Diversity in the Body

One of the hardest things about planting a church is trying to figure out biblically what a church is supposed to do and what it should look like. Of course, we have our ideas of what a church should look like. Things like: you should meet on Sunday mornings, you should congregate at a certain location for a prescribed time limit, you should sing three songs for your worship set using certain instruments, you should have certain qualifications for particular ministries inside the church…etc.

Within our thinking; we isolate the “Church” to a particular location that has a handful of qualified people to perform ministry in a certain way that we are familiar with. This mindset creates people who are church building attenders not recognizing that the “church” is the people who have believed in Jesus Christ for salvation and that the church goes beyond the walls of a building and each one is equipped to do ministry

For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Romans 12:4-5

…Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.  Ephesians 5:23

Once you become a child of God through Christ’s finished work on the cross; you become part of the Body of Christ (ie. Church). Christ is the head of the body directing it for His glory. Not all of us is the same part of that body, but each one is very important to helping the body being the hands and feet to a lost world.

It is easy to only associate with those who think and act like us, but we need the diversity within the body to challenge us, to keep us accountable and for an opportunity for us to not think to highly of our selves (Rom 12:3).

Since the Holy Spirit dwells in each believer, each believer has the ability to perform any gift of the body as God directs, but each one has at least have one unique gift or purpose that God has given to them to help move the Body of Christ forward in reaching a lost world.

The church is likened to a body, so we can rejoice and morn together. This is to help us with unity. Think of your own body; if you stub a pinky toe, do you cut it off or doctor it to help your body to keep going. The same with a splinter in the finger. Do you cut it off or work on getting the splinter out so it doesn’t fester?

Sometimes in the Body of Christ; we want to cut off those who are not like us or those who are struggling. We seem that it is easier to cut off those less important parts of the body instead of making them strong and useful for Christ.

Within the Body of Christ, we are called to preach, teach, exhort, serve, lead, love and contribute to others within the body. This needs to be done without hypocrisy while cheerfully showing mercy to each one within the body (Rom 12:6-16).

Basically, treat others within the Body of Christ the same way you treat your body. Each believer is equipped for ministry, so be the one that reaches out to the struggling parts of the body. Preach the truth to them, encourage them and love them. Someday you might be the one who is struggling and the one that you helped could be the one that puts you back on track.

This is what the “church” should look like.

Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Romans 12:16

God Changes Us

Around fifteen years ago; my wife and I bought a farm house on acreage just south of Belton. It was a fixer upper; inside and out. There was plenty of work to do on the house which kept us busy enough, but to add to it, there was always a new adventure living in the country as you would be hard pressed with unwanted wildlife and bugs and the constant battle of keeping the place mowed.  Both of us grew up in small town suburbia with our shoe box size yard and minimal wildlife and bugs; so country life was a challenge to say the least.

I have many horror stories of the challenges that I found living in that fixer upper in the country, but I also have multiple unique stories of things that I would not have experienced living in suburbia.

There was one time, I was walking out to the mail box and in my right peripheral vision; I saw movement on the entire tree trunk. As I slowly walk up to the big tree; I realize that the movement was Monarch butterflies. Hundreds of them covered the entire tree as they were resting from migrating. The tree slowly pulsated as they would flutter their tawny wings. It was a beautiful site to see. Too bad it was before cell phone cameras, because otherwise, I would have a picture to go with this.

This group of Monarchs were born late summer, so they would migrate to warmer climates until spring where they return to mate. Just a few weeks before this group was born; they were a different creature. They were caterpillars that crawled around in the dirt. These caterpillars went through an amazing process called metamorphosis. This is where the caterpillar changes into a butterfly by spinning a silk pad to hang upside down from. It then sheds its skin creating an exoskeleton and thus converting into the pupal stage. Inside the pupal, the caterpillar basically dies. I am told that the caterpillar’s organs dissolve and they covert their DNA into a different creature.

After two weeks of the pupal stage; the caterpillar comes back to life or resurrects into a different creature. They are no longer a caterpillar that crawls in the dirt, but now a butterfly with wings that slowly emerge allowing it to have full freedom as it flies through the air.

