Here is Love: Logic – Romans 8:11

Thinking-Mind_of_Man

What is certain?

This is certain: if you have the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from dead, dwells in you, you have life.

How can we be certain that we have the Spirit of God in us? How can we know? Can we know?

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. 1

Wait, what about now? Is Jesus Christ glorified now? A little while later in John’s Gospel, we read:

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. 2

So how do we get this Spirit? How do I have the Jesus-Christ-raising Spirit of God in me?

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 3

So, if I change my mind about my sin and about sin itself, and turn to God, I will receive this gift of the Holy Spirit. Is it possible that God would say, “No” to me because I have sinned too greatly?

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” 4

Wait a second! What about blaspheming the Holy Spirit? Christ said that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin. (Matthew 12:31-32) Is it possible that I blasphemed the Holy Spirit?

I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 5

You were ignorant of the Holy Spirit. How can you blaspheme someone you do not know? First, you would have to know the Holy Spirit and specifically attack and blaspheme the Holy Spirit. Did you do this? Did you know the Holy Spirit or thought you did?

However, you ask these questions. Do you think these questions come from your intelligence, emotions and will or from God on high?

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 6

Here is logic:

  1. For you to live, you must have the Spirit of God in you.
  2. For you to receive the Spirit of God, all you need to do is turn to God and ask Him.
  3. If you ask Him for His Spirit or in other words, if you go to God, ask for God, you are going to get God.

God, in his infinite power and awesome might, does not possess the ability to deny Himself to those who have turned to Him ask Him for Him. We could call that ‘inability’ to deny Himself to those who would ask for Him. However, instead of inability, the correct term would be love. In other words: Because God is love, God will not and cannot deny Himself to those who turn to Him and ask for Him. You are going to get Him. What else can we say to that? That is love.

Notes:

  1. John 7:37-39
  2. John 13:31
  3. Acts 2:38
  4. Luke 11:9-13
  5. 1 Timothy 1:12-14
  6. Matthew 16:15-17

Here is Love: Our Sin is Death, Our God is Life – Romans 8:10

mr_perfectRomans 8:10 But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

What is righteousness?

Righteousness is when you are constantly, consistently, always perfect. It is continuous thread of how God is able to do everything: love, create, judge, save, redeem, rescue, glorify.

None of us, any human being, born of Adam, is able to claim righteousness as our own. In other words, we cannot stand before the Perfect Judge and declare ourselves “INNOCENT!” when our experiences, actions, decisions, thoughts, ideas, intentions, and those around us would betray our proclamation. Even if the conscience is seared and the mind is willful to forget or downplay our misdeeds, the deeds are still done and death is all around us.

The law of God exposes this brokenness. There was a time when we didn’t need the law. But the law is necessary because of the sin in our lives and the lives around us. This world is jacked up. It is impossible for you to say, “it is not” when you have a gunman walk through an elementary school and gun down school children. In light of that, for you to say, “It is not” is the suppressing of truth and the searing of your own conscience. This alone is sin. This alone is unrighteousness.

Furthermore, the law of God goes beyond what you have done wrong or what you failed to do right but it actually reveals the perfection of God himself. The law exposes those things that are true on our hearts. What if we never knew the law of God? Are we to be judged still? Paul says so in Romans 2 that those without the law still have a conscience and that conscience can speak to what is right and wrong.

In ourselves, in our own might and in our life, we have no way to be righteous before God and yet, God’s very presence demands righteousness. Some would contend,  “I don’t want God so why would I contend to be with him?” This is true. But to say you want nothing to do with God is to agree with his judgment upon you and agree to be apart from him forever. Sin has broken us all. Sin has shattered our lives. God is far above and apart from sin. He alone is the refuge and safe place from the brokenness around us.

Here’s the hope of the Christian: all that is broke will now be fixed. For a moment, if you think that the Christian simply wanted unrestricted gun laws, abortions to be illegal, or a Republican president, then how shallow must our thinking and lives must be. But the Christian hopes in Christ alone because life—eternal life filled with joy and endless pleasures—was the way things should have been.

