There’s a great story about a man serving time in prison because he was a thief.1 Stealing had been his lifestyle, until the long arm of the law caught him. During his time in prison, he heard the good news of Jesus Christ and was wonderfully converted.
When the time came for his release, the man knew that he would face a new struggle. Most of his old friends were thieves, and it would not be easy to break the patterns of his old way of life.
On the first Sunday of his new freedom, he slipped into a church building. The Ten Commandments were inscribed on a plaque at the front, and his eyes were immediately drawn to the words of the command that seemed to condemn him. “You shall not steal.”
“The Law tells us how God wants us to live. Christ makes that life possible.”
That’s the last thing that I need, he thought to himself. I know my weakness. I know my failure, and I know the battle I’m going to have.
As the service progressed, he kept looking at the plaque. As he reread the words, they seemed to take on a new meaning. Previously he had read them in the tone of a command: “You shall not steal!” But now, it seemed that God was speaking these words to him as a promise: “You shall not steal.”
He was a new person in Christ, and God was promising that the Holy Spirit would make it possible for him to overcome the habit of stealing.
God’s promise is that when you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit will come and reside in your life. His power will make the difference between a battle in which you are destined for defeat, and a battle in which there will be ultimate victory. The Law tells us how God wants us to live. Christ makes that life possible.
by Colin S. Smith
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