Romans – “Therefore”
Humankind was in a self induced, sinful mess. God knew that before sin came into the world through Adam and Eve. The messiness still flourishes for those who do not believe in Christ and His work on the Cross to save us and lift us up out of the mess. Sin’s mess continues to have a hold on those who are merely impressed with Jesus and think they can handle life on their own. Sometimes that is me.
We work hard to be good enough only to find out that all our efforts combined do not come close to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Our efforts pale in the tremendous work of His Holy Spirit in us, giving us power to turn our backs on sin and the traps laid before us each day. We can only boast in Christ for our victory over sin each day we live. We cannot do it without Him. He is God and we are not. His mission was our mess.
Hallelujah, praise God! “This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike, ‘What’s next, Papa?’
Romans 8, The Message
The Solution Is Life on God’s Terms
1-2 With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
3-4 God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that.
The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.
5-8 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.
9-11 But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!
12-14 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!
15-17 This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!
Think about it…
–God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. NO ONE else can do that. WE can’t do that. God knows us better than we know ourselves.
–“Do it yourself”, spiritually, leads to a bigger mess. Have you ever had a time when a DIY backfired and led to more work?
–When God takes up residence in your heart, mind and soul, you think more of Him than yourself. Now we are free to move about life without the limits we place on our lives. God’s free open spaces of His will, work and plan for us becomes expansive and limitless! Wow!
–New life, new thinking, new behaviors. God in us, helping us. How can we lose?
“We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us–an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly gong to go through the good times with him!”
Dear Heavenly Father,
We know Who you are. We know You saved us from our own mess. We cannot do life without You. That’s who we are. You knew that, so You gave us Your Holy Spirit to guide us, help us, and challenge us. Thank you for not only saving us but living in us who believe. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. I will meditate on this lesson and live gratefully today because of the reminder of who You are and who I am. You are God and I am not. Continue your work in me. I’m listening.
In Jesus Name, Amen