Earlier this year, we took a journey together through the Old Testament book of Isaiah. Paul, as a learned rabbi and the author of the letter to the church at Rome, quoted regularly from the Prophet. So, let’s take the next few weeks together to look at the New Testament book of Romans.
Romans 8. Here we go!
We concluded the previous chapter discussing our addiction to sin, caused by the Human Condition. Paul swings the door of God’s grace wide open here. Can it be any clearer than this: “If you belong to Christ Jesus, you won’t be punished. The Holy Spirit will give you life that comes from Christ Jesus and will set you free from sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2, CEV).
A new power is in operation! The Spirit clears the air and frees us! Jesus took on the mess of the world… and the mess that is our life. We embrace what the Spirit has done, and is doing, in us. God didn’t tinker around when He came up with the plan to redeem us. He sent Jesus to put sin to death permanently and completely. “God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all.” (Romans 8:3-4, MSG).
It’s been said that we are not merely physical beings with a spirit, but we are spiritual beings inside a physical body. And our spirits are designed to live with God’s Spirit. With His Spirit living in you, even after we die, our bodies will one day be as alive as the Messiah! “Yet God raised Jesus to life! God’s Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit.” (Romans 8:11, CEV).
I love what Paul says next. Since your spirit and God’s Spirit are connected, you are a child of God. You are! “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.” (Romans 8:14, NIV).
Another version makes it super clear: “So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!” (Romans 8:12-14, MSG).
“Get on with your new life, God’s Spirit beckons.”
Then, there is this sweet word picture of God as our Father. But the word used here is the same as the English word “Daddy.” When my children were young, we moved our family around a lot. For about twenty years I climbed the corporate ladder, always maneuvering for a higher-paying, more prestigious position in another company. Several times, I found myself explaining to our two sons and a daughter that we would be off to another city or state. While I tried to spin each move as an exciting adventure, at least one of our children would have the foresight to see the upcoming pain of leaving friends and the routine they enjoyed. I get that.
But God doesn’t need spin. Paul paints this image of a loving, caring parent who reaches down and picks up an eager little boy who is looking to his dad. And with trusting faith, the son knows that Daddy has only the child’s best in mind for the future.
“This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” (Romans 8:15-17, MSG).
We’re going to receive this amazing inheritance! We can trust God to get us through the good times and the times when we face tremendous uncertainties.
Can we be adventurously expectant today?
(c) 2020. Rich Ronald.