Jesus Christ came to earth and died on the Cross to fulfill the demands of the Law. He freed us from the impossible observances of those Laws…giving us instead His perfect Law that offers freedom from sin and guilt. For anyone who puts their faith and trust in Jesus…the old Law-keeping vanishes, as the new covenant is activated in their heart.
The Apostle Paul wasn’t speaking to non-Believers in this passage. Rather, he was directing the faithful to stop judging one another. You probably know someone who has been deeply wounded at Church by some hyper-critical Carnal Christian, and now because of that, has turned their back totally on Christianity and anything to do with God. For them, they can only see hypocrisy in fellow Believers that should be showing the love of Jesus…but instead are negative and critical. Such Carnal Christians are a hindrance and a barrier to the Gospel Message.
You can’t have it both ways. When you say “Yes” to Jesus, the broken relationship between God and you is restored. But that doesn’t mean you can manipulate His unearned and unmerited favor to your advantage. That’s what we’d call cheap grace. It’s an attitude of entitlement and presumption that you’d rather beg forgiveness than ask permission.
When we come together as God’s family, my spirit and yours are refreshed. (I Cor. 16:18) The Lord has opportunity to minster through you and me to touch others with encouragement when we meet together. He can also move corporately throughout to refresh…exhorting, inspiring, and spurring on. But when you decide not to go to Church or Bible Study or Prayer Group for selfish reasons, you are denying others the blessing of giving and receiving hope and inspiration through your absence. Never believe that you don’t matter in the Family of God, for you are a very important and intricate part of the spiritual community called the Body.
The act of water baptism is full of symbolism and meaning. For those watching, it’s a public declaration of the person’s inner decision. For the person being baptized, it’s a time of newness of soul and spirit. In Romans 6:4 it says, ” We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.” Therefore, within the action of water baptism, our old self dies, and our new self emerges out of the water.
No matter what the world throws at you this coming year…remember that with the Lord you can overcome it. Whether it be troubles pressing down upon you from the outside, or anguish that comes from within…you can rise above them all with His help. Don’t try to make it on your own…God is there, ready to take those burdens. And in the end, you’ll rise victorious over all the pain and suffering.