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eagleswings
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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North


NOTE:

If anyone is following this thread for study purposes:

The last four sections (7 through 10) are very important. I’ll delay posting another section for a day or two to provide time to catch up and reflect.


Roger



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Roger P.

 2004/4/5 12:24Profile
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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



11. The life in Christ Jesus can only be known and lived by this law of the Spirit. Unless this baptism takes place and this spiritual law be realized in experience so that the whole personality is brought into obedience to it, no man can possibly live the eternal life. We may observe how this law operates by reading the events that led up to the birth of Jesus. Unless the Holy Spirit had come upon Mary in the beginning there would have been no human Jesus Christ. His life came from the Holy Spirit and not from her; she only gave Him His human body. All the biological processes by which a human body is formed were taken over in Mary by the Holy Spirit, who activated and commenced and superintended their function. Thereby Jesus was made of a woman: (1) under the law of Moses (which law was the law of God and very strong against adultery); (2) according to biological law; (3) according to the law of faith; (4) according to the law of the Spirit of life. Biological processes are laws — God's laws — and when He sent His Son into the world He did not work apart from female biological law but through it. Jesus was born as a result of voluntary co-operation between God and a woman. Two laws co-operated and combined; one human and one divine — the law of the body of Mary and the law of the Spirit of God. The spirit of each co-operated by the law of faith to produce the human Son of Man.




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 2004/4/7 9:05Profile
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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



Freedom from the law of Sin and Death

'... the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death'. Romans 8:2

12. We therefore see that the unique life of Jesus of Bethlehem and Nazareth and Calvary was produced entirely by the law of the Spirit of life. This is the life which God means us to understand when we read the phrase 'the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus'. This life is not subject to the law of sin and death simply because it is the law of righteousness and life, and all the time we live by it we shall live free from sin as God intends us to. Other laws must operate too, all combining to this end. We must observe John's statement for instance — 'if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin'. We do not ordinarily think of that operation as law, but it is. When Paul says, 'ye are not under law but under grace', he does not mean that under grace all law is suspended or nullified; he means these two things: (1) we are not now under the Mosaic legal system of blood sacrifices for sin or thank offerings etc., (2) we are not now under the law of sin and death.




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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



13. We are here being instructed into the law of being and personality; in all moral intelligences these co-exist. In fact, without moral intelligence, personality cannot be. There can be physical that is to say animal existence, but no one ever thinks of speaking of an animal as a person; it may have an intelligence of a sort, but it is not moral, it does not act morally but instinctively according to its nature. A higher will and intelligence may train it to respond to a certain name and to do certain things, but it will never be thought of as a being, a person. It will remain a creature, an animal; it has being, therefore existence, but without personality. On the other hand, man, in common with angels and God, has moral intelligence; all three have both being and personality. In God's being there is no sin, therefore there is no death in Him because sin is the cause of death. But beyond, far beyond this negative aspect of His being, God is positively righteous. Being always morally right and good He is eternally alive — He is life itself. His nature is love and His personality is grace — that is to say that in His attitude towards us God is always gracious. Apparently this graciousness was the quality of nature and personality which came through most strongly to people of Jesus' acquaintance; 'the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ' certainly made terrific and unforgettable impact on Paul.



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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



14. Now exactly the same life that was in Christ is in the Holy Spirit, as it is in the Father also; although they share the same life, they embody and express it in three different ways as three distinct yet related persons. We must express this life also, and for this reason must walk in the Spirit and after the Spirit. God has ordained it that way for us, but He did not do so for the sake of it, He did so because there is no other way. It was quite impossible on earth for men to walk in the life of Jesus of Nazareth the human being. They could walk after Him — that is, follow Him — with Him or away from Him, but not in Him. Men could not walk in what He was in the flesh. That was unique, but in the Spirit it is now possible (and O what grace this is) to walk in what Christ is in spirit. To this end the Holy Spirit is now in charge of all things to do with Christ. We must be in the Spirit and after the Spirit and be led by the Spirit or we cannot have and shall not know the life of Christ. We may have and enjoy some of His benefits, but that is not good enough for God's sons. Beyond all these He wants us to have the privileges of sonship, and enjoy all the benefits of a son and heir of God. Therefore the Spirit is made unto us the Spirit of adoption or sonship, and this He accomplishes by coming into us and witnessing with our spirits that we are the children of God.



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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North


15. Made unto Us — All Things.

When Jesus Christ was made in flesh He was made the substance of all the virtuous things we read of in the Old Testament. The people of His day were able to see, hear and handle in a man, at least in part, what the eternal life really was. He was the personification to them of all spiritual virtues and graces and powers. Though sinless, He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh; He came for sin and to be made sin; this was His daring. Being so absolutely perfect He could be made the embodiment of sin and all human imperfection, and not be ruined by it. To that generation He was made everything perfect and glorious and needful and wonderful, then at the end of His life for that generation He was made everything imperfect and shameful and sinful and terrible. What He was made for that generation He was made for every generation before and since; He was made sin for us. Hallelujah! Just as truly as He was made the substance of everything virtuous to that generation, so to us also He is made the substance of all virtues and graces and powers. Paul lists some of them: 'wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption' (1Cor. 1:30); we could add to this list almost ad infinitum if we had power to comprehend what no language can possibly express.




