13.5 Romans – Relationship

Not only did Jesus Christ come to this world to save us, but He also came to open the door to a new relationship with us.  It is actually a very old relationship, but one that we elected to break in the garden of Eden.

When you look at the contact between God and man throughout the rest of the old testament it is, well, a bit terrifying.  God shows up in fire, in smoke, in a hurricane in storms in ways that time and again cause people to fall to their face in the dirt out of wonder and awe and fear of His majesty.

God hasn’t changed, there isn’t a God of the Old Testament that is a different God than the New Testament.  God is God, unchanging.  But Jesus changed everything about us.  We now can be priests and saints.  We are not outsiders but invited members into the inner courts of our King.  We are family not enemies.

Through not only His act but the reason for His act, our relationship with God changed for all time for all who believe.

We have the ability, the invitation, to return in to a right and good relationship with God.  The same relationship that the Trinity enjoys with itself.  We don’t compete with God or try to be “like God”, we, instead live for all eternity in complete community and communion with Him.

The Holy Spirit’s presence in believers is not just a metaphor, it is the intimacy of the relationship that we now have with God.

My Answers:

Conformed to the image of Christ:
Sonship, ability to call the Almighty God, Abba Father. Testimony of this fact by the Holy Spirit. Heirs of God and co-Heirs with Christ. Share in His suffering and also share in His glory.

God knows us, knows what we want and need (will even pray for us when we do not have the words), worthy to God, loving discipline for development and growth and for our good. We are being transformed, even now, into a holy nature like Jesus Christ, being purified.

It should amaze us and humble us. It should also recognize this isn’t just Good News, but amazing news. We have been saved and elevated beyond anything we can imagin.

13.4 Romans – Rotten Food

As a child of God we have entered everlasting life as a member of the family of the King of Kings.

Isaiah 25:6 prophecies the banquet on God’s holy mountain and Jesus discusses how we will sit at the table with the patriarchs of old.  Whether we eat or drink to nourish our heavenly bodies, I do not know, but I know that Jesus also used food as an analogy for the nourishment that comes from God.  After working with the Samaritan woman at the well Jesus commented, “my food is to do the will of Him who sent me.”

I bring all of this up to point out that we need no longer eat scraps from dumpsters and trashcans.  We are now the adopted children of the King.  Why would we partake of rotten food and trash?  We wouldn’t.

In the same way, Paul calls us in our verses today to get rid of the other trash that we have consumed in the past and that we may have stored up in our lives.  Get rid of the misdeeds of the body.  He doesn’t say to kill them as one would kill an animal in hunting to provide food, instead, he uses the same terminology of putting them to death as one who is convicted of a capital offense and sits on death’s row in prison awaiting execution.

This is not a loss to us.  Do you eat rotten food?  Do you drink spoiled and rotting milk?  Of course not.  You through it away and have no desire for it.  It does not nourish or help you it only brings harm.  The same can be said of our sin nature and misdeeds.

Do not get confused in our questions in this section of Romans.  We are not discussing sacrificial works giving in.

My Answers:

To be a child of God, to be unknown to the world because I no longer adhere to the desires of the world (or am growing out of them to a higher calling). to know Christ to become Holy and seek more light. To shine that light to others.

By serving, by loving others and being obedient to God. Walk by the Spirit (be a spirit with a body instead of the other way). Bear fruit. Cloth yourself in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. forgive one another. Let the peace of Christ rule

it isn’t manage sin or resist sin or tolerate sin, it is put it to death in us. We can be a witness when our words and actions match. Actions speak louder than words, but they both should carry the same message. Let others know we are Christians by our love.

13.3 Romans – Mindset Matters

Robert Redenmeyer once wrote in regard to giving, “There are three kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving and thanksgiving.  Grudge giving says, ‘I have to’; duty giving says, ‘I ought to’; thanksgiving says, ‘I want to.’”

