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Monday, July 12, 2010

Roaming Through Romans (Romans 8:18-39)

Roaming Through Romans (Romans 8:18-39)

As we read through Romans we discover many spiritual truths and treasures, but when we get to the eighth chapter of Romans we hit the Mother lode. Whenever I feel depressed I read that last half of chapter 8 and it always helps. The descriptions there in Romans 8 of the profound love and provision and victory that are ours in Christ are so over the top that I can scarcely take it all in. We humans are so used to scraping by and making do with semi solutions to the troubles we encounter in our sinful world that the confident victorious language in Romans 8 sounds foreign to our ears. Let’s read on and see!

Romans 8:18 reads: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Verse 19 and 21 continue with: “For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God ---because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

We learn here that the whole created universe has suffered the consequences of human sin and has been subjected to corruption. However this process of deterioration is temporary since God promises deliverance. We will be delivered and so will creation. Our suffering will be turned into glory. Since nature (the earth) was cursed because of our sin, it will be emancipated too when we are. Verse 21 says that creation is eagerly waiting for this to happen! What a day that will be!

Romans 8:23 reads: “ ---but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” This verse is saying that just as the first fruits of a harvest are an evidence of a good crop that will be coming, the Holy Spirit in our lives is the evidence-the proof of our adoption into God’s family, and the future redemption of our bodies. We groan now because even though our souls are saved and we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, our bodies are still mortal and subject to pain and death. However we can look forward to having resurrected bodies in the future. “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:53

Romans 8:24-27 continues discussing the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives, His help in our weaknesses and His intercession for us. But when we come to Romans 8:28 we find a mysterious and comforting truth waiting for us. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

We can stand on this amazing promise when we are going through bitter disappointments and hardships and sufferings. Sometimes our lives seem out of control and evil seems to be winning out. Nothing makes sense and God doesn’t seem to hear our cries. This is the time that we need to remember Romans 8:28. God can work everything in our lives together in the long run for good, even the bad things. We need to remember that God is still in control and can take our worst messes and our bitterest disappointments and turn them around to be good, even though we can’t begin to understand how.

More amazing truths follow. Romans 8:29-30 reads: “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called, whom He called, theses He also justified: and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”

I read these verses and believe that they are saying that God had an advance plan. God knew ahead of time who would accept Him, so whom He foreknew He predestined and called to Himself and justified. –and later will glorified. Scripture tells us that it isn’t God’s will that any should perish, but that all should have eternal life. 2 Peter 3:9. God created us in His likeness. God has a will of His own and He gave us humans a will of our own. We are not robots and God doesn’t force us into His kingdom. We have a choice whether to accept the Lord in our lives or whether to reject Him. God foreknows who among us will accept Him and He puts a hedge around those He foreknows will accept Him and keeps them and calls them and justifies them for Himself. His preparation for us has been continuing through the ages. There’s more than meets the eye in this salvation of ours. He’s got us covered!

The next two verses are equally amazing. Romans 8:31-32 read: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? “ These scriptures again shout out the love and acceptance and special privilege that God has poured out on His children. We can scarcely take it in!

Chapter 8 of Romans ends with assurances that we can never be separated from Christ’s love. Romans 8:33-39 reads: Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long: We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.’ Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

God has justified us so no one can accuse us. Christ has died and risen for us so we cannot be condemned. God has us in His Hand. His banner over us is love. Nothing in the universe is outside of God’s control so nothing, including our own selves, can separate us from God’s everlasting love. Didn’t I tell you that the promises and truths found in this eighth chapter of Romans would be over the top?


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