One aspect of liberty is rooted in remembering what kind of person we have been. As I read God’s Word, I am always reminded of the true lost condition I was in before I met Christ. Many believers hear the Word but continue to camp around their fallen nature rather than entering into the new man in Christ. The liberty James addressed comes not only from hearing but by becoming a doer of God’s Word. The “perfect law of liberty” is located in what Christ has done for us and our response by doing His will and work. The forgetful hearer is limited in hearing the Holy Spirit in the warfare in which he finds himself engaged. Remembering what I was without Christ leads me to what I am in Christ and doing of His work and will.
The Doctrine of Christ
Remember that the battle is the Lord’s. His life overcame the evil one; He went to hell and took the keys of death and hell from the Prince of the Power of the air; and He was raised up and seated above every principality. A major key to our victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil is found in knowing and being thoroughly established in the doctrine of Christ, also known as “the first principles of the oracles of God.” (Hebrews 5:12a NKJV).
The Doctrine of Christ is a life style that we enter into through the preaching of the Word of God and through the working power of the Holy Spirit. Together the Word and the Spirit create a new creation within us. This establishes a New Covenant with us made through the blood and crucified body of our Lord Jesus Christ. Matthew wrote:
And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Matthew 26:26–28 NKJV
The writer of Hebrews chided the believers for not developing beyond being babes that could only receive milk. “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God.” (Hebrews 5:12a NKJV). The writer’s statement is still a valid point for the body of Christ today. I dare say, most believers have not learned these principles of God’s Word, let alone apply them in their daily lives.
The writer of Hebrews stated that we should “move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity,” (Hebrews 6:1 NIV). It should not be necessary to lay these foundational principles of our faith again. We build strong and mature lives upon these eternal truths when we are clear in our understanding and the truths are fundamental to a life style that we live through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Here are the seven principles upon which we must build our new creation life in order to fight the good fight of faith:
- Repentance from dead works
- Faith toward God
- Doctrine of baptisms
- Laying on of hands
- Resurrection of the dead
- Doctrine of eternal judgment
In the following chapter we will examine these seven principles one by one and learn how they apply to the subject of spiritual warfare.