Chapter 5 – Guided by the Spirit of Christ
Having laid a firm foundation upon faith in the Son of God, we are now able to build upward from the foundation. Faith is ever required of us as we progress further on with God and embrace a victorious life of overcoming sin. God has done much more for us than simply pay the penalty of our sin, and restore us once more to fellowship with Himself. He has made a provision for us to no longer be bound to sin’s captivity. He has given us all that is necessary to walk righteously before Him.
Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Yahshua. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you…
Once we begin to exercise faith in the things God speaks to us, we must forever continue to manifest faith. We begin by believing that we are sinners, as He has testified. We believe that apart from God we can never break free of the bonds of sin. We believe that only in Christ is their deliverance and forgiveness for sin.
These things all require faith to believe and confess. Faith then requires that we begin to act upon the things God has said are true. If we confess that Christ has set us free from sin’s dominion, then we must by faith begin to walk as free men. We must not believe the lie of Satan that we are still bound to his tyranny, and that we are not truly free from sin.
Consider once more the history of Israel as they left the captivity of Egypt, for it serves as a parable from which we can learn many more things. We read that on the night of the Passover that all the firstborn males in Egypt died, but the children of God who had placed the blood of the lamb on their door were passed over. Immediately after the death angel had brought this judgment against the land of Egypt, Pharaoh summoned Moses and told him that the children of Israel were free to leave. The Israelites then left in haste, for they already had made themselves ready.
All Israel departed from the land of Egypt on the night of the first Passover. They traveled out into the wilderness, and a short time later Pharaoh regretted that he had let them go. Pharaoh then gathered his army and set out after them with the thought of bringing them back to Egypt to serve as his slaves once more.
Once you begin to see this historical account as a spiritual parable, and you begin to recognize what various people and things stand for, it becomes easy to discern the meaning of the parable. Pharaoh is a type of Satan and sin. Mankind has been held captive under this harsh rule. God has sent a Deliverer to free us from sin’s captivity. This deliverer is His Son. Yahshua shed His own blood that we might be delivered from the bondage of sin, and the penalty of death. He has brought us out of our slavery with a strong hand.
Satan had no power to resist God’s Deliverer. He could only let his captives go free. Satan, however, has not resigned himself to this defeat. He pursues the people of God and seeks to bring them back into slavery to sin. The apostle Paul, recognizing this, exhorts the children of God to not allow this to happen. He says, “Consider yourselves to be dead to sin… Do not let sin reign in your mortal body.” Satan can only regain dominion over the child of God if they permit it. Through fear and unbelief a Christian can be persuaded to return to a life of sin. If the child of God continues to manifest faith in God, believing and confessing that they are no longer bound to sin, then Satan will be unable to bring them back to captivity.
Satan will not allow any of his former captives to leave without some attempt to bring them back. He often launches an attack by beginning to speak words of doubt and unbelief to the newborn Christian. He will say, “You don’t really believe you are free from sin’s dominion, do you? Remember all the times you thought to overcome sin in the past and you failed? It will happen again. My power over you is too great.”
The Christian’s defense under such attacks is the shield of faith. The Christian must respond, “It is true that I tried many times to overcome sin, and I failed. But I tried to overcome in my own strength. Now I have a mighty Savior. He has been tempted in all ways as I have, yet without sin. He has exchanged His life for my own. He has atoned for my sin. He has broken the rule of sin over my life, and now I am able to walk in victory.”
Faith is our shield from the enemy, and our offensive weapon against him is the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. When we confess the things that God has declared to be true, we wound the enemy and he is forced to withdraw from us. Although Satan will always seek to bring the Christian back to a life of sin, he can be resisted and overcome.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
God brought a final judgment against Pharaoh at the Red Sea. God parted the waters of the sea and the Israelites walked through on dry land. When Pharaoh and his armies sought to follow the children of Israel, Yahweh sent confusion among them. Their chariots and horses could not drive straight. Then God closed the waters of the sea upon them and they drowned.
What is demonstrated here is that God will fight for us. The enemy will never be able to take the Christian captive again to slavery to sin as long as they trust God and follow Him. This last phrase is critical. Our victory over sin is only assured as we continue to trust God and obey Him. Had the Israelites not trusted God, and had they proven unwilling to cross the Red Sea as directed, the enemy could have taken them back as slaves.
