- by Pastor Mike -
Of all the chapters in the Bible that provides a description of what promises are afforded to the redeemed child of God, (and there are many) Romans chapter 8 is my personal favorite and I want us to jump right in and discover these rich, wonderful promises that God has given us, through Jesus Christ , our Lord.
Romans 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
8:4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
This has got to be one of the most beloved chapters for myself that Paul ever wrote. So much promise and hope for following after our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Because of His love for us, we do not fear the condemnation of a Holy God. We walk after the Spirit, demonstrated by the life of our Savior as our perfect example. Because we could not keep the Law of God perfectly, as God knew from the beginning that we could not, God became man and took on our likeness in the flesh, so that all who believe in Him, are not condemned through the breaking of His Law, but are saved by grace, as a willful, glorious act of divine love and mercy. We are clothed in His righteousness when we will stand before the Father in heaven, as God the Father will see nothing but the righteousness of His Son in us. We must die to this life in the flesh as demonstrated by the act of baptism, and become new creatures following after the Spirit of God.
8:5 "For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
8:6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness."
Man by himself, cannot follow the ways of God as expressed in His Laws and written down on tables of stone, called the Ten Commandments. God being the author of those laws that were written by His own finger, God became man and stood on the Mount of Olives, called the Sermon on the Mount, and in this sermon gave His instructions on what was prior the letter of the law or a legalistic approach to His law. By giving us the spiritual intent of what it meant to keep the law of God by our actions, our focus, and spiritually dying to this world through belief on Him, the only Begotten Son of God, Jesus proclaimed what those laws meant to each of us.
People who call themselves Christians fail to understand that there MUST be a change in nature, in habits, and in the way you conduct your daily life. It doesn't come "prest-chango" as some would have you believe, but is a life- long process of character building found in our Lord, Jesus Christ.
We see so called "Christians" today that you can't tell any difference in them and the rest of the world. Does a truly converted, saved individual return to the pig trough of this world and continue in the same behavior that God was willing to save you out of? I had a conversation with some other ministers and we all were in agreement that the direction of the "modern Emergent church" is anathema to what God ordained for His church to be an example of. The church is not a building, not a denomination, not your favorite speaker on the Prosperity Gospel, but each and every one of us that have Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit residing within our hearts and dwelling within each of us, as a deposit of future glory and total redemption. We follow the Bible only, not some new feel good gospel that emphasizes personal growth in this world, but of the world that is coming....sooner than you may even think. We store up treasures in heaven, not here on earth.
I had a gentleman who called expressing sorrow for not being able to quit sinning concerning a particular distressing manifestation of the flesh that kept occurring in his life. I had to remind him, "welcome to the human race." Paul, the apostle of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, complained the very same thing when he wrote: Romans chapter 7,
7:18 "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
7:19 For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
7:25 I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin."
God knows that we are still in mortal bodies, subject to sins of the flesh, but that doesn't mean He doesn't want us to try through faith and trust in His power, His strength, and that not of our own. When we fail, we come to Him in repentance and confess our sins :
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness". 1st John 1:9.
A RECIPE FOR VICTORY IN THIS LIFE
We are to arm ourselves with the whole armor of God, which is the only way we can stand up to the wiles of the devil. Paul detailed what it takes to be a Christian in the spirit in the times we live in. Ephesians chapter 6,
6:12 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
6:14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
6:18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
There is a difference in being weak in the flesh and seeking God to deliver you from temptations and sinning unintentionally because of being mortal, but a truly regenerated Christian does not continue in willful sin. He doesn't lie, doesn't steal, doesn't commit sexual immorality, and doesn't continue to live like the rest of the world. The Christian comes out of this world, even though they are in the world, they are not of it any longer. A TRUE follower of Jesus Christ, picks up the sword as a warrior by learning to put on the whole armor of God, as found in the pages of your bible, and stamped on your soul in times of prayer. Paul explains this very clear principal in the follow verses, as we return to Romans chapter 8.
8:11 "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:"
Think for a moment here about your life. Have you ever done something that instantly pricked your spiritual heart, and unsettled your mind? You knew immediately that you had done wrong, and that God was in plain view and seeing your sin. You can't hide it from Him and it brought an instant sadness, or at least when you had a chance to think about what you had done. You couldn't rest until you confessed that sin and ask forgiveness and when He forgives, (and He always does) instantaneously we are back in fellowship with Him and a weight is suddenly lifted from our shoulders and off of our mind.
