Walking in the Spirit
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 12 Sunday
Read first paragraph,
“Walking” is a metaphor drawn from the Old Testament that refers to the way a person should behave. Paul, himself a Jew, makes use of this metaphor often in his letters to describe the type of conduct that should characterize the Christian life. His use of this metaphor is also likely connected to the first name that was associated with the early church. Before the followers of Jesus were called Christians (Acts 11:26), they were known simply as followers of “the Way” (John 14:6, Acts 22:4, 24:14). This suggests that, at a very early date, Christianity was not merely a set of theological beliefs that centered on Jesus but was also a “way” of life to be “walked.”
Do you like the idea that Christianity is not merely a set of beliefs, doctrines, or concepts but a way of life?
How would you describe that way of life?
Walking also follows the design law, the law of exertion. When we continue to walk in our spiritual life, it only strengthens our relationship with our creator, understanding more and more each day His true character and how He runs His government more clearer. The more we exercise our faith in Him, the more we grow.
Just like we can’t learn to walk by watching others we can’t learn to grow spiritually by watching others. We need to partake in Christ, to have a new heart and a new spirit. Not just by watching from the sidelines.
Read second paragraph,
“Conduct in the Old Testament simply was not defined as “walking” but more particularly as “walking in the law.” Halakhah is the legal term Jews use to refer to the rules and regulations found in both the law and the rabbinic traditions of their forefathers. While Halakhah usually is translated “the Jewish law,” the word actually is based on the Hebrew word for “to walk” and literally means “the way of going.”
Thoughts? Do you agree? Was the Old Testament “walking” in the law?
Does it sound like this paragraph is supporting the idea of a split dispensation, a dispensation of law in the Old Testament, and a dispensation of grace in the New Testament? Is walking in the law different that walking in the Spirit? What if we define the law as the law of love? Walking in the Spirit, is always walking in the law of love, is it not?
But when we assume an “Imposed” law, a set of arbitrary rules, then walking in the law takes on an entire different meaning. This is how the lesson seems to understanding walking in the law. And thus they see the Old Testament different than the New, but was it really?
“Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.” Genesis 5:24
- Was Enoch walking in a system of rules?
- Was he walking in the Spirit?
- Was he walking in the law of love?
“Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” Genesis 6:9
- Was Noah walking in a legal system of rules?
- Was he walking in the Spirit?
- Was he walking in the law of love?
“Then he blessed Joseph and said, “May the God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, the God who has been my shepherd all my life to this day..”. Genesis 48:15
- Did Abraham and Isaac walk in a legal set of rules?
- Did they walk with the Lord? In the law of love?
God said to Israel, “Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” Deuteronomy 5:33-6:1
What do you think this means? Is God saying, “Walk in the legal system of rules, and if you do, then I will use my power to miraculously make good things happen for you”?
Or is, God saying, “Live in harmony with the laws I built the universe to run upon, which the ordinances are designed to teach you, and you will prosper as you thrive in harmony with my design”?
And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul… Deuteronomy 10:12
What does this mean? Does this sound like walking in the law? Where does this idea of walking in a legal system of rules come from?
Satan – Satan is a legalist. Satan has worked from the beginning to distort God’s law away from the natural law He built the universe to run upon, to a system of rules imposed by God so that he could misconstrue God’s character as one of an arbitrary judge and rule enforcer.
Now, God did give much law at Sinai – if He is not an imposer of law, if He does not want rule observance and is not a rule enforcer, than how are we to understand His use of such law in the Old Testament?
It was added to diagnose and protect, very much like a parent who sets rules for children, brush your teeth, no sweets before bedtime, no theatrical television… why?
Because children don’t understand the natural law their health is built to operate upon and will ignorantly live out of harmony with God’s design bringing pain and suffering.
Parents set rules for children, waiting for the children to grow up and understand the reasons, understand the natural law the rules were based upon and freely live in harmony with God’s design and then the rules are no longer needed.