In other words, you might say to yourself, “Perfection is impossible—Even I started right now, there is no way I can be perfect.” You are right. Furthermore, if you have deluded yourself thinking you can be perfect for the rest of your life, think about this: Then why are you still going to die? Righteousness is perfection not because of a high mark to achieve but it is the bare minimum standard to abide by for life itself. It is not that we have all missed the high mark, as though it is a world record to be beaten, but rather all of us fail to meet the minimum requirement of life:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 1

That is a crushing, despairing truth.

However, the gospel of Christ is not reduced down to what we have done or not done but all because of Christ has done for us. Our failures and sin is surrounded, covered, and washed away by God’s righteous, perfect love:

Romans 3:21-26 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

You might be asking yourself, How do I get this righteousness? I need someone else’s righteousness.

You and I and we need someone else’s righteousness. in order to live. In order to live, we are going to need someone else’s life.

God speaks. He has spoken and it was recorded in the Scriptures.

And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. 2

Believe what God has said and He will give you His own righteousness so that you can be with Him and enjoy Him forever. Enjoy the source of all truth, all good, all satisfaction, all life, all peace, all joy, and all pleasures forever.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 3

The question bares to be asked: Is Christ in you?

If Christ is in you, then you have life. If you have life, then you have God. That is love like none other.

Notes:

  1. Romans 3:23
  2. Genesis 15:6
  3. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Here is Love: Never Alone, Can’t Do It Alone – Romans 8:9

"Winter Loneliness" - Dominique Jost
“Winter Loneliness” – Dominique Jost

Romans 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

In modern times, we tend to talk about mankind’s achievements and possibilities. To the modern mind, humans have achieved so much and therefore, mankind’s possibilities are endless. Likewise, to the individual, we can achieve anything. All we need to do is to work hard enough and get a good education.

Did your mom tell you that? My grandmother certainly did: “You can do anything if you set your mind to it.” We can all becoming the President, lawyers, doctors, or millionaires or whatever we want.

But once we stopped thinking like a child, we quickly realized that we can’t do whatever we “set our minds to”. I could have been in hockey all of my life but that would have not turned me into a NHL player. We have all quickly figured out that individuals have gifts, talents and desires and this coupled with focus and will is what shapes us into what we want for ourselves.

But what about absolute truth? What about knowing who God is or even, if there is a God? What about being saved to God apart from this God? Can we achieve even these things?

Ah, the modern yet broken mind falls tragically short of being able to actually know God. This is where our free wills lack the power to close in on the infinite distance between us and God. This is where the highest IQ or EQ gets you no closer to God than one crippled with a brain injury that left him with the mental capacity of a two year old.

Can we obtain absolute truths? This is where the post-modern starts off right. We can’t. However, they like to throw their hands up and quit trying. Absolute truths are held by God who is the source of all truths. Absolute truths include God, his love, his being, his purpose, and his will. And the only way for you or I or any of the billions upon billions of people who have lived or will ever have lived know the absolute truth of God is if God and God alone reveals Himself to us.

The wise and the foolish.
The strong and the weak.
The rich and the poor.
The black and the white.
Nothing of what you were born into or achieved in this life will obtain God.

However, to his imagebearers.
To the ones he created in the image and likeness of Himself.
To ones who were led astray.
To the ones who were born under His wrath.
To the ones who are far from him—

He sent His Son Jesus Christ to live as we should have lived—by the power of the Holy Spirit—and died, buried and rose from death in our place for our sins. It is the same Spirit that descended from God himself and rested upon Christ is the same exact Spirit that reveals the love and glory of God. It is the same Spirit that opened up your eyes to see God. It is the same Spirit that opened up your ears to hear God. It is the same Spirit that unclouded your mind in order to know God. It is the same Spirit that removed your heart of stone and gave you a new soft heart from God so that you would have new desires and your new desires are for Him.

Apart from God, we cannot get God. I sincerely hope you know that. Not many people do know that or they live their lives in such a way that they can achieve God as though He is some sort of endboss in a video game. God alone has to reveal Himself to you and you cannot possibly dwell on God and want God without God giving His Spirit to you.

Without Him, we are apart from Him. With Him, we get to have Him and enjoy Him forever.

Stop thinking and doing things in order to achieve Him. In order to receive God, all you got to do is ask for Him. If you ask Him for Him, he will always say, “Yes”:

Luke 11:9-10  And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Here is Love: I Cannot Go On Without You – Romans 8:8

disconnectedRomans 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Is this true?

