The Letter is Religion, The Spirit is Relationship
Who has made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter but of the spirit; for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 2 Corinthians 3:6
I sat across the dinner table last night from a woman wearing a cross. She's a friend of a friend of mine. I wanted to spontaneously ask her if she was a Christian or, which happens often here in Vietnam, she thought it looked cool for jewelry The Holy Spirit held my tongue. I wondered why and within seconds I knew immediately why. I didn't have to ask, I soon found out through casual observation she was a "Religious Person".Her body language, facial expressions, carefully chosen pious language, but especially her air of disdain. The Holy Spirit pressed upon me the notion of, "Jesus knew their thoughts." These scriptures apply: Matthew 15:1-9; Matthew 12:25; Luke 6:8; Luke 11:17. In each of these accounts Jesus was dealing with the Religious, Self-Righteous, Pharisees. When we live by the letter of the law we are religious and religion is our god. When we live by the Spirit we enter into a relationship with our Lord and Savior.
In my devotions today, I found this that supported my experience:Day By Day By GraceBob HoekstraMay 5, 2011"The Letter versus the Spirit[God] also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:6)The "letter versus the Spirit" is another contrast between living by the old covenant or by the new. This is another choice that determines whether we are functioning by man's sufficiency or by God's.A life developed "of the letter" is one built on rules and regulations. We cannot become a child of God by rules; neither can we develop in godliness by regulations. No list of demands (including God's law) could ever bring to us, or develop in us, a life with God. All rules and regulations (including God's law) come without resource. They are a list of requirements, not a supply of adequacy. They call for an observable response, but they provide no power to produce the required effect."Heavenly Father, through Jesus Christ may the law serve no other purpose for your children than to run to Christ Jesus to fulfill our compliance with every detail of the 600 plus laws that confront us. Holy Spirit fill us, consume us we pray Amen.
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