Read His Words Before Ours!
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, because the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did. He condemned sin in the flesh by sending his own son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering, in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4)
“Son, do you love Jesus? Have you given Him your whole life?”
“Yes, Mama. You were there when I prayed to Him.”
“Do you see how you have been jumping quickly to make rude comments to your brothers? Do you see how fast you are to throw a punch and then say you were ‘just playing?’”
“Yeah, I do. It’s just…so hard to follow Jesus all the time.”
Yes, it is.
“So then, with my mind I myself am serving the law of God, but with my flesh, the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25)
To surrender our lives once to the Savior of the world for the rescue of our souls is an incredible, necessary act. But to surrender to His Spirit at work within us on the daily, in every moment, is something else entirely.
Herein is the long, grueling, often painful process of sanctification by which our souls, once dead to God and alive to sin, are now being fashioned into the image for which we were always intended: Christ’s.
“… the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
But, oh, the habits of the flesh cling hard and fast to our rhythms of life. Always competing with our desire to follow Jesus is our desire to still love ourselves most and first and best.
“For in my inner self I delight in God’s law, but I see a different law in the parts of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and taking me prisoner to the law of sin in the parts of my body.” (Romans 7:22-23, emphasis mine)
What wretches we are!
And who will rescue us from this ceaseless war within ourselves? (Romans 7:24)
With tears, oh Christ. Only Christ!
Jesus, the only One worthy to sit at the right hand of our Father God. (Ephesians 1:20-21)
Jesus, willing to take our sin and shame upon Himself that we might never bear it again. (1 John 2:2)
Jesus, willing to break us free again and again and again from the ridiculous chains of sin we insist on slinging around ourselves. (Romans 5:21)
Oh Merciful Christ.
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25)
This beautiful Christ, and the freedom He lavishly gives, are the subject of one of the most profoundly significant chapters in all of Scripture, Romans Chapter Eight.
And the benefactors of such magnificent love?
The wretched ones.
We who, having witnessed the atrocities of our own sinful rebellion, have now turned instead to look upon the blood stained, nail-pierced body of the resurrected Jesus. He who, having died the death we deserved, now offers us His life and righteousness. He willingly laid down His life that we might live anew with Him, both in eternity and right now, in the nitty-gritty of everyday choices. Here, we choose either to surrender to His Spirit or lustfully love ourselves.
This great unfolding of the vast love of Christ begins here in the dark places of our souls. For only in knowing, grasping, and insistently gazing upon the ugliness of our sin can we truly be taken aback by the sheer glory of the love of a magnificent God who chose to set His love upon us simply that we might be called His own forever.
Never could we dream of becoming good enough to qualify as “righteous” before the Holy One. No amount of law-keeping, good deeds, kind words, gut-wrenching sacrifices, or generous giving could ever amount to earning even a single drop of God’s mercy.
“All of us have become like something unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like a polluted garment…” (Isaiah 64:6)
Our law-keeping is meaningless for earning right standing before God.
So, what hope have we?
We are utterly without hope.
Our sin demands the death penalty, for we are wholly unrighteous.
We cannot earn goodness, for we have already earned death.
“For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23)
And here, in the inky blackness of hell, eternally separated from a loving God, the Spirit of God whispers, “For what the law could not do since it was weakened by the flesh, God did.” (Romans 8:3)
Like brilliant, white light streaming into a once-darkened dungeon, “God Did” thrills our hearts with blissfully delicious, entirely immovable H O P E.
With perfect Justice, God “condemned sin in the flesh by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as a sin offering in order that the law’s requirement would be fulfilled in us.” (Romans 8:4) He paid for sin with His perfection, forever slaying Death on our behalf, and now extends to us unshackled freedom if we surrender our sin-loving, self-focused selves.
And what will we do with this freedom?
Come alive, Sisters, we will come alive!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!