The bible is not a smorgasbord that we can pick and choose what we like and discard what is too hard, is not popular, or doesn't fit our "lifestyle". I am distressed when I hear that we can do whatever we like, after believing on Jesus Christ and God will keep us in His family, even if we live like the devil. "Now it's party time" they say. How serious were you when you made that commitment to follow after Jesus Christ? Christian means follower of Jesus Christ, as a disciple, a believer in what He said, and by taking on His likeness. Know one thing, my friend, even the demons believe in Jesus Christ, but they are not followers of His way of life, and they are not saints. James chapter 2,
2:19 "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?"
That's not to say that works save you. No, not at all, but it does say that works is a product of being saved...otherwise, you are putting the cart before the horse. Works does not provide salvation, but salvation does produce works. They are in separable if you be truly found in Jesus Christ. Point is, you change and you are not the same as you were before. You belong to Jesus Christ. He purchased you and you are no longer your own, but are waiting to be born into the Kingdom of God. We have that promise, we have that deposit of His Holy Spirit. It's time that we live like it.
We all are in "bible school" and being taught and learning the ways of Almighty God, the Father and His Son. As we grow in spiritual maturity by reading, memorizing and hiding His Word in our hearts, the acts of sinning that we once committed will become less and less. Oh, the temptation will still be there, as the devil never gives up, but the desire will be buffeted with the knowledge of God's way, by reading His Word. We rely on His strength, His power, and His Holy Spirit to lead us away from the temptation and hold firm to the thought, "no, I'm not ever going to allow myself to grieve my Lord, again." We learn, we overcome, and in the end, we will win and be welcomed into His presence.
WHAT A GLORIOUS PROMISE
8:17 " And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
8:18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God."
Can you fathom what verse 17 is saying? "Heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ" is what it says. What does it mean? It means that what Jesus is right now, what belongs to Him as inheritance and what Family He belongs to, we will share in the same. We will belong to the family of Jehovah, (Yahweh), the Almighty. We will be of the same essence, the same spiritual body, the same power of the mind, and endued with unspeakable power and glory, all to the glory of the Father because He imparted it to us when we are changed into spirit beings with a new body( just as His Son has a new body), at His coming for His church. It will be a glorious body full of potential. We will begin by reigning with Jesus for 1000 years as Kings and Priests during the Kingdom of God on earth, and further into the vast expanses of eternity. We will have a life of power and glory without end. Right now we can only imagine...we cannot fully comprehend it till it comes to pass. Our minds could not handle the realization and the scope of what awaits us. 1st Corinthians,
2:9" But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
2:10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God."
God has promised all things. Nothing will be withheld from us. He will lead us to a glorified life that we cannot even begin to imagine. I reminded of a song "I Can Only Imagine."
"Surrounded by Your glory, what will my heart feel
Will I dance for You Jesus or in awe of you be still
Will I stand in Your presence or to my knees will I fall
Will I sing hallelujah, will I be able to speak at all ? I can only imagine. Yes, I can only imagine"
Yes, we can only imagine, but we cannot fully comprehend the glory that will be found in us, because of His love, mercy, and His grace.
Continuing in Romans,
8:20 "For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
8:21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
8:24 For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."
OUR BLESSED HOPE
Notice how he lays the foundation by turning our attention to our hope. He reminds us that God purposefully made life subject to futility. Futility is a frustrating quality that wears away at one's confidence. It can produce a sense of hopelessness that leads us to think that nothing will work out. Sometimes our pilgrimage seems so long and arduous that we take our eyes from our Savior, and hopelessness builds. However, Paul reminds us that God does everything in love and wisdom and for our good. Futility is an obstacle that we must overcome through faith in God. Yet, He has willed that futility be present, intending that we use it as a prod to use our faith in cooperation with Him despite its presence.
8:26 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
8:27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
These are powerful, positive statements concerning our struggles . Why should we be fearful that God cannot take care of us? Does God ever fail to succeed in whatever He does? Did you say never? Correct, never. These verses flatly and dogmatically state that if we want to cooperate in faith to bring God's purpose for us to its intended conclusion, we must, I repeat, must, believe that His watchfulness over us involves every circumstance of our lives.
