The desire to be free of bondage…

Romans 8:18-27

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.  For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.  Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.  For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us  with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

The desire to be free of bondage rests in us all.  There are those who try to extricate themselves from bondage, working  in their own strength. From this we get the phrase ‘pull yourself up by your own bootstrap.’  The freedom gained through our own efforts is often temporal.  When we gain freedom from bondage to sin, which is the umbrella term for finding ourselves in bondage to the consequences of acts we commit and those committed by others, we gain freedom that is eternal and it is not gained through our efforts but by the blood of Christ.  When we receive that promise, we receive freedom from sin’s curse and we receive the presence of the Holy Spirit, our spirit joining with Him and quickened to life.  Mankind has wanted freedom since the days of Adam, when we were first enslaved.  We have hope, and Paul clarifies for us that hope indicates we look for something.  We don’t hope for what we already have.  “…hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?  …”  Our faith continues daily from the moment we receive the promise until it is complete.  Where is our heart?  In Him or in our own doing?  True freedom is in Him.

Free to be…

Romans 8:1-17

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus,  who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 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, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.  But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.

 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

It appears that we have a discourse on the differences between life after Christ, that is after accepting the gift of redemption he brings, and life before Christ under law.  What characterizes life before Christ is  a mind-set that is nature based, holds a fear of God and the curse of death,  and demonstrates the failure to live right according to God’s will.  What characterizes life after Christ for the believer, is a mind-set that is now spiritual, the lack of fear as it relates to punishment for sin, and the ability to live right according to God’s will.  So do we live as we want?  Or do we live as the spirit guides us?  We are created body, soul and spirit.  What controls our actions and thoughts?  Body or spirit?  And so once again it is the difference between self will and God’s will.  We have no problem knowing what our will is, we are on a life journey to learn the will of God, who He is and what He does.  His spirit connects with ours as believers and we can place our trust there.

  “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

We are free from the curse of sin and we are free to know and follow the will of God, rather than our own will.  It can be as simple as rising in the morning and asking what do you want me to do of God rather than what do I want to do.

Divided?…

Romans 7:14-25

For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.  For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.  If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.  But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

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

Our natures are imbedded with sin.  Like our DNA which pre-determines our physical appearance and make-up; so our nature is of sinful composition.  We receive the word of God; but then find ourselves at war.  The sinful nature warring against the spiritual nature.  What a place to be!  There is a principle at work here.  What we focus on gains supremacy and drives our being.  When we focus on the things that comprise the natural, the sinful nature is at the forefront of our awareness.  When we focus on the spiritual, the sinful nature must take the back seat.  In Christ, we are set free of this sin-bondage.  In Christ means focused upon Him, covered by Him, aware of our place in Him and what we do is drawn from Him.

Knowing makes the difference…

Romans 7:7-13

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead.  I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Has then what is good become death to me? Certainly not! But sin, that it might appear sin, was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

Essentially the, sin exists whether or not I recognize it.  And without knowledge, I am condemned, yet with knowledge I am condemned but now seek a way to be free of the condemnation.  So the law brought knowledge and a desire to be free of the sin.  But the law was simply a provider of knowledge.  It could not save.  Christ’s blood is the only sacrifice that covers the sin.  Once I realize that, I am free and now I live freed from the curse of death.  And now the question comes – what does my life look like now?  Is there evidence I have acknowledged my sin, my guilt and received my salvation?  Has it made a difference in me?  It should.  I am liberated from the stress of sin.  I am free to love, seek the good of others and for others, evidence all the fruit that comes from this freedom; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.  Now my words are spoken in love and kindness.  Now I am free to not take offense.  Now I have confidence in who I am, not in myself, but in Him, for He is the reason I have this freedom.

Speaking truth to another in love…

Speaking truth to another in love…

Monday, June 18, 2012

6:05 AM

This is often an area that produces a dilemma.  We are aware of something in another that is bringing harm to them and because we love them we want to fix it or make it better.  Scripture is useful for instruction and rebuke.  We are instructed however to act in love at all times.

If I see in another that which is producing harm in them, I can, in love, speak to that condition.  With the fruit of the spirit of love and kindness, I can speak.  If it is received, well and good.  If it is not, I do not take offense or feel the need to make it happen.  I do not possess that ability it is God’s doing.  What I perceive, they must also perceive to make change.  If they do not, that is their loss not mine and I am free of obligation for it never was mine.  Change is of the spirit and it is the work of God.  We are light and salt.  We show the truth, shed light on it.  The light from a lamp illuminates and that is it, no more.  Salt gives back, enhances flavor and preserves from decay.  It must be received and used to have effect.  If not, the lack of change is not the fault of the salt.

