Welcome to Week 21 of the Higher Hope Church 2018 New Testament Reading Plan! If you haven’t already, go pick up your 5x5x5 Reading Plan and join our private Facebook group for daily interaction and discussion. This week we continued the Book of Romans!
Because we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ. We can glory in our sufferings because through them, they produce perseverance; perseverance produces character; and character produces hope. And this hope comes from the love of God that has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. At just the right time, while we were powerless sinners, God demonstrated His love for us by sending Christ to die for us.
Sin and death through sin entered the world through Adam. However, if death reigned through Adam, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ! (v 17) Adam’s sin resulted in condemnation for all people, but Jesus’ righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. Sin reigned in death, but grace reigns through righteousness.
However, we should not go on sinning so that grace may increase! We have died to sin so we can no longer live in it. Those who were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death, thus we were buried with Him. And, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we can also live a new life. Our old self was crucified with Him so that we are no longer slaves to sin. We are set free from sin. Offer yourself to God as an instrument of righteousness, because we live under grace not the law. The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We died to the law through the body of Christ so that we might belong to Him who was raised from the dead. We are no longer bound to the law that enslaved us. We are now free to serve in the new way of the Spirit. The law is not sinful in itself. It shows us our sin. The commandments intending to bring life actually brought forth death. Apart from the law, sin was dead. Because of the sin living in him, Paul says that what he wants to do, he does not do and what he hates, he does. Paul recognizes that it is the sinful nature living within him. He wants to do good but cannot carry it out. It is only through Jesus Christ that we are saved and delivered from sin and rescued from our bodies which are subject to death. Paul recognizes that his mind, he is a slave to God’s law, but in his sinful nature, a slave to the law of sin.
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. The mind must be set on what the Spirit desires and not on the flesh. Flesh=death. Spirit=life. The Spirit does not make you slaves. It brought about your adoption to sonship. And if we are children, we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. Our present sufferings are nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us. Creation will one day be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into freedom and glory of the children of God. We, too, eagerly wait for redemption from our earthly bodies. But the Spirit helps in our weakness, interceding for us. In all things, God works for the good for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Paul is anguished over his own people – the Israelites – from whom the human ancestry of the Messiah has come. The Israelites pursued the law as the way of righteousness but did not obtain it. They were focused on works and not faith. The Gentiles did not pursue righteousness, but received it anyway because of their faith in Christ. God can have mercy on anyone of His choosing.
Have a great week!