Friday, July 20, 2007

Walking Through Romans pt 12: Romans 8:18 - 39

Walking Through Romans pt 12: Romans 8:18 - 39

8:18 For I consider that our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us. 8:19 For the creation eagerly waits for the revelation of the sons of God. 8:20 For the creation was subjected to futility – not willingly but because of God who subjected it – in hope 8:21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. 8:23 Not only this, but we ourselves also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 8:24 For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 8:25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with endurance.
8:26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. 8:27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will. 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose, 8:29 because those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified.
8:31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 8:32 Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? 8:33 Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 8:34 Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 8:36 As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 8:37 No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I see that suffering is something that most Americans do not relate to. To many think that the cable TV going down or not having a hot shower in the morning… or running to late for work that you can’t stop for a latte is suffering.

Yet, saying that there is a suffering deeper in the heart of man that many may cover with such things.
Paul’s sufferings were both physical and mental as he was often on the defense of his teachings, and even of his very life as some sought to bring him down in some way even at times subjecting him to stoning.

Some countries the physical sufferings we here cannot fathom… yet in all this, Paul states that “our present sufferings cannot even be compared to the glory that will be revealed to us.” This Glory is Jesus Christ Himself.

Because of man who gave over his dominion of the earth and creation as a whole to Satan, the creation cries out in its own suffering. We often do not think of the creation as suffering yet Paul states: “the whole creation groans and suffers together until now”

What more we too groan in these bodies of decay, and hope for the Resurrection where we will receive new imperishable bodies.

Many place their faith in the idea that we can understand through rationalizing and science proves God’s word. This places God’s word in subjection to the process of science. Science itself is not bad, yet if one uses it to prove God I see something wrong. It is like saying that man is capable of understanding God if he gathers enough info. It is saying that God is not beyond mans finite mind and mental capacities and placing ourselves as equal if not above God.

If one then believes the Bible then as he does research finds once again God’s word to be true, then science in subject to God’s word.

The contrast to all of this though is the understanding that it is Hope we are saved. It is the Hope that in placing our faith in the finished works of Christ Jesus we find salvation. We do not see this at present, or at best may get a fleeting glimpse that passes in a moment. Yet, we who place our hope in Jesus press forward in this hope with endurance until this hope is fulfilled.

Paul goes one that in the same way we press on in endurance by hope we also do not know how to even pray. As one who is so far from perfection we must depend on the Holy Spirit to interpret our own inward groanings. As the Holy Spirit does this He intercedes on our behalf. It seems God has thought of everything doesn’t it?

As we are in Christ Jesus, the Father works His will and purpose and works all things together for our good.

God knowing that there would be those who would be in Christ, also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son. God also by making Jesus the firstborn of the New Creation, now has made a way that we also will be brothers and sisters born into this same New Creation we have in Christ Jesus.

Before we were predestined we were called. In that we either answer “No.” or “Yes”. We must come to the point were we have not where else to go as the disciples stated to Jesus (john 6:68).

I see that many miss this and struggle for years to realize this crucial point, that we are dead in our sins… and as we come to Christ, we place our sins in Christ and our dead in Christ, but alive by His resurrection and given New Life.

As we walk forward in perseverance, we walking in Hope… this Hope is Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13) Yet also in this calling and do His will and good works, we find that we are justified. Justification is not a one shot deal at the Cross… as we are given Grace, Mercy and Love to give away, we also are given Justice to give away.

Our God is for us. Many suffer from bad teaching that tells them that “God hates sinners” and if a person is honest, they know they are sinners. If a person listens long enough to this sort of bad theology, they then begin to not live in victory, but focus on their own fruit. They do not realize that all men are bad trees and thus bear bad fruit. It is God alone who bears Good Fruit as He alone is the Good True. By listening to the lies, they become in bondage to a performance or shame based faith. They fall from grace to works and again if honest enough find they no matter how hard they try, they will always fall short.

That is why it is crucial to understand God’s Love. God is for us. If God justifies a man, who can say God is wrong? No one can condemn you because Jesus sits by the Father and intercede for you. I think Jesus trumps everyone else in this game.

It is this great love for us God has. Nothing can separate us from it. In Christ we are secure and immersed in the greatest love of all.

Never let anyone tell you that God hates you because you sin… It seems that God loves sinners most of all. For He loves them so much that He sent His Son to die in their place. All in hope that we come to trust God in His love for us and find true comfort from our sufferings and even more that we grow into the image of Jesus.


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