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January 30, 2018

Walking In the Flesh or Walking In the Spirit

  

                                                                            William Wilberforce                 William Pitt

William Wilberforce was the English legislator best known for his efforts to end slavery in Great Britain. William Pitt was the Prime Minister and a dear friend of Wilberforce. Together they plotted and worked to see the slave trade abolished once and for all. Wilberforce was a committed believer and a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Though Pitt fought the same moral battles and was a nominal Christian and a church member, Wilberforce was deeply concerned about his friend’s soul and spiritual condition, as he gave no evidence he was a genuine follower of Christ.

Wilberforce constantly invited Pitt to join him to hear a great evangelical pastor in London, Richard Cecil. Wilberforce was delighted when Pitt finally agreed to join him in hearing the powerful preacher. Cecil preached a tremendous message that exalted Christ and clearly proclaimed the gospel. Wilberforce was enthralled and could not imagine anything more wonderful or enjoyable. He anxiously wondered what would be the response of his dear friend. He soon knew as before they even left the building Pitt exclaimed, “You know, Wilberforce, I have not the slightest idea what that man has been talking about”.

This story demonstrates the difference between one who is a genuine follower of Christ and one who is not. Wilberforce knew, understood, and loved the gospel. Though professing to be a Christian, Pitt did not know, understand or love the gospel. Wilberforce was “in Christ”, Pitt was not. As we consider the lives of these two great leaders, it should drive us to study God’s Word and examine our own lives to determine if we are living in the flesh or in the Spirit.  

This will be the topic of this week's Bible study in the West Virginia state Capitol as we continue our series in Romans 8. Paul offers great assurance, peace, and joy in the wonderful promises found in this chapter. However, he wanted his readers to be sure they were genuinely in Christ. All the promises in this chapter are grounded in one fact - the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

  • Pray that legislators, elected officials, lobbyists, and staff will seriously examine their lives and determine if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in them (8:9)
  • Pray that believers serving in challenging positions and circumstance will find the assurance, peace, and joy that comes from knowing they have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them.

Resources

Amazing Grace in the Life of William Wilberforce by John Piper

Peculiar Doctrines, Public Morals, and the Political Welfare (Audio) by John Piper

 

Tim Pauley

Ministry Director

Capitol Commission West Virginia