously in other tongues as the Spirit gave her utterance.
Dreams that come from God are very vivid and impress the person deeply. Many people have been warned in dreams to give up sin and accept Jesus as their Savior. You may receive blessing, help, and encouragement in your dreams. Or the Holy Spirit may lead you to pray for someone or warn you of a danger.
Most dreams are not revelations from God. Your subconscious mind keeps on working while you sleep and weaves your thoughts into dreams. However, you can make even these dreams work for you. Use them as a reminder to pray for everyone that you see in your dreams.
He Leads You by Circumstances and Impressions
A Christian missed the bus she had planned to take. Four hours later she caught the next bus, sat down by a woman who needed God, and was able to lead her to Christ. The Holy Spirit had led through circumstances.
Do the doors of opportunity seem closed before you? Look around. The Holy Spirit may be opening a door to better opportunities. Think of the early Christians who fled from Jerusalem to save their lives. But wherever they went they spread the gospel and souls were saved. Paul in prison was unable to continue his missionary journeys, but while there he wrote some of his most helpful epistles.
Are conditions around you terrible? Maybe God has put you there so you can do something about them. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you see what you can do. Then keep your eyes open and go to work to improve conditions. You are one of God’s lamps. Don’t complain about the darkness. Just ‘shine where you art’.
The Holy Spirit will often lead you by impressions as you trust Him to help you in the choices you must make. When you think about doing one thing, you feel a deep peace about it. But when you think about the other possibility, you feel uneasy.
A Christian businessman had a reservation on a certain plane, but he felt uneasy about it. The more he thought about it the worse he felt. Finally he changed his reservations for a later flight. The plane he had planned to take crashed and all the passengers were killed. The Holy Spirit saved his life.
A man’s mind plans his road, but the Lord directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9 BV).
A pastor, hurrying to an appointment, felt an impression. “Stop and knock on the door of that house.” He tried to ignore the idea but it grew stronger. Finally he turned around and went up to the house. There he found a Christian in desperate need of his help.
A Christian felt an urgent impulse to go visit a friend. When he arrived, he found his friend getting ready to commit suicide. The Christian was able to lead him to Christ and save his life.
“The Lord told me to bring you this,” a man said as he gave a basket of food to a pastor. The pastor and his wife had been praying for God to supply their needs because they had no money and no food.
Life can become a series of thrilling adventures for you as you are filled with the Holy Spirit and learn to follow His leading. He will lead you into a life of great usefulness and blessing.
Test your knowledge by taking this short quiz.
1. According to Galatians 5:16 we are to let the Holy Spirit:
b) guide our lives
c) both a and b
2. According to John 16:13 the Holy Spirit will: (Choose all that are true.)
a) sometimes be visible
b) tell you about the future
c) guide you into truth
3. According to Psalm 119:9, how can a young person stay pure?
a) by obeying God’s word
b) by following a good example
c) by hanging with good people
4.According to Thessalonians 5:19, we should not:
a) love the Holy Spirit
b) seek miracles
c) stifle or restrain the Holy Spirit
5. What standards help you in judging any message that is supposed to be from God. (Choose all that are true.)
a) It must be true
b) It brings blessing, not confusion
c) It honors Christ