Metamorphosis is an amazing process that scientists even struggle to explain. The word metamorphosis comes from Greek word that the Apostle Paul uses Romans chapter twelve to explain how God changes us.

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

The word translated “transformed” is the idea of ‘changing one’s entire life as a result of a complete change of thought and attitude with regard to sin and righteousness.’[1] This is a full word within itself, but to add to it; Paul gives it as a command and that we are to continually do this. This is a daunting task for us to muster up the strength to change ourselves for the better and to continue on doing it day after day.

Not to leave you hopeless; I did fail to mention that this is written in the passive voice, showing that an outside force must do this. You are unable to do this yourself!

Paul recognized that mankind is unable within themselves to change into something different, but God is that outside force that is in the business of changing mankind into a new creation.

Through simple belief in Christ’s death and resurrection; God transforms us into a new creation. It is Christ now working through us by changing our thinking and guiding our actions so we are able to glorify Him in our lives. This is so He gets all of the Glory for anything that we do.

If you are in Christ; you are no longer crawling in the dirt like the caterpillar, but you are now a new creation that has the ability to soar with wings like the butterfly enjoying the freedom that is yours in Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV



[1] Louw-Nida

 

 

 

 

Play-Doh

As a child, did you ever play with Play-Doh? I remember the many hours of pounding it flat and rolling that product into balls and ropes and then using them to make primitive shapes and animals. I never received any of those compression devises that formed it for you so I only had my own imagination and creative abilities to work with. Today, I see there are many different types of compression devises to get a multiple arrangement of shapes and sizes. They even have molds that form your Play Doh into action figures, shapes and even animals.

The interesting thing about Play Doh is that while it is in its formable state; it can be ever changing and for the most part, never returning to its original shape.

In our life, we are like Play Doh. We are very impressionable. If we were not impressionable; we would not have modern day advertising with billboards, banner ads and commercials. These things work mostly because we want to be accepted by others. So we allow the social pressures in life to push on us to wear a certain clothing, to drive a certain car or to think and act a certain way so we will feel powerful, sexy, successful or accepted

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

The word ‘conformed’ is similar to the molds used for Play Doh. It is the idea of being fashioned into a shaped container or mold. When you apply more pressure to Play Doh; it would give another shape or become more like the mold that it was getting pushed into.

The world system wants us to look and act like them so it pushes on us to look and act like they do–whether right or wrong.  Of course, this goes beyond the outside that can be seen, but even the thought process. After time, one does not even remember what its original shape or value system was. Mostly, the world system pushes us to think contrary of God’s standard.

God’s standard is the Bible.

The world system is contrary to God’s standards and this is why the advocates of the twisted world system pushes so hard on us to change our thinking and to push the Bible away. This is why we need a standard, a moral compass, and a belief system built on Truth. You could be lost in the woods with twenty other people who are all pointing in twenty different directions trying to tell you which way is north. Your standard in this case would be a compass to show you True North. Some of those in that group might have been right or close to being right, but the compass dictates who is correct.  Usually in a group like that, there would be a group of those who know they are wrong, but they are louder and more boisterous, and usually they are the ones that will try to convince others that they are right.

This has been seen this last decade as ridiculous decrees have come down from those in authority. Since many people do not have a true standard to live by; people willing accept any absurd idea even if they don’t agree or don’t like it. Though they know it is morally wrong; they will eventually accept it as the norm and begin to think different about it. Eventually, they become accepting of it and probably even encouraging it.

People slowly begin to be conformed to the loudest opinion without checking it with a standard to see if it is proper or true.

Because of this twisted world system, the Apostle Paul basically commanded his audience to “not be conformed to this world”. He understood that everyone who is contrary to God’s standard will push on you like Play-Doh in a mold to get you to accept their thoughts and ideas.

All things need to be assessed or evaluated with a standard or point of reference to see if it is true. Christians need to become familiar with their Bible and use their standard as a True North to point them in the right direction and so they are not conformed to things that go against God’s Truth.

Do not allow the world to mold you into their sets of false ideas; pursue only what is true.

Jesus said…, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 14:6

Worship

“Worship” has been the buzz word for a while in churches. The word worship has seemed to only be related to music, but the word goes way beyond singing songs and playing instruments.  The word “worship comes from an Angelo-Saxon word meaning ‘worthship’ or to ascribe worth to something. When one “worships” God, he/she is saying that God is worthy of my time, worthy to be trusted, and worthy of adoration.