Once Israel had left Egypt, Yahweh began to lead them in a most remarkable way. He sent a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night to be with them and to guide them. This pillar never left them, and it stands as a symbol of the Holy Spirit that is given to the Christian to always be with them, and to guide them in the way they are to go.
Yahweh was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.
We are only assured of victory over sin as we are careful to follow the Spirit wherever He would lead us. Yahweh gave the Israelites the following instructions concerning the pillar.
Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent, afterward the sons of Israel would then set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the sons of Israel would camp. At the command of Yahweh the sons of Israel would set out, and at the command of Yahweh they would camp; as long as the cloud settled over the tabernacle, they remained camped. Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the sons of Israel would keep Yahweh’s charge and not set out. If sometimes the cloud remained a few days over the tabernacle, according to the command of Yahweh they remained camped. Then according to the command of Yahweh they set out. If sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning, when the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would move out; or if it remained in the daytime and at night, whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out. Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the sons of Israel remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they did set out. At the command of Yahweh they camped, and at the command of Yahweh they set out; they kept Yahweh’s charge, according to the command of Yahweh through Moses.
God has provided a very clear and detailed account of this matter for mankind. The reason for doing so is that these words serve as instruction for His children today. Yahweh wants all men to understand the vital necessity of constantly looking to Him to know what His will is. What He says, we are to do. Where He says go, we are to go. When He says “Do not go,” we are to stay put. Our very lives, safety and continued liberty are dependent upon our obedience.
You may ask, “The Israelites had the pillar of cloud and of fire to follow. What has God given me to follow?” The Christian is given the indwelling Holy Spirit. Yahweh has promised His Holy Spirit to all who ask Him for it. He knows we need the Spirit to walk as He would have us to. We need the Holy Spirit to overcome the sin that dwells in our flesh. We need the Holy Spirit to deliver us from our adversary, Satan.
Consider the message of the following parable of Christ as it relates to the Christian receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it will be opened. Now suppose one of you fathers is asked by his son for a fish; he will not give him a snake instead of a fish, will he? Or if he is asked for an egg, he will not give him a scorpion, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”
Receiving the Holy Spirit is similar to becoming a partaker of the atoning work of Christ in that both require faith. We must believe what Christ said here is true. We must believe that if we ask for the Spirit that we will receive it. We must believe that “all who ask receive.” If we have confidence in God’s character, knowing that He is a loving heavenly Father, then we will not doubt that He will provide that which His children ask for, and which they desperately need. He will not withhold any good thing from His children, but He wants us to ask Him for these things, and He wants us to trust Him.
The Holy Spirit is sent as the Helper to the children of God. He is unlike any other helper one can imagine. This Helper will make known to us the mind of the Father. He will reveal what the Father wants us to do in every situation. He will provide the strength we need to walk in righteousness, and to fend off the attacks of the enemy. This Helper knows our weaknesses, and in every area where we are weak He is strong and will supply the strength of God on our behalf.
So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh – for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God…
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
What an awesome ministry the Spirit of Christ provides to the child of God! He enables us to overcome sin. He leads us. He bears witness to us that we are God’s children, and that we belong to Him. He even helps empower our prayers when we do not know how to pray.
Yahshua said that He would send the Spirit to indwell His disciples, and that the Spirit would serve as His voice within them. The Spirit would lead them as a shepherd guides the sheep.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…”
Isaiah prophesied hundreds of years before it occurred, that God would send His Spirit to man to serve as a guide in all things. This Spirit would lead us as surely as the pillar of fire and cloud led the children of Israel in the wilderness.
He, your Teacher will no longer hide Himself, but your eyes will behold your Teacher. Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.
Our victory over addictive desires, and the passions that reside in our flesh, is only guaranteed as we go where God would have us to go, and do what He would have us to be doing. As we look further at the example of the Israelites in the wilderness we can see that they were only assured of victory when they closely followed where God told them to go. When they departed from the direction of God they had no power to resist their enemies.
The New Testament also reveals that following the Lord wherever He would lead us is vital to those who would walk as overcomers. In the book of Revelation we find the apostle John describing a vision of a group of overcoming saints standing with Christ on Mount Zion. Of these victorious believers we read the following:
These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.
This is a trait of all those who would walk in victory over sin, Satan and the world. They follow Christ wherever He would lead them.