Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NO LONGER SLAVES

LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES - Romans

Read Romans 6

     What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?  Romans 6:1-2 NIV
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     We as believers were once slaves to the sinful nature we inherited from the first man, Adam. The penalty for sin is death, and the price was paid by the one perfect man Jesus, the Son of God. Paul explains that "If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection." (6:5)

     One day we will stand before him rescued from our old sin nature. We have already been rescued from the penalty of sin, and because of this, we should give ourselves to the service of the one who bought us with His blood. "For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin." (6:6)

     Though we will often struggle in this earthly body to resist our sinful nature and submit to God, Paul reminds believers that “since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him…In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." (6:9, 11)
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     Lord, I praise you for the mercy and grace that sent Your Son to the cross for my sin. I thank you also that through your Spirit I have the resources to live a life of victory over my sinful nature.
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     "Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.” (6:12)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

JUST THE RIGHT TIME

LIFE IN CHRIST

Read Romans 4–5

     You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly─ God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.   Romans 5:6, 8 NIV
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     After giving the example of Abraham’s faith in waiting a lifetime for God’s promise of a Savior, Paul tells the believers in Rome that Jesus came “at just the right time.” Certainly God’s time clock is different from ours. Abraham died without seeing the promised Messiah, but he is with Him now as the recipient of eternal life.
     In the fullness of time, God sent His Son into the world to pay for the sins of all who would receive Him, for …where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (5:20b-21)
      Abraham believed God, "being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness." 
     The words "it was credited to him" were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness–for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead"  (4:21-24)
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     Dear Father, I cannot find the words to express the gratitude I have in my heart that you sent Jesus “at just the right time.” I not only have eternal life through the death of Your Son, I have an abundant life today through His life in me.
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     For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10 NIV

JUSTIFIED BY FAITH

LETTERS TO THE CHURCHES - Romans

Read Romans Chapters 2 ─ 3

Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. Romans 3:20 NIV

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     Paul speaks especially to the Jewish believers in these chapters. He teaches them the reality that every human being has sinned in God’s sight. Some are obviously sinners by the wicked deeds they do – but then he goes on to tell them that they too have transgressed God’s laws.
     The only hope for all of mankind is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (3:22-24)
     These new believers needed to be taught that just as they had received Christ by faith, now they needed to live their lives in that same faith. A truly righteous life would not come from observing the law, but by trusting in the Son of God who wrote the law.
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     Thank you Lord, that in spite of my sin, You paid the price on the cross so that I could live an abundant Christian life by faith. Help me to apply this truth to everything I do for my family, in my church and out in the world – that in everything I would trust in You.
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     Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.    Romans 3:27 NIV