Spiritual checklists

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6

The Pharisees had a checklist of things they were required to do to maintain their spirituality. They measured their spirituality by their checklist.

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. Luke 18:9-12

The Pharisee reasoned that he must be righteous because he did all the things on his spiritual checklist. He was keeping the letter of the law. He was still serving in the oldness of the letter.

The truly righteous – those made righteous by repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ – know that the letter kills.

And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. Luke 18:13

For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Romans 7:11

The commandments were not given as a checklist so we would know how spiritual we are; the law was given so we could see our sinfulness (Romans 5:20). When we see ourselves in the light of the law, we will see ourselves as the publican did: sinners in need of God’s mercy.

I tell you, this man (the publican) went down to his house justified rather than the other (the Pharisee) : for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. Luke 18:14

Once you see yourself in the light of God’s law, repent, and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, God will make you a new creature and you will serve in the newness of spirit.

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