There are several ways to worship God in our personal lives. As we already know, worship can also be done through music (Ps 150) but there are many other avenues to worship such as through giving, praying, preaching, silence (Ps 46:10) and by basically bringing God glory in our daily lives (Rom 12:1).

In the corporate worship service, worship is done through the public proclamation of Scripture (1 Tim 4:13), through faithfully preaching God’s word, through sacrificially giving of one’s time and treasures, by showing the importance of praying, through observing the ordinances (the Lords Table: John 6:53-56), and of course through music. Worship is not only a “church thing” or “Sunday morning” thing, but a daily act as one goes through life

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Romans 12:1

In Romans chapter twelve, Paul pleads with his audience for them to present their bodies as a living sacrifice. Now he isn’t advocating human sacrifice, but the idea is to cause oneself to be at God’s disposal. To be willingly under the authority and direction of God. The idea is placing one’s self on the altar for God to use you however He pleases. It might be better seen as being a servant like the Apostles called themselves (Paul: Titus 1:1, James: Jam 1:1, Peter: 2 Peter 1:1; John: Rev 1:1). Each of these servants of God were willing to basically be a slave and allow their Master to direct each one’s life.

Paul also is not advocating a hyped up list of doing things in your own flesh. He is basically setting the stage of don’t be ‘conformed to this world’ (vs. 2) and allow its thought process drive you, but rather let God direct you.  It’s not about doing things in your power and churching it up by placing on it God’s name, but rather willingly placing yourself under God’s direction and allowing Him to work through you for His glory and not your own.

Presenting one’s body as a living and holy sacrifice can only be done as one walks by the Spirit (Gal 5:16). This allows God to direct and lead your life. This type of life is pleasing to God. This type of life is worship to God.

I am not attacking Sunday morning worship sets. Don’t get me wrong. I love to hear electric guitar and drums in a corporate setting, but worship goes way beyond music. As you ascribe worth to God by willingly placing yourself under his leadership; you will begin to understand what true worship is.

Hopefully you too can say, “God is worthy of my time, worthy to be trusted, and worthy of adoration.” As you walk through your daily life; allow God to direct. This is true and pleasing worship to God.

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. Galatians 5:16

Israel’s Salvation

God chose a person by the name of Abraham to show His grace to. Through Isaac, the promised son of Abraham, came forth Esau and Jacob. Before either child could do evil or good: God chose Jacob to be the chosen nation Israel (Romans 9:13).

Throughout the Old Testament it shows the faithfulness of God even though Israel was unfaithful and likened to a harlot (Jer 3:8). In spite of this, God continued to chase after Israel to show His grace while patiently waiting for His people to recognize God for who He is.

When Jesus came to the earth; He directed His messages to Israel, trying to woo her back. Instead of Israel accepting their prophesied Messiah; they had Jesus crucified.  But this didn’t stop God’s plan in saving Israel.

We saw last time how Paul’s heart’s desire and prayer was for Israel’s salvation (Rom 10:1). He continues to build his argument with a climax by asking a question which can only receive a negative reply.

I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means!… Romans 11:1

This is a very strong response. May it never be!

God has not rejected His people. Paul uses himself as a proof that he is an Israelite and God saved him by faith (vs. 1).  He then sets up a second proof that God has not rejected His people. Even when it looked like the only believer in Elijah’s day was himself; God had a remnant of 7000 Israelites (vss. 2-3).

So even today there is a remnant of believers (vs. 5).

Throughout time, most of Israel (the religious crowd) has been seeking righteous through their own works and the religious requirements of the Law, but God did not and will not accept it. Because of this, God has allowed them to be in a state of stupor. They are now unwilling to accept their Messiah. They have eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear.

This religious crowd wanted to work hard for God’s favor, so God allowed their backs to be overwhelmed with difficulties so they can repay themselves (vs. 10). Paul continues to argue that even though they are being religious and not seeking God; God hasn’t given up on them. In fact, God took the opportunity to instead chase the Gentiles (you and I) to make Israel jealous (vs. 11).