We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
1

as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside;
together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
2

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 3

Would it not be the very definition of love if God would let us decide how to be saved apart from His just wrath? Would it be lovely of the Father that we got to choose which path we got to go to God? That within the brokenness of our minds, in the rottenness of our bodies, and in the death-nay, the non-existence-of our spirits, that we possessed the right amount of goodness in order to choose God and approach God to ask God to save us?

Logically, think about it. If you are trying to get to God, then how can you do that without God? In other words, if the Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, how is that possible if your spirit is dead? Who can the Spirit of God bear witness about when there is nothing to bear witness about in the first place? Furthermore, if we do not have His Spirit, how can we understand the gifts that are given to us by God, namely, His Son, Jesus Christ? If we have no spirit but just the flesh, then we cannot comprehend the Spirit.

There are many spirits of this world. But that’s just it, these spirits are of the world and they do not point back to God. There is one Spirit that is not only of God by God for God but much more, He is God and that is the Holy Spirit.

What hope do we have without the Spirit? Our only hope and the hope of the entire world rests upon whom the Spirit descended from heaven and rested upon and that man is Jesus Christ.

Do you want to speak about love? In the greatest love ever, God sent His begotten Son, Jesus Christ, in order through him the world might be saved. Not might as in mere possibility but might as in “now they will be saved”. For all those who would believe in Christ Jesus and call upon His name, He has been mindful of them, loved them from forever, thought about them, yearned for them, and fell in joyous love with them as He paved a way to the cross so that He could go back to the Father and that the Father would send His Spirit to them who believed in Him.

The Father knew that even if the humans had infinite IQs, they would never be able to figure out how to get to God.

The Spirit knew that all of our good works could not overcome the depths of sin with our hearts and that there would be no way we could commune with God.

The Son knew all of this and being the Only God with the will, love, and power to save, He saved us according to His own mercy and by His great love.

We don’t have a lot of choices for a joy-filled, endless pleasurable life. In fact, there is only one Way and that is Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. It might be the only Way but think about this: it is the sure-fired Way. It is such a rock-solid guarantee that not even the omnipotent God himself can undo the Way because order for God to take away that Way, he would have to undo or remove Himself. Logically, He set it up so that you know there would never be any way of God going back on what He has done. Some would call that genius. Others would call that relief. For the entire world, that is what we call love.

Notes:

  1. Isaiah 64:6
  2. Romans 3:10-12
  3. Romans 3:23

Here is Love: Despite Our Limitations – Romans 8:7

healingthebrokenmindRomans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

What is Paul suggesting here? That the mind that is not renewed by the Spirit of God cannot possibly obey God’s law? So does that mean we are not breaking the law of God and therefore sinless before God?Absolutely, not!

The mind of man is broken. It is cracked. It does not think as well as it can.

At one time, the mind of man could think to its potential. However, when sin entered into the cosmos, everything shifted from eternal life to destiny of death. We know this because all of nature corrodes and dies. We know this because we drop a glass on a harden floor and it shatters into a thousand pieces. We know this because our bodies get older and weaker if we are so fortunate. For some, we are wrecked with sickness and disease. For some, we do not make it out of the mother’s womb alive.

If that is the case for all of nature and mankind, why it would not be so for our minds? Why wouldn’t our minds be just as broken?

Have we sat and thought about our thinking? Do we know how we know things? How do we know things?

For those who know God, how do you know God?

Is it through some sort of intelligence quotient? If so, what is the minimum IQ for knowing God? Already we see the absurdity of asking such a question, as though anyone with such little intelligence cannot possibly know God. But we know that God has taken the “foolish of the world in order to shame the wise.” 1

To that end, by the absurdity of such a question, we can easily dismiss any notion of studying or education in order to become a Christian. As C.S. Lewis so aptly says that “Christianity needs no special education to be a Christian is that Christianity is an education itself. That is why an uneducated believer like Bunyan was able to write a book that has astonished the whole world. 2

For the foolish and the wise, for the not-so-smart and the smart, and for the handicapped and the savant, our salvation rests not in our intelligence (which was given to us by God) but rather, rests in the finished work and person of Jesus Christ by the will of the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit alone.

