Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery leading again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8.14,15
Adoption. Being accepted into a family of which we were not originally a part. We know many families who have adopted children. Years ago, we had a woman who came from Europe to adopt a baby here. She stayed in our home for a month while waiting to get the proceedings finalized. The adoptive mother took care of the baby as if it were her own. Indeed, the child was finally legally made a part of her family. In Romans 8, Paul tells the Roman Christians that there is something we must do. We are under obligation to do it. We must put to death the deeds of the flesh in our bodies to be able to live. On my own, that is impossible. But I can do it with the Spirit of God working in me, changing me. If I am led by God’s Spirit, I am a child of God by adoption. I call him “Father.”
#risingjoy #Romans #adoption
Rising Joy, by Vicki Matheny
Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve what is the will of God – what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. Romans 12.2
There is much dissatisfaction, strife, and unhappiness in the present world. Here in our city alone, we have had several people to commit suicide. One would think that it would affect more adults, but we have had a young man in his early teens that jumped out of a window from the 12th floor. The world is the realm where sin is rampant. Despair and hopelessness abound. Paul tells his readers to not be conformed to this present world. I do not have to give in to the negative. But how do I resist such influence? I resist by renewing my mind through the word of God. God’s will is good, well-pleasing and perfect, complete. The neat thing is that this word can transform my life. It will change my life if I let it. By renewing my mind, I can test and approve what God’s will is. I do not have to guess. I can know. Now that is something worth sharing!
#risingjoy #Romans #renewal
“For I do not do the good I want, but I do the very evil I do not want!”
Paul shows the futility of human struggle against sin in this chapter. Man may intend to do go, but he winds up committing the sin he has rejected.
The final declaration of the chapter ends this exercise in frustration. It is a must read. It leads into the rich victory of chapter 8.
#votd #Romans #gospel
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”
Paul’s question draws attention to the strength of Christ’s love. Nothing can happen that will drive him away. No bad situation can overcome this relationship.
Does our faith drive us to Christ or do we desire new and better circumstances? Our relationship with God defines how we approach the difficulties of life, and not the other way around.
#votd #Romans #love
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all people.”
Paul recognized it is not possible to live peaceably with some people. Not every persecutor will convert to Christ. But we must make every effort on our part.
Christians are peacemakers, like their Lord. They go the extra mile. They know how to bite their tongue. They bless instead of curse. How am I doing in this area?
#votd #Romans #peace
“So the attitude that comes from selfishness is hostile to God. It doesn’t submit to God’s Law, because it can’t.”
Romans 8.7 CEB
The self-serving attitude is diametrically opposed to serving God. The meaning of conversion is to move from one to the other. Serving both is impossible.
Jesus never performed a miracle to serve himself. So he refused to turn a stone into bread. How can I refuse catering to self in order to obey God?
#votd #Romans #selfishness
“To them [the Israelites] belong the patriarchs, and from them, by human descent, came the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever! Amen.”
Listing the advantages of the Israelites, Paul mentions the greatest of all: Jesus was born of them. They had the best position to appreciate and follow him.
The Jews rejected Jesus. Some today seem to forget he was a Jew. They also forget he is God in the flesh. They make him out to be what they want. Do I do the same?
#votd #Romans #Jesus
“For there is no partiality with God.”
For mercy or judgment, God is the same toward all people. He acts according to his holiness. He has no preferred people. He offers no one special privileges.
People tend to prefer some above others. Even some parents are guilty of having favorite children. But to please God, we must believe in Christ and obey the Lord.
#votd #Romans #equality
“But now that you have been freed from sin and have become God’s slaves, the benefit you reap is sanctification, and the result is eternal life.”
Romans 6.22 ISV
Freedom from sin comes through obedience, vv. 17-18. Servitude to God means receiving a life wholly given over to him. The outcome is no temporary benefit but eternal life.
How many of your prayers concern things of this life? How many of your efforts seek earthly benefits? In what ways does your sanctified life manifest itself? Do you glory in being God’s servant?
#votd #Romans #eternal-life
“The Spirit himself bears witness to our spirit that we are God’s children.”
The statement above is part of an argument of Paul’s about our inheritance with Christ. He does not affirm the manner of the Spirit’s witness. But it must be a discernible, objective one, not some inner, subjective one, whether by his Word or by the production of his fruit in a Christian’s life.
We do not want to reduce the Spirit down to only the Bible, as some do. His witness is personal and real. His action continues today. Still, “let’s interpret our experiences by the Bible, and not the Bible by our experiences” (Mark Dunagan).
#votd #Romans #Holy-Spirit
“For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you”.
Paul hoped to visit the Romans in order to, first, bless them by passing on miraculous gifts in their midst, since they apparently had never had an apostle among them.
The desire to be among the saints is prompted in the first place by the desire to bless others, not seek a blessing for oneself.
#votd #Romans #blessing
“So I boast in Christ Jesus about the things that pertain to God.”
Paul’s boasting did not center in his accomplishments, but in what God has wrought in Christ and “what Christ has accomplished” v. 23. Nor did he take credit for the work of others.
Boasting in Christ amounts to praise for what God has done. It requires divesting oneself of all self-importance. It recognizes that all is done “in the power of the Spirit of God” v. 24.
#votd #boasting #Romans
“We are the ones God has called. We don’t come only from the Jews but we also come from the Gentiles.”
Romans 9.24 CEB
God calls people according to his sovereign grace. He has determined that those who respond in faith and obedience will be saved, independently of origin or class.
Paul does not sound arrogant here, but humbly grateful. God’s sovereignty does not deter him from evangelism, but spurs him toward it. God’s call comes through his evangelizing people.
#votd #Romans #calling
Romans 12.1-2 introduces the practical part of Paul’s letter and offers a framework to understand what follows. The last phrase of verse 1 has been variously translated. In 1993, David Peterson published “WORSHIP AND ETHICS IN ROMANS 12” in the Tyndale Bulletin. What follows is a quote from it.
If Paul’s expression is translated ‘spiritual worship’, there is a danger of accenting the inwardness of Christian worship and not taking sufficient account of the fact that we are to yield our bodies to God’s service. There is no doubt from passages such as 1 Corinthians 12:3; Ephesians 2:17-22; Philippians 3:3 that the Holy Spirit facilitates the worship of the new covenant era, but that does not mean that we are compelled to translate λογικὴ λατρεία as ‘spiritual worship’. On the other hand, ‘rational worship’ may only suggest a contrast between the offering of rational beings and the sacrifice of irrational animals. The mind is certainly central to Paul’s perspective here, but the focus is not simply on rationality. The service he calls for is the obedience of faith expressed by those whose minds are being transformed and renewed by God, so that they may no longer be conformed in lifestyle to the values, attitudes and behaviour of ‘this age’ (Rom. 12:2; cf. Col. 3:9-10; Eph. 4:22-4). Consequently, it may be best to read ‘understanding worship’, and to recognise from the context that this means ‘the worship which is consonant with the truth of the gospel’,13 [Cranfield] or the service rendered by those who truly understand the gospel and its implications.
#Romans #quotes #worship #truth
Elsewhere it was observed that the first notes in my new Bible were on Romans 8.28-39. They were mere memory ticklers, since I often preach without notes or with just key words. But they might set off some good thoughts for you, so here they are:
- Action of God, 28.
- Gift of God, 32.
- Justification of God, 32-34.
- Conquering love of God, 35-39.
In the first part of the chapter, the Holy Spirit appears. In the second half, however, God the Father comes to the fore. The little outline above reflects that.