Paul then uses an analogy of a wild olive branch being grafted into the root of the olive tree. Showing how God is the one who saves and places an individual in a right relationship with Himself.

The root is supporting the branches. The branches cannot do anything on their own. Not all of Israel is part of the “root of the olive tree”; not all believe in Christ. (vss.19-20). God’s kindness and holiness of God is seen that He is able to choose or reject anyone he wants. We should just be in awe that He chose us (vss.21-22).

God has the power to allow those Israelites who rejected Him back into fellowship (vs. 23).  If God can save the gentiles; he can easily save the Jews (vs. 24).  Once all of the Gentiles that are chosen are saved; Israel’s stupor will come to an end and they will be given eyes to see and ears to hear (vs. 25).

When God’s perfect time comes; all of Israel will be saved (vs. 26). They will be loved and accepted because of God’s covenant with Abraham (vss. 27-28).

This is an amazing chapter showing how God saves by grace through faith.

It’s not about what you do or have done. Christ is pursuing you and wanting to know you. Through belief in Christ; you can be grafted into the olive root like all of Israel will be one day.

We should be in awe of the kindness and holiness of God because how God chose us and saved us by grace for His Glory.

…according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity… 2 Timothy 1:8-9

Zeal for God

The Apostle Paul continues to pray for and show his heart’s desire for the Jews salvation here in Romans chapter ten (vs. 1). He could clearly see that his people group was very religious. They were very busy trying to obtain their righteousness on their own without Christ. There were many Jews that even went beyond the call of duty to show their faithfulness to their religion; they had a zeal for God.

Paul also had a zeal for God so he understood what they were going through. He was extremely more zealous for ancestral traditions than his contemporaries and he even advanced in Judaism more than others. (Gal 1:14).  In Philippians chapter three; Paul lists his pedigree of accomplishments which outranked many of his day.

…If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. …and may be found in Christ, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, Philippians 3:4-7,9

Paul had the best training of the day with a teacher of the Law by the name of Gamaliel and with this training it produced a ridiculous zeal or enthusiasm for God (Acts 22:3), but his energy was focused on himself and his works which he had performed and not on Christ. Well, not until Christ met Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-5).

For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge. For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. Romans 10:2-4

The Jews and even Paul (before he met Christ) had an enthusiasm for the things of God. From the outside, it may have looked like they were doing great things for God, but they did not have knowledge or possess full information about how one becomes righteous in God’s eyes.

Paul continues by saying that which is believed in the heart will overflow through the mouth.

…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; Romans 10:9

God is continually reaching out to individuals. He is not looking for the energetic or zealous who think that it is all on them to perform; He is looking for those who simply believe in His Word and then allows God to do His works through them for His glory.

For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” Romans 10:11-13

God Makes a Choice

The word choice is an interesting word. The worlds definition means to make a decision and accept one item when there are two or more options. Usually if we are to choose between two or more things; we will choose the best of the options that are available. Why not? Why would you choose an inferior option when better ones exist and you have a choice? I am sure there are a few exceptions like if you know the next person choosing has a specific preference and you want to show love or kindness to them, but that’s the rare occasion.

In Romans chapter nine we can see how God makes a choice.

The Apostle Paul shows his heart for his fellow brothers. Paul recognized that Israel is God’s chosen people and God hasn’t given up on them, but for now God is showing His grace to the Gentiles. God is showing mercy to others to make Israel jealous (Rom 11:11).

Because of Abrahams simple belief in God; God chose him to be showered with blessings and to receive the ultimate blessing, Jesus Christ, who came through Abrahams lineage to be a blessing to the Gentiles.

In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice. Gen 22:18

In order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Gal 3:14

God’s choice is interesting. It is usually thought that certain men of God are morally upright within themselves and that is why God chose them, but this is not the case. Yes, Abraham had great faith in God (Heb 11:8) and was even known as a friend of God (Jam 2:23), but even so, Abraham was far from perfect. He showed fear by lying to Pharaoh (Gen 12:13) and then he lies again with King Abimelech (Gen 20:11). He showed a lack of faith by deciding to have a child through Sarah’s maid instead of waiting on God’s timeline (Gen 16:1-2). Maybe in the group of available men at that time; Abrahams was the best choice?

