12:06 AM GMT
Discipleship Study: Romans 8 (part 2)
Made it this far? Well done you! But we’re not done yet: There is more wondrous truth to be found here in the second part! I hope you’ve been for a toilet break, haha…
v17 - “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”
These words are so humbling. In return for sharing in the suffering of Christ through that which we ourselves suffer here on earth, and sharing in the hatred the world threw upon him as we are despised for the stand we take in God, we are made co-heirs with Christ.
Jesus Christ, who hung on a cross just so that we could have eternal life with God, is His Son. Family. By living a life of righteousness, honouring God in all we do, we share an EQUAL portion of glory to Jesus…imagine that; looked after and rewarded on par with the Saviour of all Mankind. People’s decision to deny God continues to baffle me.
v18 - “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”
No explanation needed. I could not agree more with Paul; weigh it up for yourself and see. That friend you’ve fallen out with…the struggles you’re having with family or that persistent health problem that won’t leave you alone…is it worth giving in to it, taking your eyes off of the God who sustains us, and wasting a promise of eternal joy and rejoicing?
I thought not.
v20-21 - “…in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”
This is the closing part of a small section that talks of ‘creation’, but this part sticks out to me the most. How beautiful a day that would be - to see all of creation freed from the chains that bind it, and come into the fullness of God that we, as children of God, already know. May our hearts be well and truly for the lost, friends.
v24-25 - “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.”
Nobody hopes for a Birthday present they already know they will be getting…you don’t hope for wages at the end of your working month, for you are assured of them. The same applies here: Why place your hope in an eternity that God guarantees us as a reward for living faithfully? Instead let our hopes be for the things that are not yet set in stone, that they might be better spent and not wasted on things we know as fact!
v26 - “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.”
We’ve all been there; you’ve set aside time to be in prayer with God, but you just cannot seem to find the words to bring anything forth from your mouth. No worries, friends - God knows the prayers of our hearts even when we cannot recall them, and even noises that form no words can be interpreted by the Spirit on our behalf.
v28 - “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
Lovelovelove this verse. God works for us, you know…some falsely claim that Christians do so much for God and never get anything back, but this puts that myth to rest once and for all. God WORKS for our benefit!
v29-30 - “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”
This wonderful, enriching journey that we undertake, begun by Jesus as the first of ‘many brothers and sisters’ (a warm reminder of our attachment and relation to one another in Christ!), was all planned before we even entered into a relationship with Him. And in predestining this, we were subsequently called, justified, and even glorified in Christ!
v31-32 - “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
If you’re familiar with the song Our God Is Greater, it paraphrases this section perfectly;
“And if our God is for us, then what could ever stop us?”
What, indeed. This is not set as an open-ended question, for us to investigate the possible answers, but as a rhetorical question of defiance against the enemy, to which we already know the answer: NOTHING.
v33-35 - “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”
This is a build-up to one of the greatest passages of scripture I believe we will ever have the joy of encountering. Look at the answers to the opening questions - who will bring charge? “God who justifies”…Who can condemn? None, because of “Christ Jesus who died”…not a mention of any mortal human power in sight…and what about this last question - Who or what shall disconnect us from that perfect the love of God?
v36 - “As it is written:
“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” “
This is the reality of what we endure each and every day as we run the race for God…and when we face that ‘death’ throughout the daily hours, are we ever on our own? …
v37-39 - “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Man alive, what a passage. We are MORE than conquerors. Through Him we are made stronger and mightier than historical rulers who have led ten thousand-strong armies into battle and claimed entire countries for their own.
And, in closing, Paul proclaims that nothing…EVER…will ever be able to separate us from the love of our Heavenly Father…you could spends hours making a list of things you think would cut you off from His loving embrace, and God would come right along and cross every single thing off, saying “you keep trying my child, you’re not gonna find one.”
So there it is, finito!
…in a few weeks I’ll be back to do my next round of study notes…
Romans 1-8 provides guidance, challenges, encouragement, wisdom and clarity, but above all TRUTH - a message of truth that I pray sinks into our hearts, brothers and sisters in Christ, for our own benefit, that we might grow closer to Christ and be developed in our walk with God with each new day of this year and every other! Let the set of 366 fresh days in 2012 be a continuously fresh start for your relationship with God whenever needed.
Thank you for your patience with these posts my dear friends; I know the posts have been long and perhaps far too lengthy a read for you to follow them through to the very end, but I do not apologise :) ….no matter how much nor how little you’ve read I thank you, and praise the Lord for giving me so much to share with you from my heart! I’m always here should you have a prayer request, something to get off your chest, or you just wish to say hello!
Love and New Year blessings to you all!
Your eternal friend and brother in Christ,