Monday, June 5, 2017

Romans 8: Where Do We Go From Here?

For several chapters, Paul has been talking about the distinction between the sinful nature and the spiritual nature.  This discussion reaches its climax in Romans 8 as he looks ahead to see where these differences lead.  One way leads to death, the other to life - and beyond!

"For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live" (vs. 13)

The end result of satisfying the sinful nature is short-lived - only death lies that way.  But God has something else very different in mind for His children who pursue the path of the Spirit.

Not only does the Spirit bring life rather than death - He also brings our adoption as children of God!  "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God" (vs. 16).

And if we are children, then we are also heirs (vs. 17).  And what does our inheritance look like?  Paul describes it as "glory!"  Our glorious freedom comes when our bodies will be liberated from their bondage to decay.  Even now, creation is eagerly awaiting its redemption and groaning through this time of anticipation, which Paul likens to labor pains.

Another blessing that comes along the spiritual path is the prayerful intercession of the Spirit Himself on our behalf.  "The Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

There is, according to Paul, a whole chain of blessings that come from our relationship with God.  He explains it this way: Foreknowledge leads to predestination which produces calling resulting in justification and ultimately glorification. (vs. 29).  (As an old Arminian, I am delighted to see foreknowledge at the start of this train, running even ahead of predestination!)  Paul's point in laying this spiritual map out for us is that God is always at work in the lives of His people ("those who love Him") for their good.

At this point, Paul is so caught up in a rhapsody of God's grace that he concludes this chapter with an awesome benediction featuring the love of Christ.  When you are down or depressed, read Romans 8:31-39, and you will be reminded that NOTHING IN ALL CREATION will be able to separate you from the love of God for you in Christ Jesus!

If God is for you, who can be against you?

Nobody, that's who!

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