Let’s look at a better example of how God chooses in the case of Isaac’s twins that were born.

For though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER.” Just as it is written, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” Romans 9:11-13

This was unheard of in this culture, because the older always got a double portion and never had to serve the younger. God chose Jacob before he could do anything good or bad. Jacob was selected to be God’s chosen people. This is just a divine selection or choice that God used to show His mercy. It is based upon God’s choice for His glory.

This may seem odd or even unfair, but who are we to tell God what to do.

On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Romans 9:20

The more I study, I find that God is not willing to share His glory with anyone (Is 42:8). God set apart a people for himself (Israel), but most rejected him so he expanded His mercy to the Gentiles (those other than Jews). Though we are not an Israelite; God chose us and adopted us into his family through faith in Christ (Rom 8:15).

The Jews tried to live a holy life but could not succeed in attaining the righteous requirements of the Law. The Gentiles could have cared less for the things of God, but God pursued them and by faith they accepted God’s free gift of salvation (Rom 9:26-31). Why did the Jews not become righteous? Because they pursued it by works instead of faith (9:30-32).

The Jews stumbled over Christ trying to find righteousness. Righteousness can only be found in Christ (9:33).

My conclusion of this is that God does what He does for His glory. He is the one who chooses and has chosen you if you accept through faith (John 3:16-18). It is done this way, so no one can boast and say, “Hey, look what I have done.”

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

O Death, Where is Your Victory?

Super Tuesday! Semi-super Saturday! I hope candidate “A” wins this state! I can’t believe that candidate “B” one that state. I would for sure vote against candidate “C”. (originally written November 2016)

Many have been consumed with the primary election; which is understandable with the state of our nation. Everyone is curious who will win. Can any of these presidential hopefuls fix all of the pressing issues that are plaguing our nation? Who will be victorious for the prized seat as the President of the United States?

It is easy for Christians to get wrapped up in the political arena and to fall into this trap of thinking that a President will fix all of our problems. Yes, we should exercise our right to vote and even vote with our conscience as God directs, but we must not forget that a presidential victory isn’t as important as our victory in Christ.

Jesus Christ had victory over sin, death and hell by His one-time act on the cross.

then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:54-57

This victory can be ours also through faith in Christ. As we believe or put our trust in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross; we are clothed with Christ’s righteousness. We are now in a right relationship with God because of Christ. We are now a son or daughter and we receive all of the benefits of a son or daughter because we have been adopted into God’s family (Romans 8:15-17). Since we have been placed in God’s family: God made us secure by placing His Spirit in our hearts as a pledge or promise that He will be with us in this life and take us safely to eternal life (2 Corinthians 1:22).

This Spirit that indwells the believer helps each of us in our weaknesses by interceding for us (Romans 8:26). Since Christ is in us through His Spirit; we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, and to those who are called according to His purpose (8:28). The indwelt Spirit guides us and conforms us to Christ’s image (8:29).

With this security in God’s Word; we know that if “God is for us; who can be against us.” (8:31). We recognize that in Christ we have victory because He saved us, He helps us and He gives us victory over sin, death and hell and that nothing can separate us from the love of God” (8:39).

In conclusion, exercise your right to vote so the right president hopeful will have victory. Vote with your conscience as God directs but ultimately look to God to move the leaders’ hands and thoughts and recognize that the only victory that matters is our victory in Christ.

Now no Condemnation for us

We all have seen those nature videos where an animal is collected for some reason such as tagging, for study or because of injury. While the animal is removed from its proper environment; it is usually in a fetter, restraint or a cage so it won’t hurt itself or even others. After the animal recovers or the study is complete; the animal is released back into the wild. As the restraints are removed; usually, the animal is in disbelief that they are truly free, but once they realize it; they quickly scurry away to enjoy their freedom.

Though it is difficult sometimes to use human analogies to describe heavenly truths; one can see the freedom that mankind can have through Christ in the Book of Romans.

