Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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Unconditional Surrender

Unconditional surrender...
Our attitude to our fallen nature should be one of ruthless
repudiation. For 'those who belong to Christ Jesus have
crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires'
(Gal. 5:24). That is, we have taken this evil, slimy,
slippery thing called 'the flesh' and nailed it to the
cross. This was our initial repentance. Crucifixion is
dramatic imagery for our uncompromising rejection of all
known evil. Crucifixion does not lead to a quick or easy
death; it is an execution of lingering pain. Yet it is
decisive; there is no possibility of escaping from it.

Our attitude to the Holy Spirit, on the other hand, is
to be one of unconditional surrender. Paul uses several
expressions for this. We are to 'live by the Spirit', to
be 'led by the Spirit' and to 'keep in step with the
Spirit' (Gal. 5:16, 18, 25). That is, we are to allow him
his rightful sovereignty over us, and follow his righteous
promptings.

Thus both our repudiation of the flesh and our surrender
to the Spirit need to be repeated daily, however decisive
our original repudiation and surrender may have been. In
Jesus' words, we are to 'take up (our) cross daily' and
follow him (Lk. 9:23). We are also to go on being filled
with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18), as we open our personality to
him daily. Both our repudiation and our surrender are also
to be worked out in disciplined habits of life. It is
those who 'sow to the Spirit' (Gal. 6:8) who reap the fruit
of the Spirit. And to 'sow to the Spirit' means to
cultivate the things of the Spirit, for example, by our
wise use of the Lord's Day, the discipline of our daily
prayer and Bible reading, our regular worship and
attendance at the Lord's Supper, our Christian friendships
and our involvement in Christian service. An inflexible
principle of all God's dealings, both in the material and
in the moral realm, is that we reap what we sow. The rule
is invariable. It cannot be changed, for 'God cannot be
mocked' (Gal. 6:7). We must not therefore be surprised if
we do not reap the fruit of the Spirit when all the time we
are sowing to the flesh. Did we think we could cheat or
fool God?

grace and peace to you,

For Mercy Street Ministries, I'm Stan Baldwin.



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