But we are born with these broken minds, are we not? Some have accepted this and take one step closer to knowing God. There are some who have been blessed with a wealth of intelligence, knowledge, or wisdom might find that truth pill a bit hard to swallow. But if the will can override the wealth that you have been given and swallow the truth, then you might find the poison of pride and arrogance starting to be purged from your soul.

Your understanding of the God’s law will not save you. Your understanding of the Scriptures will not save you.

For if you understood the Scriptures, you would know that they point to the only One who gives life after death:

John 5:39-40  “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.

Our minds, apart from God, cannot think on God. Not rightfully so. The world and its greatest minds have tried to find another path to God either by denying him, saying the lack of proof that he is real, or proclaiming lies and half-truths about Him.

The truth is that there are an infinite number of ways to get to God but every single one of them goes through and suffers His incredible wrath. All paths lead to God’s wrath. But there is one singular way in which that wrath is absorbed by the person walking the and that is God Himself in Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior.

Here is the incredible grace of God: if you accept that to be true, know that to be true, believe that to be true, and have staked your life on that truth, then my beloved, you have been given the Holy Spirit, which has given you the understanding of the gift of God. No studying, no books, no degrees and no amount of education could ever produce faith in God. For it is that the Holy Spirit gave you the ability to understand and now your eyes now see, your ear now hears, and your new heart now loves. 3

What kind of foolishness is that? That is love.

Notes:

  1. 1 Corinthians 1:27
  2. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity. HarperSanFrancisco, 2001. 78.
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Here is Love: Despite Us For Us – Romans 8:5-6

Broken worldRomans 8:5-6 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

What is the flesh?

Is it something inherently evil? Is it that this body cannot do anything right? As it is written:

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 1

No. It is not the fact that the flesh—our bodies, our thoughts, our hearts, our wills—are evil and therefore incapable of doing good. Our bodies were created by God and God himself declared His creation to be good. But it is that our flesh is apart from God and separated from God which makes our bodies incapable of doing good.

But what of the people who do good who have no love, no knowledge, and no faith in Christ? Don’t they do good? Don’t they adopt orphans? Don’t they give to the poor? Christians don’t have exclusive claims to good. No, we don’t but God does. God is good and all things from him are good. God sets the standard of what is good. But that standard, God’s law, is beyond any mere checklist—do these things and you can be with Him. Anybody can do a checklist. But the question is, “Do you want to be with God?  Do you love God? Do you trust God? Do you believe God and take him at his Word?” Those are not mere matters of the flesh but those are the matters of the heart.

Good deeds are messed up in our fallen, broken world. The end result might be good but why do we do things that we do? If I do good in order to do things my way, or to buy into false notion that I am the one in charge, is it still good? The immediate end is good. The orphan is adopted. The homeless are home. The hungry are fed. But all good things come from God and even to those who believe and do not believe he still does good to them. But what about the eternity good?  Let me ask it in another way, “What about the eternity good for you?” You do good things but you despise or at worst, apathetic, towards the source of all good? You give mercy but you don’t want anything to do with the Being who defines mercy? You bestow grace but you ignore the lavisher of amazing grace? You love others but you have separated yourself from the One who is Love?

This is the mind apart from God. This is our bodies apart from God. This is our souls apart from God.

And something inn our minds thinks that we are the source of good, mercy, grace, and love.

My friends that is death. To think of us as the source of these good things is death. That is the mind that is set upon the flesh—the mind that is set upon itself. Here is logic: anything that is the sources for itself will die. Here is reason: anything that has separated itself from the source of life will die. Here is fact: we are separated from God and we are clueless and powerless to connect ourselves back to God.

Yet, here is goodness, here is mercy, and here is grace:
And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. 2

From birth, our minds, our wills, our hearts, our flesh are focused on one destiny: death. We are turned away from God, set ourselves apart from, want nothing to do with God, and do not love God.

But here is love: God’s mind was thinking you long before the human race came into existence. Before the mountains were formed and the formation of the stars in the sky, God thought of you and had his mind made up about you despite what you thought or what you would do.

And here is love: God knew your mind and your heart unto death, and made the decision to step into our lives to give us life and do so abundantly.

