Archive for the ‘Romans’ Category

23
Oct

Romans 12:9-21

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As you consider these words you can recognize that they present attitudes and conduct that is surely not in conformity with those of the world.  As you consider closely, carefully, you can see that in most of them they are actually the opposite of the pattern and attitude of those who conform to the ways of the world.  But I want you to see more than just the contrast between these and the ways of the world.  First of all I want you to recognize that as My servant Paul admonishes the believers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices and to be transformed by the renewing of their mind that he urges them to do this because of the mercy that I have bestowed upon those who truly believe in My Son.  Recognize that when you consider what mercy has been bestowed upon you that you will be motivated to offer yourselves as living sacrifices, and you will desire to have your minds renewed so that you can be transformed, that is changed from the pattern of this world to the pattern of My Kingdom.  I want you to take note that the underlying motivation of your heart, of your life, then becomes the desire to please Me, to do My will.  And this desire is what enables you to follow the pattern and to embrace the attitudes that are presented here in this portion.  It is only when you regard yourself as a living sacrifice, and when you are being transformed by a renewed mind that you can live this way.  As you are challenged by the pressures that come from the old nature and from the world, it is the willingness to please Me above all other considerations that will enable you to do what is so different and so opposite from what the world does.  You see when it declares not to take revenge that the words are added “on the contrary”, and you will be able, willing, even determined and pleased to do what is contrary to what the world does.  The world seeks its reward in the satisfaction of personal interest, in the fulfillment of fleshly desires, of immediate satisfaction.  Those who desire to please Me, as it declares here, are joyful in hope even though what they hope for is not immediately fulfilled.  They are also patient in affliction because as living sacrifices they are willing to suffer what Paul declares in another place is a comparatively light and momentary affliction, in order that what glorifies Me may be accomplished.  And those who live in this way are faithful in prayer because they are truly dependent upon Me and not upon the world, and not upon their own human efforts and natural powers.  If your heart is truly moved by My mercy, the pattern presented here will prove to be the outworking of that motivation.

23
Oct

Romans 8:1-18

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I want you to notice that My servant Paul declares in this portion that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  Everything that flows in blessing, in freedom, in the victorious life flows to you because you are in My Son.  It is your living connection with Him that provides the blessings, the freedom that My servant writes about here.  But I want you to notice that it is not an automatic flow of blessing that results from just believing.  And I want you also to notice that life in My Son does not take place without the necessity of your choice.  So My servant declares that those who set their minds on the things of the flesh experience death, while those who set their mind on the Spirit experience life and peace.  Therefore your choice of what you will set your mind upon is absolutely vital and necessary if you are truly to experience all that is yours in My Son.  The flesh, though it declares here that you are to put it to death, will not by virtue of that disappear and cease to be a problem and a challenge to your life in My Son.  But then by death My servant means that you are to separate yourself from what appeals to the flesh and what satisfies the flesh.  You will find that you must do this not just once, but over and over.  My servant declares that because you have been given the Spirit of My Son you have within you both the prompting and the power of the Spirit to turn away from the mind that focuses on the flesh and from the deeds that will result from such a focus.  But once you have made the choice to do what the Spirit prompts you to do, you will experience the enabling power of My Spirit.  And, as it declares here,  I who raised My Son from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through My Son.  This means that you will as a result not experience separation from My fellowship, which is what is involved in the death that comes from the mind and the deeds of the flesh, but instead you will experience what My servant declares to be life and peace.  And you will recognize how great a difference there is between what the flesh produces and what the Spirit produces.  It is only as you walk in this way of dependence upon the Spirit that you will really know what it is to be a true son to Me.  The Spirit will bear witness to your spirit that this is who you really are.  And you see that My servant recognizes that this choice to walk in the Spirit, to depend upon Him and His enabling power and to receive true life as a result does not mean that you will escape sufferings in this time.  This life is not a fantasy or an ideal that allows your escape from  the reality of what it means to live in a world that is hostile to Me and deeply affected by sin.  But though there is suffering involved, it is not the same quality of suffering experienced by those who choose the mind and the deeds of the flesh and the ways of the world.  For having been joined to My Son whose life is within you, you are joined to Him who suffered in order to carry out My will in a world that is contrary to it.  And so shall it be for you as a true son.  But your suffering accomplishes something truly wonderful.  My servant declared that the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, and that life and peace is sustained even in the midst of suffering.  This is because He dwells within you and you have chosen to embrace His suffering.  You have a joy in knowing that the suffering that you experience in the present time is very small compared with the glory that is going to be yours, and all who trust in My Son, when He appears.  And the more you set your heart upon this hope, the more you will be prompted to choose the mind of the Spirit and to turn away from the mind of the flesh.  And you will find that even in the midst of suffering there is that wonderful sense of peace and that assurance that the life within you is truly enduring, eternal, and glorifying to Me.  

23
Oct

God’s Benefits

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When you first came to Me and put your trust in what I had done for you through My Son, you hardly knew of the benefits that you had received.  You knew that you had received forgiveness for your sins.  You knew that you had received the gift of eternal life.  You knew that you had a relationship with Me that you didn’t have before you believed.  And this truly was also the situation with the believers in Rome to whom My servant Paul writes.  It is also the situation with many more since that time that have come to believe.  But in this portion, these few verses, My servant Paul presents to the believers the wonderful benefits that are the blessings involved in coming to Me through My Son and being justified through Him.  And it is important to know these, for in knowing them you are able to receive the fuller understanding of what you have been given through My Son, for notice that My servant Paul declares that all of these benefits are received through Him.  It is through Him that you are justified through faith.  It is through Him that you have peace with Me.  It is through Him that you have been granted your introduction into the state of grace that enables you to rejoice to the highest degree in the hope of My glory.  It is through Him that you are actually able to rejoice in tribulation, even in the severest of trials, because you know the blessing of what is produced in your life as a result of My purpose being worked out through those trials.  It is through Him, by the blood that He shed for you, that you are sealed against the wrath that I will pour out on the ungodly.  It is through Him that you have received reconciliation to Me and with Me so that you may actually rejoice and boast in Me. And because you have all this, My servant Paul declares that you are saved, not just by the death of My Son but by His life.  For it is His life imparted to you through My Spirit that saves you, not only saves you from the judgment laid up for sinners who reject Me, but saved in the sense of being transformed into the very likeness of My Son, so that all of these benefits are your portion in life, and that about which you can truly always rejoice.  If indeed you understand this, not just with your mind, but with your heart, do you not then have every reason to rejoice, because these benefits that flow from being justified by faith grant you a life beyond comparison.  If you truly know these things in your heart, will they not sustain you and make a great difference, a very great difference in the way that you live?

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