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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



16. Now what we have seen to be true of Christ Jesus is also true of the Holy Spirit to the same degree, though not in the same manner. The Holy Spirit is made unto us all the many virtues of God which we so desperately need. Perhaps the simplest illustration of this is in that marvellous section of the Galatian letter wherein Paul speaks of the fruit of the Spirit. Each of the graces mentioned there is nothing other than one of the many precious virtues of Jesus; it is as though the writer had examined His person and had set down an analysis of His personality and personal qualities. Though not exhaustive, this group of characteristics put together by Paul is a description of the man Jesus, His manner and ways to God and to men - and wonderful He is. More wonderfully, this is what He is made to us by the Spirit so that we may enjoy and display His life. Still more wonderfully He is made that, through us, to God. The fruit of the Spirit is the spiritual substance of the life of Christ which made Him such indestructible Rock, even when He was made sin on the cross, with the result that the attack mounted upon Him there by the devil and his armies was broken upon Him. By the fruit of the same Spirit abiding in us as He did in Christ, the fact that Christ lives in us is proved. There is no other proof that this is so; the Spirit is given to us basically for this purpose.



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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



17. One of the wonderful things discoverable in the New Testament about God is how greatly the persons of the Godhead love each other. So great is this love that they integrate and identify with each other almost to the point of loss of personal identity, if not of individuality; this they do purely for love's sake, that the overall purposes of God may be unitedly fulfilled. Quite irrespective of the need to preserve their own distinctive personalities and natural roles, they give all their energies to the project in hand, whatever it is, in order to maintain the unity and single-mindedness of the trinity. Paul shows us here how the Holy Spirit identifies with the Son in order to be the Spirit of sonship in us; 'Father', He cries, and in so doing fulfils His other purpose of identifying Himself with our spirits also. He does this by and through the urgent immediacy of need within us because of regeneration; first He creates it, then he fulfils it; it is this need which makes the Holy Spirit so indispensable to each of us. Just as Christ did this same thing over a period of time when He identified with humanity as a whole by incarnation, so the Holy Spirit does it with individuals in order to certify that they are regenerate. Christ did this so that He may identify with us humanly, that is, in human nature and form; the Holy Spirit does it so that we may identify with Christ spiritually, that is, in spiritual nature and manner. As we shall see, this is not the only way or the only reason for which He does it; another instance in this same section affords us a further insight into His versatility and activities. Paul speaks of 'the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead'; without question, the person who raised Him from the dead was the Father, for Paul says so in chapter six.



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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



The Self-effacing Spirit.

17. Plainly the Holy Spirit is determined not to take to Himself any of the glory or credit which belongs to the Son or the Father; He intends that either the Son or the Father must have that. This characteristic humility is displayed almost unobtrusively throughout, as when He refers to Himself as the Spirit of God. This phrase is generally taken to mean the whole being of' God under the headship of the Father, which is proper and natural, for the Father is the highest expression of authority in any family or society. Given His full title, the Holy Spirit should be spoken of as 'The God, The Holy, The Spirit'. This being recognized, He is at once seen to be a person most profound and august, totally beyond our powers of comprehension. Whether we call Him God the Holy Spirit, or the Spirit of God, or just the Spirit, it is all the same (and all are quite proper expressions to use). He is quite happy with them. As long as He is fulfilling the work of the Father towards Jesus the Son, or fulfilling the role of the Son in us towards the Father, He is content. The Holy Spirit is a glorious person, adapting His own wonderful self to the wishes and requirements of God to us according to our need, and so magnifying Him. Whatever the office He must fill in order to do this, whether Comforter, Teacher, Leader, Empowerer or any of His other functionary offices, the blessed Holy Spirit is content as long as thereby the Father and the Son may be glorified; He is the ever-present self-sacrificing workman of God. What a wonderful person He is.




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 Re: 'The Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus' by G.W. North



18..It is very noticeable that, in this lengthy passage about the person and work of the Holy Spirit, He is not called by His full name or given His full title. This is not a mark of disrespect; Paul would no more be disrespectful to the Blessed One than he would ignore or blaspheme Him. The apostle loved and honoured Him. This use of the shortened form of the name of the third person of God is not confined to references to the Holy Spirit alone. In scripture the practice is more regularly used when referring to the Lord Jesus Christ than when speaking of the Holy Spirit. With either person, the general reason for this is to draw attention to, or lay emphasis upon, the particular position which that person is then occupying or the specific work or the nature of the work He is doing. It is the apostle's purpose throughout this entire section to emphasize the intensely spiritual nature of all he is saying. From the commencement of chapter eight and throughout, he uses the word spirit in various ways and connections many times (once with reference to man) and the full title, the Holy Spirit, once only. The insistence here is that everything is of spirit, whether of the Spirit of God or the spirit of man. That it is absolutely holy also must be unconditionally accepted; that goes without saying. The apostle's unshakable resolve here though is to make sure that everybody understands that nothing of what he is saying is addressed to the flesh; it is not of the flesh, or for the flesh, or in the flesh; everything is of, in and by spirit. God is Spirit, man is spirit; Paul is teaching things of spirit, whether they be things of God or things of man. He deals with things, powers, works and desires of the flesh in chapter seven, and leaves the subject there, showing his determination to do so by switching from flesh to body when speaking of human physical being in this section. He does this so as to eliminate from our minds all thoughts (whether they be suppositions or calculations) that anything other than spirit can possibly engage in what he now has to say.



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