And here is love: God’s heart is for the fatherless, the husbandless and the homeless. In absolute truth, if we are without God, we are orphans, widows, and strangers. Yet God, in his sweet mercy, and loving-kindness, comes after us in the darkness, brings light to our dying lives, calls us His own children, brings into the warmth of bosom, and never lets us go forevermore.

Our world fails to live up to the God who is love.  But the God who is love does it all to give us life and has, is, and one day, make all things new and right with Him—including this cosmos, including this world, and including our flesh, our minds, our hearts, and our bodies.

Certainly, that is love.

Notes:

  1. Romans 7:18
  2. Exodus 33:19

Here is Love: No One Else Can Do – Romans 8:3-4

Romans 8:3-4 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

What is the law?

The world wants to look upon the Bible and see how hard it is to be a Christian.  I guess in a way that is fair. Over 600 laws to follow? Yes!  (No, not really.) Some tell you how to worship or not worship. Some tell you what you can’t and can’t do on certain days. Some tell you when you can have sex or with whom you can have sex with. It is really fair to say that each of those laws, for any number of reasons, really grates against any number of cultures for any given period of time. Not only do we have laws of the land, but we have these additional laws that looms over us given to us by some Divine Being that may be real or not real.

But okay, there many, many laws and yet I don’t see any of my Christian neighbors sacrificing bulls or goats or pigeons.  So, there are laws we get to pick and choose? That is rather convenient.

It is convenient but when we know the entire story, we know it is not that convenient.

Let’s rethink the law. What if the law wasn’t a bunch of rules to follow and if you break any one of them, you will suffer consequences. I know, that is quite true on one level. But what if the laws, in this case the laws of our spirituality, true essence, true purpose and true reality, were not just rules but rather a list that pointed back to the God of the universe.

Go back to Genesis 2.

Genesis 2:15-17 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

To the average person, that law is pretty straight forward: don’t eat from that freakin’ tree or you will die.

To the mind of the Spirit, that law serves to point back to the Creator God: eat from that freakin’ tree and you will be separated from the One who is life and who gives life.

That singular law, first given to Adam and then passed on to Eve, was not the glue that kept Mankind connected to God but rather, it was God keeping the connection to Man. Here’s the catch: God is without sin. In other words, God can do without traitorous acts against Him. Logically, that makes sense. You oppose God and God can and does do without your opposition. Furthermore, God cannot tolerate sin. It is affront to His character. It is like eating a piece of sushi that has been left out on the counter for 7 days straight. Would you put that into your body? Absolutely not. Likewise with God, sin has no place in his locale. It is not that he is afraid of it, or it’s too much for him to handle or even he is restricted by its power but for the simple fact, he doesn’t have to deal with it. It is not that God is holy because of sin but rather God is holy despite any ounce of sin left in the universe.

Sin is not natural. Therefore, God will move to (technically speaking, has already) eradicated sin. Long before sin was a part of our world and our lives and long after it is no more, God is still holy.

Sometimes we think that as messed up and jacked up as we are, God should let us be with him despite our condition. But by our very messed up nature, we don’t want any part of God or be with God. Be honest with yourself, unbeliever, do you want to be with God? Do you want to live with him? Do you want everything about him. Or do you want him to change even a little bit even though he is eternally perfect and you are far from? Or do you want any good stuff that he might have for you and then not have anything to do with him later on.

Born human, we all want God to change for our behalf. We all want God to give us good stuff and to leave us alone. But, God, in his amazing love, lavishes his love for us all. We all live in his wonderful grace. We get to go to the countryside and breathe in amazing clean air. We get eat delicious foods. We are entertained to our heart’s delight. We get to fall in love, be loved, and love others. We get enjoy sex! We get to marry whomever we want! We get to have kids or not have kids. We get it all.

All these good things come from God. That is his grace and we live in it. We all do.

Then, God sends his law through one man for the rest of the world to come back to him. The world responds, “This is way too hard!” God knows.

Funny thing is that we can treat the law as a giant checklist and we are still not saved. We are as empty as seashells. We might then rebel against the law and figure out something else to do and indulge in and still come up empty.

God sent the law but the law was never meant to save. Oh, it is holy. It is holy because every single one of those laws keeps pointing back to the God who is holy.