What a wonderful God we have who would stoop to help us in such a way. Yet, Satan has twisted God’s actions and people see God through the lens of a law imposer and enforcer and live in fear and dread of Him
Paul’s comments about “walking in the Spirit” are not contrary to obedience to the law. He is not proposing that Christians should live in a way that violates the law. Again, Paul is not opposed to the law or to obedience to the law. What he is opposed to is the legalistic way in which the law was being misused. The genuine obedience that God desires never can be achieved by outward compulsion but only by an inward motivation produced by the Spirit (Gal. 5:18).
Is there any conflict in the legitimate walking in the spirit and obeying God’s true genuine law? Is there any conflict there? None
But can law keeping sometimes be an obstacle to walking in the Spirit?
How? What type of law and law keeping is opposed to the spirit?
The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely—because he is required to do so—will never enter into the joy of obedience. He does not obey. When the requirements of God are accounted a burden because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life. True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right—because right doing is pleasing to God. Christ’s Object Lessons page 97
Do you hear in this little paragraph two types of laws being contrasted here?
What is the natural result in your heart, when you are required by an external authority to obey a law under threat of punishment that you have not agreed is the right law? You just know they have power and if you don’t you will get punished. But you don’t really think it’s reasonable.
What happens in your heart? Rebellion, you may go along with it in order to avoid the punishment;
- But is there any joy?
- Is there any peace in your obedience?
What happens though in your heart when you obey not only because you understand and agree that it makes sense but it’s actually the way you prefer to do it in the first place and that’s what you would like to do even if there wasn’t any law at all? Then what happens in your heart?
You see genuine law keeping isn’t about an argument over the accuracy of ones definition of the commandments. For example, “lets argue, should we have images of Christ in our churches? For thou shalt not make any graven images so we shouldn’t have any images of Christ in our churches, lets have an argument over that” That’s a clear law that we shouldn’t have any graven images isn’t it? That’s a big debate in some Christian circles.
So assuming whatever law you want to keep is in-fact the correct way of understanding it, what happens in the heart if you keep it but do so under the imposed law model “If I don’t keep it, God will put a demerit in my record book in Heaven, and if I don’t get that legally accounted for He will be required by justice to make a judgement against me sometime in the future and punish me. Now that is why I keep the law, so He won’t punish me.”
What happens in my heart? That’s my motive, now even if its the right law, the only thing that is going to happen to me is Rebellion. There is no peace, there is no joy, there is no real obedience. As Mrs White said “You are not obeying.”
This is how Satan has infected Christianity. By getting Christians to believe that God’s laws functions no different to mans laws. Hence, millions have grown up with increasing fearfulness of God in trying to keep His laws, trying to stay out of legal trouble with God, or legal loopholes. I.e. “I know I can’t stay out of trouble so I’ll just claim the legal perfection of Christ into my account but if I don’t claim that then God will still have to kill me”
This has only resulted in their characters being hardened, leading to fractures in the church, did you know there are 34,000 different church groups, all broken up because they all have their different interpretations of what the law means saying “We are going to do it the right way because you’re not doing it the right way so we are going to have to look down on you.”
Even within the Adventist church we all know that a county without an Adventist church in this world is called a dark county because only the Adventist church has light. (No other church has the right definitions)
What eventuates is leading to using methods of force and coercion so we’re going to have to get a hold of government and we are going to pass laws to ensure that people morally live the way we know God has to prescribe that we must live and will punish people who don’t and this is going on right now. Why do you think we want certain elections so we can put certain justices on the courts so we can get certain laws passed so that we can finally start living the Christian way or else.
We have seen throughout the history Catholics have burned Protestants at the stake and Protestants have burned Catholics at the stake and the Irish were having Protestant vs Catholic wars. Why are there wars against each other? They have different sets of definitions and they know that when you break rules God’s going to have to, in fact be required to punish these rule breakers.
We need to come back to realize that we are all actually just suffering from the same sickness in heart, suffering from the same infection of fear and self-centeredness. We all need the same remedy which can only be provided by Jesus Christ. Because true law keeping comes from a principle put in the heart, which is a love for God “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength. And your neighbor as yourself because all law hangs on these principles.”
Because if you don’t have that heart change it doesn’t really matter what rules you are keeping.
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