Jan 21, 2011

Pauls Letter to the Romans: Chapter 8:15-17

Last week as we read through Romans 8:9-14 we seen that, even though our salvation is not subject to us being perfect in holiness, we are non-the-less obligated and commanded to live according to the Spirit. Even though we still live in this flesh we are not to live according to the flesh.

Of course, God, by His kind grace, knowing that this is impossible for us, does not leave us t our own efforts, but He Himself leads us in this. By the leading the Spirit, who dwells within those who have been born again by His power, we live a life of sanctification and a growing in holiness. What we once were we are no longer. "By the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body" (Rom 8:13)

We are no longer a slave to sin. If the Spirit is within you, have you noticed how the sins you once loved disgust you now? If they don't disgust you, they should at least be less appealing, and gradually they will become more and more vile to you.

This is the work of the Spirit within you. It is extremely important to remember though, that this is not you working to earn or maintain your salvation. Everyday you should remind yourself of what the gospel is. It is not salvation by means of working for it, but Christ has bought it for you.

Our sanctification is a means of God's grace to us whilest we still abide in the world, so that we might be the salt and the light to the world so that they might know the truth and be saved.

"For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'" (Rom 8:14-15)

These are some of my favourite verses in all of Scripture. The Law of Moses was given by God. The Law is right and holy. It was always understood that it is by the Law that we obtain righteousness and salvation. This is wrong. The law is our tutor that leads us to Christ that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (or the Law). (Gal 3:24-25)

We do not have to work for our salvation, Christ did that for us (Rom 8:3-4). Do not be burdened by guilt if you should commit a sin. Do not think that you are no longer a Christian if you sin. Certainly we do not live in it, but we do not all of a sudden need to be re-saved. We do not live under the fear of the Law.

For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'"

This is the total freedom of which is found in Jesus Christ. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. (Rom 8:1-2)

You are a child of God. Do you realize the implications of that? No child of the Almighty Yahweh will ever wear a yoke of slavery and fear. We should not fear that we would be condemned.

These Scriptures continue in reassurance and of God's amazing kindness. "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him." (Rom 8:16-17)

OK, read that again.

So let me get this straight; When God gave us life, we spat in His face, and turned against Him. Instead of just thumping us all, as we deserved, He would come, live in the same miserable existence we do, in order that He might be tortured and crucified by us, so that we can then be adopted as if we were His children, and share in the inheritance which is rightfully and deservedly His true Son's!!!

WOW!!! Halleluyah!!!

Is God not so incredibly kind to us? We deserved His wrath, and instead He is going to give us a share in Jesus' inheritance. Absolutely amazing.

Next time, we will continue with looking at verse 17 and what it means to suffer with Him.

Thanks for joining me in this study.

So my brothers and sisters in Christ, instead of living in guilt, which is the tool of the Devil, live with these thoughts in mind. The more you do, the less you will desire to sin, and the more obedient you will want to be. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Because of how incredibly kind God is.

Jan 9, 2011

Paul's Letter to the Romans; Ch 8:9-14

Romans 8:9-14

In my last post I began to go through Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome. (Talk about divine providence. Paul's wrote to the Christians in Rome and his letter to them is called Romans. Wow, coincidence? I think not.)

In those first 13 chapters we saw how Paul made a distinction between those who are in Christ and those who are not. Those not in Christ are at odds with God, even in a hostile manner, and they are under a curse of death. Yet those in Christ receive from God, life and peace with Him. Not, however because of anything those in Him have done, but solely and completely because of what Jesus Christ has done and accredited to those who receive Him and in whom dwells His Holy Spirit.

Paul makes an interesting statement in vs 9; "However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit," meaning in contrast to those who are in the flesh, who "cannot please God" (Rom 8:8), you who are in the Spirit are pleasing to God. Again though, I can't stress this enough, Rom 8:3-4, only because Jesus has fulfilled the Law in the flesh, so it is accredited to us.

Here is that interesting part of what Paul says, and one I don't believe is spoken as often as it should be. Rom 8:9, "...if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you."

Excuse me? Did he just say IF? Yes, yes he did. That means that there are those who believe themselves to be Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, but as Jesus said, "not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord will enter the Kingdom of Heaven..."(Matt 7:21-23)

This is a very scary prospect. There are those who think they are saved but are not, and they will stand before Jesus in that day of judgement, and even tell Him about all the great things they did in His name, and He will say "I never knew you, depart from me you who practice lawlessness." (Matt 7:23)

I would encourage anyone who professes Jesus as their Lord, to do as Paul instructed. Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you--unless indeed you fail the test? (2 Cor13:5)

How can we test ourselves in this? Believe it or not Romans gives us the answer to this.

One answer is not known until we die. That is eternal life and the resurrection of our bodies. Our earthly bodies are dead because of our sin. Rom8:11; Our spirit is given life because of Christ, we are born again, and eventually God will resurrect our earthly bodies in power and glory.

The next test the Christian should examine himself with is that of sanctification. "...but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, you will live." Rom 8:12-14

Are you growing in holiness? Of course this does not mean perfection. No one can obtain perfection in the flesh, and anyone who says they are and have no sin, is deceived and the truth does not abide ion them. (1 Jn 1:8).

The saying is, "it's not about perfection, it's about direction." One of the promises of the Holy Spirit is the sanctification of those who He leads. It is clear that one receives salvation by repentance from our sinfulness. This is not a onetime act though. Repentance is a lifelong turning from sin and a lifelong leading of the Holy Spirit into righteousness. We can, sorry I shouldn't say that WE can, but the Spirit will grow us in holiness.

Are you growing in holiness? Are you sinning less? There is no single gauge which might apply to all believers, this is really between you and God. There is also no single holiness-booster shot, it is a life long journey of repentance as the Spirit reveals areas of sin in your life and dying to yourself and growing in the Spirit.

This is best accomplished by reading and meditating upon God's word and PRAYER.

Spend time praying!! Lots of time!! Also, I know in our worlds attempt to be super spirituals, this may sound selfish (but it’s not), you don’t always need to pray for others, but pray for yourself. Pray especially for the Spirit's guidance into all truth and understanding of God's will and to grow you in the likeness of Jesus Christ.

The more we are made in the likeness of Jesus Christ, the more others and ourselves come to know Him and what He is like. Think about it. The more we become like Him, the more we will know what He is like. And this will in turn move others, and ourselves, to love Him more and more.

May the Spirit of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ fill you with peace and grace for the glory of God.