Yet, God saves. God sends someone to perfectly fulfill his own law—not for bragging rights but to live the life we were supposed to live and could not. The law only pointed to God. God sends Himself as His Son in the man Jesus Christ. Christ fulfills the law. Christ points to God. Christ tells the world, “This is the way, the truth, and the life. Come this way in order to get to God.1

In other words, in order for Man to get to God, God has to be the way to God by the way of God through God by God for God alone.

For the grandiose, lofty, weighty thing that is the law of God, it is terribly weak. On its best day, it saved no one. But then again, the law was never meant to save . But something more grandiose, more lofty, more weighty came into our history—that is the glory of Jesus Christ.

And in all of his splendor and majesty, he made himself to be just like the ones he wanted to save.  Not just the human part but everything that comes with humanity—humanity and their sins as well. That was key. Sins have to be removed. Because of the finished work of Christ on the cross, wrath was absorbed, sins were removed, Spirit was poured out, righteousness was made ours, peace was given, adoption was finalized, mercy was renewed, grace abounded, and love flowed freely to his people forever.

Not saved by law. Not saved by a bunch of rules. Not saved in our own power. Not saved by our own efforts. Not saved by our own strength. Saved alone by love—love of the only God who is love. That is love.

Notes:

  1. John 14:6

Here is Love: You Have Been Set Free – Romans 8:2

There are 613 commandments in the Old Testament.

Don’t eat pork. 1

Don’t eat eel. 2

Don’t get tattoos. 3

If you have a slave, there are rules on beating your slave. 4

Women, if it is that “time of the month”, there are rules for that. 5

Don’t marry somebody outside of your faith. 6

Be kind to the immigrant—illegal or otherwise—and treat them as you would your own countryman. 7

You have to sacrifice every day and sometimes twice a day. 8

When (not if) you have to slice the animals’ throat and drain the blood to prevent eating of blood within meat. 9

Do not want your neighbor’s stuff.

Don’t lie.

Don’t steal.

Don’t cheat.

Don’t kill.

Always obey your parents.

Take a day off.

Don’t flippantly use the name of God.

Don’t make images of God for you are the imagebearers of God. 10

Don’t put anything before or above God. 11

As Christians, have we inherited a bunch of archaic rules to follow? Or since, we have evolved so much since the days of the OT (hint: not really), there are only certain laws we have to obey?

What does all of this mean?

All of the law—all of God’s law—that he impressed upon His people and the world, was designed not to break the backs of people. I know, I know, my back is already creaking at the thought of not being able to pork, eel or even certain cuts of beef. No, God’s law pointed out the brokenness of our bodies, our minds, and our hearts. All that brokenness leads to death. All of this leads to our death.

We were born into this. All of us were. And it’s not fair. This life sucks and there is nothing we can do about it. Maybe this life is not so bad but still, bad things happen to us and the people we love. In the end, to us all, we are still die.

So, maybe there is no God. But even that thought is conjured up by the brokenness of our minds and hearts in the futile attempt to suppress the truth in the fact there is One God. 12

That is the law of sin and death.

The wages of our sin and the sin in this world is death. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 13

Is there any hope for us?

There is but it comes in the form of a new law. Something or Someone fulfilled all the laws we couldn’t perfectly obeyed and died the death that was previously destined for us all. That someone is Christ Jesus.

He has come down to fulfill the law to cover our sin. He removed all of our sin—past, present, and future— and chooses not to remember them.

That’s the new law.

That new law is called grace.

Grace is the law of the Spirit of life.

He gives the verdict, “No condemnation” for those who are His people. 14

Now he gives the sentence for who are His people:

For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 15

In the most legal sense, that is gracious and merciful love.

Notes:

  1. Leviticus 11:7
  2. Leviticus 11:9
  3. Leviticus 19:28
  4. Exodus 21:1-27
  5. Leviticus 15:19, Leviticus 18:19
  6. Exodus 34:12-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-4
  7. Leviticus 19:33
  8. Leviticus 3:1-7:38
  9. Leviticus 7:26-27, Leviticus 17:10-12
  10. cf. Genesis 1:27
  11. Exodus 20:1-17
  12. Romans 1:18-23
  13. Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23
  14. Romans 8:1
  15. Romans 8:2

Here is Love: I Tell You This So That Your Joy May Be Full – Romans 8:1

My abusing and the abuse done against me.

My lies that I have told.

The wicked thoughts in my head.

