Day By Day By Grace

May 5

The Letter versus the Spirit
[God] also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. (2Co_3:6)
The “letter versus the Spirit” is another contrast between living by the old covenant or by the new. This is another choice that determines whether we are functioning by man’s sufficiency or by God’s.
A life that is being developed “of the letter” is one that is built on rules and regulations. We cannot become a child of God by rules. We cannot develop our lives as God’s children by regulations. No list of demands (including even the law of God itself) could ever bring us, or develop for us, a life with God. All rules and regulations (including God’s law) come without resource. They are a list of requirements, not a supply of adequacy. They call for an observable response. They provide no power to produce the required effect.
Consider circumcision, which was required by the law of God for the Israelites. “And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised” (Lev_12:3). This was to be a sign acting as a reminder to God’s people that they were His. Implementing that regulation did not inherently change the life of any Jew. Physical, external circumcision (that is, circumcision “by the letter”) did not make a change in the heart of the one circumcised. It takes an inner working of God to produce a true child of God (in Romans 2 language, a “true Jew”). “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter.” (Rom_2:28-29). God births His children and develops their lives through a work in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.
The kingdom of heaven is “of the Spirit.” It is not about external “do’s and dont’s” (such as, whether to follow the standard of God’s law concerning certain foods). “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom_14:17). Entrance into God’s family, as well as development as God’s children, does not hinge on following various regulations. Rather, it is about the Holy Spirit supplying heavenly blessings in the hearts of those who trust in the Lord. Life with God is always “of the Spirit ” (God’s sufficiency), not “of the letter” (man’s sufficiency).
Father, I admit a tendency to reduce life with You to following regulations. Help me to live by the work of Your Spirit within my heart. Through Christ I pray, Amen.

Our Daily Walk

May 5
“Thy Will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.” — Mat_6:10.
MANY PEOPLE shrink from God’s will. They think that it always means pain, or sorrow, or bereavement. They always feel melancholy when you speak of doing the Will of God. Alas! how the devil has libeled God. The will of God is the will of a Father. It is the Fatherhood of God going out in action. “It is not the will of your Father that one of these little ones should perish.” “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.”
If only the will of God were done on earth, as it is done in heaven, there would be peace between the nations, and love and happiness in all our homes. Love would cement the union of all men in a city of blessedness. The fact of the world’s present condition is no argument against the beneficence and blessedness of the will of God. It is because men will not do the will of God that things are as they are!
In our own life we shall never be really right or happy until we have got to the point of saying: “I delight to do Thy will, O my God.” We may not begin there. The first step is to choose it, then we shall come to accept it lovingly and thankfully; but, finally, we shall rejoice and delight in it. If you cannot say “Thy Will be done,” say: “I am willing to be made willing that Thy Will should be done.” If your will is like a bit of rough and rugged iron, tell God that you are willing for it to be plunged into the furnace of His love, so that all which is unyielding and obdurate may pass away before the ardent heat of the Divine Fire. Depend on it that He will not fail, nor be discouraged with the long process that may be required; and that He will not be rough or violent. He will stay His east wind. He will keep His hand on the pulse, that He may be aware of the least symptom that the ordeal is too strong.
At first there may be a twinge of pain, as when a dislocated limb is pressed back into its proper position, but afterwards there is the blessed restoration of healthy vigour. You will only lose what you would gladly give up if you know as much as God does of what promotes soul-health. “Whosoever,” said our Lord, “will do the Will of my Father, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.” “In His Will is our peace.”
Most Gracious God, to know and love whose will is righteousness, enlighten our souls with the brightness of Thy presence, that we may both know Thy Will and be enabled to perform it. AMEN.

From The Study E sword Bible