Today you will learn why and how the Spirit-filled life is available to you. If you have received salvation through Jesus Christ, then the Spirit-filled life can become a reality. The good news is that just as salvation is a free gift by faith, so is the Spirit-filled life. The key to your filling is identification, knowledge, desire and faith.
How you identify with God is vitally important. You are no longer a sinner, but a saint, a child of God through your trust in the sacrificial death of Christ on the cross. This identification with Christ will determine your growth and effectiveness in witness. As you identify with Christ as a new person, you will begin to live life as that new person. No one can consistently behave in a way that is contrary with how they view themselves.
Further understanding comes through knowledge. Your ability to operate in the fullness of the Spirit is found in understanding that victory over sin has three aspects. The first aspect is called “positional righteousness.” It is described in (Romans 5:1,2) “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” This is where you as a believer are declared righteous by God. It doesn't mean you won’t sin, but it does mean that God accepts you into his family and considers you righteous though considering yourself, you know you're not.
The second aspect is called “ultimate righteousness.” This is the kind of righteousness you will experience in the final resurrection. We will be in actuality what we are considered by God to be today. The Bible says, “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” 1 John 3: 2-3, NIV).
The third aspect is called “practical righteousness.” This is right living today. It is you living as God wants you to live. This enables you to be in position for God to empower you in sharing the good news of Jesus.
Let’s take a closer look at how we can live holy lives for God. It will relate directly to you infilling of power by the Holy Spirit.
As you read before, salvation is a gift. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23). Your empowerment for holy living is a gift of God’s grace as well. It is a transforming grace. The Bible states, “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ…” (Phil.1:6). This gift of holiness will be worked out daily in your life. It is the “good work” which God has begun. You need to understand as a believer; you live from a position of holiness, not to a position of holiness.
To apply this in your life you need to understand and accept your identification with Christ. The Bible tells us that through faith we are united with Christ in his death, therefore we are also united to Him in His resurrection power (Romans 6:5-14).
Since our identification is found in our union with Christ, when Christ died on the cross, we died with Him. When He arose, we arose with Him. We have already, by our union with Christ, obtained positional righteousness and we have been given the ability through the Spirit for practical righteousness. We are freed from the penalty of sin and its dominating power. The deliverance from the power of sin was accomplished by Christ’s death and resurrection. It is applied to your life by faith. That is why the apostle can write, “Count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God.”
Today we still live in a fallen world dominated by sin and we have the principle of sin still at work in us. This is our struggle. That is why the apostle told us to “count” or as other translations say, “Consider yourselves dead to sin.”
Though the “law of sin and death” is present; “the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” is greater. The apostle Paul wrote:
“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. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1-4).
Paul went on to write, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you” (Romans 8:11). This “law of the Spirit” supersedes the law of sin and death. The Bible says, “Because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2, NIV).
The law of sin and the law of the Spirit can be compared to the law of lift in aerodynamics and to the law of gravity. When a plane flies, the law of gravity is not suspended. The law of gravity is still there and it is still applied to the plane, but a higher law is in effect, the law of lift. It supersedes the law of gravity. If the law of lift were not engaged, the plane would fall because of the law of gravity. The battle for the Spirit-filled life is not flesh against flesh, but faith against flesh. You must believe you are no longer the same. You must, by faith identify with Jesus Christ and his resurrection rather than the old you. This is the law of the Spirit that supersedes the law of sin. You will stay in bondage to the flesh by believing the lie that you cannot change.
There is a children’s story about a baby elephant captured by loggers in India. The elephants were used to drive logs down river. The loggers catch the elephants when they are babies to train them to be obedient. To keep the young elephant from running way, it would have a rope tied to its leg and to a stake driven into the ground. The little elephant would try to get away, but the stake and rope would hold him captive. As the elephant grew, he would cease trying to escape, thinking that the stake would hold him. In reality, he could have pulled the stake out of the ground at any time. It wasn’t until a forest fire that the elephant, now as an adult, tried now to escape and was able to pull the stake from the ground with one pull. Why had he not done this before? It was because he didn’t believed he could.
Why do many Christians not live the Spirit-filled life that gives power in their witness? Could it be because they don’t believe they really can? They are like the elephant who believed that nothing had changed. Everyone knew the elephant had grown and could escape, except the elephant. The world and the devil know that we have changed. They don’t want us to know it or believe it. You have to come to the point where you believe the fullness of the Spirit is for you. Once you accept the Spirit-filled life is for you then you can become aware of the fruit that comes from this kind of life.