As we looked at the contrasts by those living by the flesh and those living by the spirit Redenmeyer’s words came to mind.  Someone living by the flesh is not excluded from living what others would view as a good life.  They may donate time and money to charitable causes.  They may help those in need.  They may be pillars of the community, servants, judges and others held in high respect and regard.  In the same way, Christians are not those who are perfect, they are simply those who are saved.  To outward appearance we often do not look decidedly different, unfortunately, than others.  We yield to temptations.  Our eyes stray.  The words that come from our mouth do not always bring glory and praise.

But God’s focus and training is not solely on outward appearances it is first and foremost on the mindset.  What is in your heart?  Do you work for My glory or for your own?

Paul teaches us that such a mindset is not native to mankind.  Our flesh desires to serve itself.  But the spirit of God calls us to thanksgiving.  We no longer need to cling to things for hopes of remaining afloat and alive.  We are secure in our salvation and one with God through the presence of the Holy Spirit within us, working and shaping us to a life of holiness.

My Answers:

Those who live according to the flesh, set on desires of the flesh, death, hostile to God, does not submit to God’s law, cannot please God
Those who live in accordance with the Spirit, set on what the Spirit desires, life and peace, submit to God – Belong to Jesus!

It bears fruit for God, We use the gift of the Spirit that is brought to us for God’s glory, focus is on eternity not the worries of this world. It does not mean we are immune, but have a different focal point and direction.

In the realm of the Spirit, Belong to Christ, Spirit gives life because of righteousness, God gives life, Jesus gives life
I am not dead but alive. By an amazing act of our Lord and by His invitation and grace even I am set free and adopted to Him.

13.2 Romans – The New Reality

Paul left us at the end of chapter 7 and with the discussions leading up to it divided.  I do not do what I want to do and do that which I don’t want to do.  I acknowledge and accept Jesus as my master, but my flesh still feels as if I’m churning on the side of sin.  But, I am saved.  I am redeemed by Jesus Christ.  I am not perfect or holy or righteous on my own, but I am also not the one I was before being saved.  So, what now?

And this is where Paul starts chapter 8.  “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  We are free.  We are safe.  If God is for us, who can stand against us?  If God declares us not guilty, who would have greater authority to overrule the verdict?

But, as with most things Paul has written, there is depth in this explanation and that depth tells us a lot about the character of God.  By this I mean, the real God, not the gods that men create or want God to be.

I’m reading a book by Timothy Keller called Hidden Christmas and he explains the reason for the Christmas, which is the reason for a savior to be born, in a way that supports Paul’s depth in our modern world views.  He writes, “Neither the god of moralism nor the god of relativism would have bothered with Christmas.  Moralism is essentially the idea that you can save yourself through your good works. And this makes Christmas unnecessary. Why would God need to become human in order to live and die in our place if we can fulfill the requirements of righteousness ourselves? Relativism is essentially the idea that no one is really “lost,” that everyone should live by their own lights and determine right and wrong for themselves. The “all-accepting god of love” many modern people believe in would never have bothered with the incarnation. Such a god would have found it completely unnecessary.”

As Paul states it, “the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us.”  This comes not by us but by the work of Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, coming in to us and fulfilling the requirement for us that we cannot fulfill. God is just and God is compassionate.

My Answers:

We are saved by faith not works, we are dead to sin and having been made so, through grace and faith we are alive in Christ Jesus, the law is fulfilled and no longer the measure of our righteousness. NOW, there is no condemnation. We are declared righteous not because of our works or adherence to the law but because of the work of Christ and His fulfillment of the law

Free from sin and joyfully indebted to my savior. I’m humbled that the one who by a single word created all there is and that He would want a relationship with me. To seek God not as an advisor by as my savior and Lord.

The Father God sent His own Son to be a sin offering because He is just. The Spirit lives in us and we live in the Spirit not as slaves to our flesh. Christ Jesus is the giver, the one who saves.

The requirement is still present (God is Just), but paid by Jesus through His sacrifice and conquering of death and ascension to heaven. We have righteousness fulfilled through the seal of the Holy Spirit marking that we are in Christ and Christ is in us in Spirit, Word and Power