Living the Resurrected Life. The Testimony Part 11 The Water, The Blood, and the Spirit, Part 4 -The Testimony of the Spirit - David Mitts
The Apostle John spoke to us of three that bear witness, the water, the blood, and the Spirit.
“This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.” (1 John 5:6)
We have looked at the testimony of the water both at creation and at the baptism of Yeshua in the Jordan. We also looked at the testimony of the blood as the speaking forth of covenant. The covenant which is the declarative act of union between 2 parties is ratified or made real and binding by the blood of the sacrifice. Yeshua gave His blood as an eternal sacrifice bringing us into an eternal covenant.
“how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” (Hebrews 9:14)
Reviewing, our conscience is truly how we know what is wrong in our lives. When our conscience is tuned to the standards of the world, it operates by comparison. We compare ourselves and all that we think or do according to the same in others. We say to ourselves, “compared to them, I’m……”. This can be a favorable or an unfavorable comparison. Regardless of which direction, the comparison takes us, it is the blind leading the blind.
“Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch."” (Matthew 15:14)
This verse was in reference to the standards of the Pharisees. They represent any man-made system which derives its righteousness from adherence to that system.
Our conscience, when guided by the process of comparison can only produce dead works. It is impossible in this system to serve God. Instead, we serve what we have agreed upon as the “right” or the “wrong” things to do. Through the blood of Yeshua we have been cleansed from this system. Our conscience is now free to be convicted by the Holy Spirit.
The water, the blood and the Spirit all agree. The blood cleanses us by allowing us to die to the system of comparison. The water washes us daily through the Word of God spoken into our hearts. The Spirit then fills us with the resurrection life, the new covenant life of the Spirit which makes us alive to the reality of God.
The Apostle Paul describes the new life this way:
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1)
Condemnation is the condition of the conscience which compares our thoughts and actions to some external standards of good or bad behavior. Paul calls living by the flesh. The flesh isn’t just a source of bad things like, lust or greed, or addictions, etc. No the flesh is a system of defining ourselves in our conscience by the standards of others. The flesh’s ultimate weapon is the scripture, what Paul calls the letter.
“who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6)
It isn’t that the scripture is the bringer of death but the scripture when used by the flesh to attempt to solve the problems of our conscience which is really a system of guilt and self-justification.
We must accept that apart from the cross and the new life in the Spirit any attempt at goodness is really a prescription for death. When we say well such and such is really a good person, we are entering into the system of death. Apart from the death and resurrection of Yeshua there is no goodness!
This may seem bigoted and intolerant of the goodness in all religions. But we must come to terms with the reality that relative truth is not truth at all. It is at best agreement. The agreement is just a mass delusion. We have only to look at the past couple of years to see the powerful and destructive impact of mass delusion.
How is it possible? How can so many be deceived. It’s simple. When we trust in a conscience that is based on dead works then any solution that seems “right” to us in our need to assuage our conscience will bring death.
We need the blood to cleanse us from the addiction to dead works so we can stop serving the need to be right. Instead, we can be freed to live free from condemnation and serve the living God, who brings life.
This opens us up to the testimony of the Spirit, which Paul calls the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
Notice the Spirit is also called a “law”. Now many reject law as a basis of life because of grace. But we need to remember that it is not true that God’s Law is the problem. It is only when we use the “law” of God to defend our righteousness that is the problem. Why? Because it drives us to determine our value in life based on how good we are based on some standard of keeping what we think and agree upon as the Law. The Torah itself is good and pure:
“Therefore, the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” (Romans 7:12)
The Spirit instead of basing our goodness on keeping the law, the external standards of behavior by which we compare ourselves and feel our failures as condemnation in our conscience, something to be covered up, brings us alive through our death with Messiah. He didn’t just die to forgive us from our sin, our failures relative to the Law, but He died and resurrected to lead us into an entirely new reality based solely on testimony of the Spirit.
This is called the new covenant and is described through the prophet Jeremiah like this:
"Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."” (Jeremiah 31:31-34)
The new covenant is also based on Law, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts. This is the testimony of the Spirit.
Now there is no longer trying to figure out our goodness based on our comparisons, the dead works of our conscience. No! Our goodness is instead written into our hearts and minds. Using computer terms, we now live by a new operating system and our old operating system has been purged by a reformat of our hearts and minds by the ultimate eraser tool the death of Yeshua.
The power of this reality is made effective by the testimony of the blood in the covenant. Yeshua by dying and giving His blood killed the system of dead works which powered our conscience. This is what is meant by the old covenant being made obsolete.
“In that He says, "A NEW COVENANT," He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” (Hebrews 8:13)
It isn’t that God’s Law is obsolete as many erroneously think. No. It is the powering of our conscience by the system of externally directed law resulting in dead works based in relativism.
In the new covenant our heart and mind are now alive to the Spirit, not the external law. The Spirit leads us into the life of the Law of the Spirit.
It’s an inside-out operating system versus an outside-in operating system. We can live our lives as the righteousness of God in the new blood covenant of Messiah Yeshua.
“But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference;” (Romans 3:21-22)
When Paul speaks of righteousness apart from the law, he is speaking of righteousness that comes from the inside, from the faith or trust in the blood of Yeshua. Receiving the new life through a surrender into a new covenant, becoming the bride of Messiah, releases us from the system of justification by comparison.
Through the new covenant we die to the leading of the flesh and instead can be led by the Spirit.
“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” (Romans 8:5)
It is still our responsibility to determine where we set our minds, in the system of comparison or internally on the witness of the Spirit.
The choice is a covenant choice, and it determines who we owe our loyalty to, the world and its lie-based standards of to the One who died for us to be free to live out our destiny!
“Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.” (Romans 8:12-17)
The witness of the Spirit is the inner testimony that we are good because He is good, and we live in Him. It isn’t that we are not to strive for good goals. That would mean that we have resigned ourselves to accomplishing nothing. No! The deeds of the body that Paul is referring to has more to do with where we derive our power.The body or the flesh is not a reference to our physical bodies as evil. Rather it is a reference to the system that we live according to. The flesh is a system of comparison. It is rooted in the primary rebellion against God by trying to usurp His authority in our lives deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong, good and evil. This is the place of a conscience dedicated to dead works.
Let’s practical example to make this clear. You or I might want to improve our level of personal health and vitality. The system of the flesh begins wit condemnation. We are dissatisfied with how we have done in the past and resolve to change for the better. So, we might plan to eat a keto diet, exercise 3 times a week, eliminate excess sugar and salt. All of this is fine. Yet, where do we do to accomplish this? We go our will power, and our history reminds us of all our failures. We start great but then feel the deprivation and our struggle is with flesh and blood. Our own flesh and blood and the flesh and blood of others.
What is the alternative? To walk according to the Spirit. All the same decisions are now surrendered to the Lord’s resources. This is not about what we can’t have, what we can’t do and the drudgery of discipline against our flesh. No. Now we surrender to the leading of the Spirit and experience the liberty of His voice and power as we cast our cares upon Him. This is the beginning of the testimony of the Spirit.
Activation: Opening to the voice of the Spirit. We are instructed to put to death the deeds of the body or the deeds of the flesh. Ask the Lord to reveal to you what you have accepted as standards for your behavior that are derived from trying to please people or to please your own conscience and its system of right and wrong.