“1 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”
Do you have a standard? You know, some kind of criteria or expectation you strive to live up to or meet, whether it is on a momentary, daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis? Or perhaps you have a standard that you hold others to, whether they know it or not? The truth is, you may hold others to a particular standard, and yet you may be completely unaware of it. I know I used to do this. Perhaps I still do.
“19 My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.”
This passage in the New Testament letter from James is one that I’ve been aware of for a long time. In my life, these two verses from James have often been mis-taken (as in taking it the wrong way) and have been the basis for legalism towards my own brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve used my own convictions or beliefs (even those about Christ) to hold others to a type of standard that they should live by. In doing so, I’ve passed a judgement on them to one degree or another. But it is not my job to pass a judgement against my brothers or sisters in Christ, nor against any who are in the world. Only the Spirit of Life can do such a thing. It is His job and responsibility.
See…what happens if I’m the one holding others to a standard, even if it is my best understanding of Christ? I bring the law and legalism. When I bring the law and legalism, I ultimately bring guilt, shame, condemnation, and death. This is often done in broad or vague strokes. But if it the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus who holds us to a standard, He does so out of love, and brings conviction where it is needed, which leads to repentance, liberty, freedom, and LIFE.
It is the life of Christ that imparts life to us, and through us to those around us. Yes, it has the ability to bring conviction when and where it is needed, but not because we are pointing out someone else’s sins or shortcomings. It brings conviction because the light overcomes darkness, and life overcomes death. Light has nothing to do with darkness, except to overcome it. In the same way, life has nothing to do with death, except defeat it. And Christ, Who is the embodiment of both Light and Life, has already defeated death and overcame darkness.
Therefore, our responsibility is to yield to Christ in such a way as to allow His life and love to flow in and through us to those around us, whether they are brothers and sisters in the Lord, or not. As His life flows, bringing light and life, others will not be able to help but be impacted in such a way as to desire His life and to walk in His light. In order to have life, we (and they) must come out of death, and only Christ can bring something and someone out of death and into life! In order to have light, we (and they) must be brought out of darkness, and only Christ can bring something and someone out of darkness.
“13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Father, thank You for Your love, made known to us in and through Christ Jesus, Who came to set captives free from the law of sin and death, and to bring us into His marvelous light and life! Thank You for choosing to live in and through us, and for calling us to Your glorious life, which is drawing all men unto Yourself.