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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Back At It

My friend Jerry (to the right) says he needs me to write to keep him encouraged. Jerry - you need to get some more friends!

Well, it is encouraging to know that at least one person is still checking in, so, if for no one else, here are blog entries for you, Jer. (check out Jerry's website: Very gifted comedian!)

For quite a while I have been thinking about Romans 8. As I have read it, begun to memorize it, spent time meditating on it, I'm increasingly impressed with the depth of Paul's words and the potential for significant freedom for those who understand them and live according to them.

I'm going to spend a while slowly walking through the chapter and sharing some of my thoughts. It would be great to hear your thoughts too. Conversations are always more fun than monologues.

To talk about Romans 8, because Paul starts with a "therefore," we have to deal with what the "therefore" is there for. My thoughts:

"So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin." (Romans 7:21-25, NIV)

There is a battle that is going on constantly and it is the battle between the spiritual man, the one who is a slave to the law of God, and the carnal man, who is a slave to the law of sin. Temptation and the challenge of evil are not things that are simply “out there” in the world, they are “right here” in me. That is what makes the struggle of sin so frustrating. I can’t blame others for my disobedience as if I am forced to comply with the temptations of the world. I can only blame the evil that is within me.

When struggling with sin and it overcomes me, I feel the weight of Paul’s words, “What a wretched man I am!” Who has not wallowed in this sentiment who has eaten from the trough of the slop of sin? It seemed like a good thing at the time, didn’t it? That anger outburst – surely they deserved it. That second look – fearfully and wonderfully made, why shouldn’t I? Sharing the juicy tidbit – I just wanted them to be prayed for. The extra piece of dessert – sure hate to see things go to waste. Just one more drink - because it is there.

There is no doubt that there is a battle, is there? The mistake is where we think the battle begins. The battle doesn’t begin from the outside, it begins on the inside. “…waging war against the law of my mind…” The mind is the battlefield for the soul. As a man thinks, so he goes. And the battle lines were drawn up by the presence of sin. It is not unique to one, it is common to all.
The good news is this, God has not left us alone to fight the battle. Jesus is on our side. More than that, he has secured victory. “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but Christ lives in me. And the life I live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loves me and gave his life up for me.” The slavery in my mind to the law of God is more powerful than the slavery in my body to the law of sin. I may want to sin, I may choose to sin, I may set myself up in such a way that I believe I have no other choice than to sin but the Gospel of Jesus Christ tells me I do not have to sin.

The key? Renewing my mind. The truth of Romans 8.


Jerry said...

Yeah DC, that wretched man stuff we can all relate to. What does Paul say later? Something like, I do what I don't want to do etc. We know what to do but sometimes sin seems more powerful than God's grace. Thanks for coming out of the cave. Blesings - JM

Anonymous said...

David, I believe Romans 8:2 contains the two most powerful Spiritual Laws in our Universe.

"For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

Guess which one I think is the most powerful?

Like the law of gravity (The law of sin and death) can try and hold us down. However, God is able to transform us through the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, freeing us to enter into the Kingdom of God: Righteousness and peace and Joy.

For Dan's M&M problem:

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Larry R