Now this does not mean that God gives us everything we want, but gives us what is in His perfect will. God will always give what is best for us. That's why the Prosperity Gospel is so offensive, as it goes against the will of God. It holds God hostage and says that we know what is best for ourselves, and God just needs to give us whatever we desire. It's a serious breach of Biblical principles of God's sovereignty and His perfect wisdom. With God in our corner, what has a true child of God to fear? The answer is nothing.
8:29 " For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
8:30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
God knew before the foundation of the world, who would respond to His call, and who would not. It comes down to an individual's will. God will not force His will on anyone to save them. He will give them a choice, either life or death, light or darkness. We can choose to be with Him for all eternity, or choose to be separated from all forms of joy, love, happiness, or hope by being banished from His presence because of unforgiven sin. To me, that truly is hell. That is independent of any punishment if you believe there is a hell fire, or not. To be separated from the Giver of life and loose all hope for all eternity, now that is the definition of 'Hell". We are commanded to keep the charge of what Jesus Christ told us to do with our lives. John chapter 14,
14:15 " If ye love me, keep my commandments.
14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
The Holy Spirit given on the Day of Pentecost was the start of God's focus on His church. That same Spirit is with us today, giving us strength, hope and resolve to finish this race and become sons of God.
Notice the last verses quoted above of Romans 8, but see verse 31, as it puts a cap on why we should never be fearful of missing out on the provision of our God. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" God has the power and the will, and He does not make mistakes or empty promises. Paul then lists what God has already done for all concerned and what He wants to do for each of us in the life we live for Him. Our responsibility is to choose to put these facts to work in our specific circumstances.
8:32 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
8:33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."
Satan is already defeated when we say "yes, Lord" and believe in our hearts and our minds, that Jesus is God, that He was raised from the dead, and that He lives forevermore. Satan makes charges against His saints every waking moment. He hates the children of God and accuses them mercilessly before a loving God, but Jesus stands at God's own right hand and is our Kinsman Redeemer, who bought that which was lost by shedding His own blood in a perfect sacrifice for what we could not do, save ourselves. Jesus saved us and brought us into His family as sons and daughters to God the Father, and brothers and sisters to Himself, God's only begotten Son, that through one supreme act of love, dying in our stead and receiving of what we deserved....death. He was our substitute, our sacrifice to satisfy a Holy God.
8:35 "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Focus in on that nothing can separate us from God...nothing, my friend. Nothing in this material life, in the spiritual life to come, any creature, or any calamity can take us out of God's hand, or separate us from His love.
You who have been reading these powerful words of promise, of hope, and eternal security found in Jesus Christ and Him alone, you ask yourself, am I also included in these promises? There is only one way that you can claim the promises that Paul wrote in this most glorious description of our future, eternal existence and being found in His presence, in His love, and close fellowship with the One who made you. How, you say, do I claim it?
It's so easy, a child can do it. Jesus said,
Matthew 18:3-4 "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
And as believing little children that by faith believe God, what is it we must believe?
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
3:18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
Like I said, a child can do it. I did it when I was 10 years old and was still soft and tender in heart to the calling of the Holy Spirit. Does that mean, as an adult you can't do the same? No, it just takes a spirit that humbles itself and become child-like, and says
"I can't do this alone. I am a sinner, born into sin. I want to live for eternity in your presence. Cleanse me from all unrighteousness, and I accept Jesus Christ, as my Redeemer and believe that Jesus is God, come in the flesh, and chose to die in my place. I believe now that you are alive and are coming again to gather unto yourself, the sons of God."
You say those words with a believing heart and do not doubt that Jesus can save you from your sins, He WILL become your best friend, your Lord and Savior, and your Kinsman Redeemer from your lost condition of being condemned in the flesh. But returning to the opening verse of this passage of Scripture, it emphasizes what we who have given our life and loyalty, by faith in Jesus Christ, can expect . 8:1 "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
Humble yourself, my reader and accept the free gift given by God, and embodied in His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. He calls you now.
This is pastor Mike Taylor, praying God's salvation comes into your life today. If there be any need for counselings, prayer, or just a listening ear to what troubles you, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, God bless you richly, till we meet at Jesus feet.