My own foolishness.

My sickness.

The iniquities of my heart.

The lusts that captured me for most of my life.

The amount of pornography I have distributed in my lifetime.

My disobedience.

My distrust.

My blasphemy.

My anger.

The poison from my tongue

My hatred.

My self-righteousness.

My pride.

This what defines me. This is what has tainted my blood as it courses through my veins. This what infects the air around me.

I was destined for death. I was destined to die.

Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. 1

I won’t be perfect. Temptations are still there. Pride is still there.

But Christ is has started the work of making my heart and soul look like his.

His work is perfect. My work is not.

His work will be complete. My work will be finished.

For all of my past, present, and future failures, sins, trespasses, and iniquities, there is no truth so eye-blurring beautiful, so life-giving, so death-destroying, so mercy-renewing, so grace abounding, so love overflowing as the complete, perfect, definite, and absolute truth as this one verse:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2

Done and Amen.

Either this is true or it is not true.

Either it is 100% or it is nothing.

Either this has pressed or moved your heart or it has not.

I don’t know which side that you stand on. However, this may be the first time time you have heard this. This may be the millionth time you have heard it but you are understanding it differently.

Trust in Christ.

Believe in Christ.

If you do, then know it is because His Holy Spirit dwells in you.

Then it won’t be just you trying to justify yourself before God.

At the end of days, you will stand in line before the Judge of judges. You see countless people in front of you giving their own testimony before God on what they have done for God. You notice that there are no other witnesses that can give an account of who  they are before God. One right after the other, Jesus calmly gives the sentence, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.3

There is fear. Yet, you starting to see more and more of His beautiful glory and you can’t wait to see just a little more. That love! That love that was there the moment God saved you. There is that feeling-will-thought-idea-belief-emotion-knowledge-security-peace. The more you see of him, the more you long to see the face of the one who saved you from death to life.

Now, you stand before the throne. You peer into the loveliest eyes you have ever seen. You glance at the face that is beauty like no other.

Your breath is taken. Your heart races. Your only rightful response is to fall to your needs and worship the King of kings and Lord of lords.

In the back of your mind, you think a dreadful thought, “Who will bare witness for me?”

At that precise moment, you hear a gentle, soothing, comforting, loving, merciful, and gracious familiar voice speak tenderly about you to you and yet boldly to the Throne, “This your son, O Father, by the Son as ransomed for Himself!”

The Son stands, with crowns upon his head and robes that are dipped in blood, and turns to look upon the Father with a beaming smile, “What do you say, Father?”

In an awe-struck and fear-trembling moment that shakes the heavens, His voice sonics booms to eternity and vehemently declares, “This is my son in whom I am well-pleased!

The Son of Man runs down from His throne, takes off his robe and covers you with it. He lifts you up, places his nail-pierced hands around your face and you get to peer into his face.

Your soul is completely, finally, perfectly, and definitely satisfied.

He brings you close and holds you. With one final act in this heavenly courtroom, with the Holy Spirit, the angels, the elders, the saints, and the Father looking upon you, Christ Jesus, the Gracious Almighty God justly declares:

NO CONDEMNATION!

Now enter into your sweet reward.

Brothers and sisters, I tell you all these things that you joy may be full!

To the whole world, I tell you all these things because that is love!

Notes:

  1. Romans 7:24-25
  2. Romans 8:1
  3. Matthew 7:23

Influences: The Apex of the Glory of God – Romans 8

All Scripture read.

Every instinct preached.

Every thought taught.

Any book studied.

Every sermon heard.

Every theology revealed.

Every doctrine learned.

Any and all things processed were with Romans 8 in my sight.

I have heard it said, “The Epistle to the Romans is the Himalayas of the Bible and with Romans 8 is the Everest.” Martin Luther calls Romans 8, “the clearest Gospel of them all”.

If I were to memorize any passage of Scripture, it is because I wanted to get to where I can memorize Romans 8.

Any passage memorized now is because I am camped out on the summit that is Romans 8.

Memorized it. Dwelled on it. Read about it. Focused on it. Prayed on it. Prayed using it. Recite it. Practiced preaching it.

I plan to write a multi-part blog series on the entirety of Romans 8 in a few weeks so I won’t expand on it here.

For now, enjoy your view of God’s glory.


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