As I continue to walk through Paul’s epistle to the Romans; I come to chapter eight which begins with the word “therefore”.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:1

Since it begins with the word “therefore”; one must see what it is there for. Paul has been building his argument showing there is no one righteous or no one who seeks after God (3:10-11); he shows how all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (3:23) and how mankind is an enemy of God (5:10); Without Christ; we are spiritually dead, helpless in saving ourselves and even a slave to sin (Rom 6:20). Without Christ intervening by Him demonstrating His love to us by dying for us (5:6-8); we would be eternally separated from God in our pitiful state.

Paul had to show what a mess we are and how great God is for us to truly understand the freedom that God has provided for us. Because of Christ’s finished work on the cross we can be set free from the Law and sin (6:18). We need to be freed from the power of sin because even though the Law is good; it entices us to sin (7:7-8) and we continue in the sin even if we do not want to do it (7:14ff). Paul recognized that he was a wretched and pitiful man without Christ setting him free (7:24-25).

Because of all of this;,,,”Therefore” (8:1).

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. There is no guilty charge, no verdict of guilt or any judgment for those who are in Christ. Through faith in Christ, your fetters, chains and guilt have been removed and Jesus Christ has truly set you free to live how God designed you to live.

Sin had captured us and placed chains on us, but because of Christ’s finished work on the cross; the door to our cage has been unlock through faith in Christ. You are now free. Step through the door, leave that cage and bask in the freedom that you can now enjoy.

True freedom only comes through 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. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son Romans 8:1-3

Set Free

There are many ways to study the bible. I personally like to systematically read through an entire book so I can see the context of each verse as it pertains to the chapter and to see the progression of thought of the author as he writes. This way one can see the conflict of the book that spurned the writer to write the letter in the first place. After understanding the occasion of the letter; one can observe the cultural background of where it was written and then follow the writer’s train of thought. Once this is done, the student can then go to the original language of the writer and properly interpret what the writer was trying to get across to his audience.

When I write or preach; I do it the same way. I like to teach through a book whenever possible. The Book of Romans has been my choice of writing for the last six times I wrote. This week is no different as we look into the seventh chapter of Romans.

As we have already seen in the Book of Romans; everyone one knows there is a God and each one is without excuse (1:20). God’s wrath is being poured out on all because there is no one righteous and no one who seeks after God (1:18; 3:10-11). We are even enemies of God because there is no life in us (5:10). We are enemies of God because of Adam’s disobedience (Gen 3). When the Law was introduced by Moses; Adam’s sin became imputed into all men (God began keeping record of all sins; since all have sinned. (Rom 3:23; 5:12-13)). Without Christ; we are spiritually dead, helpless in saving ourselves and even a slave to sin (Rom 6:20).

For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:6-8

The Book of Romans shows us that we are a mess and are in need of a Savior, but God did not want to leave us this way. The Good News or Gospel begins in Genesis chapter three and continues from there showing how God instantly began chasing after His creation to woo them to know Him through faith. Here in Romans chapter seven; we have the conflict of our flesh and the Spirit showing how we are a slave to sin even if we do not want to do it (7:14ff). Actually, the Law shows us what sin is and it even entices us to sin (7:7-8). Again, this shows what a mess we are and Paul recognized it by calling himself a “wretched man” (7:24); but now because of Christ’s finished work on the cross we can be set free from the Law and sin (6:18).

For us to understand it; Paul uses analogy of a marriage vow. According to the Old Testament Law, a woman was bound to her husband while he lived, but if he died; she would be free to marry another. When one has faith in Christ; he/she is now free from the first marriage (The Law) and now dead to sin and even free to join to another; Christ. Sin now has no power over him/her.

Through faith in Christ alone; He sets you free from this body of sin and He has erased that record of sin that you had (imputed sin). Your sins have been tossed into the depths of the sea to be forgotten about (Micah 7:19). To show how far your sins has been cast away; God said it is removed from you as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He also promises you eternal life and even life more abundantly because you are now filled with His Spirit. This makes it where any good work that you now do is only because of Christ living in you.

This way Christ gets the glory for showing His grace to us and saving us; even though there was nothing good in us.

I seriously could teach through this book a few verses at a time and have a lifetime of material to write about and teach. I challenge you to pick up the Book of Romans and systematically and slowly read through it until you fully understand what God is trying to teach you through it.

Our God is amazing!