Obligation or spirit…

Romans 7:1-6

Or do you not know, brethren (for I speak to those who know the law), that the law has dominion over a man as long as he lives?  For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God. For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Under law, we do whatever we do because we are obligated to.  There is no choosing for the consequences are sure and swift.  The only fruit born under that state leads to death.  The law serves to define what is wrong and the focus is on what is wrong.  Can we agree that when God stated not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil or death will be the result, that was not a threat but rather a statement of condition.  A law existed and its consequences were sure.  If we drop the apple from the tree it will fall, the law exists and its consequences are sure.  The only release from the laws that exist is death.  Even a woman bearing a child has given birth to death. This is described by Paul as the before picture.   Before Christ.  There is life outside the law.  That life is in Christ.  We die with Him to the law and its consequences and are given life, as he rose to life, to a new existence that now extends for eternity.  No longer separated from the one who created us.

When we enter into that new place, we continue to act but now we live under the direction of the Spirit, not our flesh.  What motivates us is desire, a desire placed there by the Spirit of God.  And the mystery now comes to life!  Now what we do springs from love of justice and right living, and this bears fruit that lives.  “so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.”

Take away: what we do;  is it done from obligation or from desire?  Are we driven by a law that states we must or from a spirit in tune with God that functions in the freedom to choose to do right? What is our mind-set?  Knowing who we are in Christ motivates us to act in love for what is right.  “serve in the newness of the Spirit

Prayer for the Protection of Religious Liberty

 

O God our Creator,

Through the power and working of your Holy Spirit, you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world, bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty. Give us the strength of mind and heart to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened; give us courage in making our voices heard on behalf of the rights of your Church and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, O heavenly Father, a clear and united voice to all your sons and daughters gathered in your Church in this decisive hour in the history of our nation, so that, with every trial withstood and every danger overcome— for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and all who come after us— this great land will always be “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Amen.

 

reblogged from: http://www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/religious-liberty/fortnight-for-freedom/index.cfm

Who’s your daddy?

Romans 6:15-23

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?  But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.  I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Who do we obey?  Self? God? Two roads to travel in life from which to choose. Which road have we chosen?

 “…to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey,...”

Do we begin each day asking; What shall I do today?  Or do we begin with: This is the day the Lord has made, I shall rejoice and be glad in it.  What can I do for you today, Lord?

 “…you were slaves of sin, …  you became slaves of righteousness….”

It is a mind-set and the manner in which we approach life that has changed when we decide for Christ and a life lived for God and His righteousness.  It is how we present ourselves to Him each day, all day and night.  Who’s our daddy?  Who do we serve?  Self or God?

Paul reminds us that the wages of sin is death.  The gift of God is eternal life.  One a wage for which we work, the other a gift, freely given and freely received.  Both enslave us in the sense we attend to the wishes of the source.  Who is our source?  Who is our Daddy?

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

living…not dying

Romans 6:1-14

What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?  Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,  knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.  For he who has died has been freed from sin.  Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him.  For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.  For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

 How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Sin died. How did sin enter our existence?  Through disobedience to God’s will.  He said, “Do not…”  And we did.  Today He continues to say within us, “do not…” and are we listening?  Are we obeying? It is not about a list of do’s and don’ts; it is about knowing Him and living for Him.  We have Christ’s promise that the Holy Spirit is here to bring to remembrance and give understanding.  When we accept Christ, we accept his death and resurrection.  In that we also accept obedience to the will of God.  When we accept Christ, do we return to life as it was before we knew him or do we truly realize what we are accepting?  Fill our minds with Christ and we will not consider life as it was.  How do we do this?  We don’t so much do as be…

When we fall in love with someone, we want to spend time with them.  We are filled up with them.  We want to get to know them better, what they do, how they think, how they act.  Our lives change from the moment we let go of considering ourselves and begin to consider the other.  We learn their ways, thoughts, likes and dislikes.  How do we do this?  Aha!  We spend time with them. We begin doing things differently.  There are things we used to do we don’t do.  Why?  Because they don’t so now we don’t.  There are things we do we didn’t do before.  Why?  Because they do, so now we want to.  We have changed under the influence of our love for another.

So, we spend time with Christ, reading his Word and studying scripture, his ways and his thoughts.  We spend time praying; talking with him, sharing with him, more than ‘gimme, gimme.’  We meditate on what he says, allowing a quiet time inviting the Holy Spirit to visit and teach us as Christ said he would.  Now there are things we used to do but no longer want to.  Why?  Christ doesn’t.  There are things we didn’t do before and now we do.  Again, why?  Christ does.  We want to be like him, with him; we change under his influence.

Take away:  we are dead to sin–not a list of do’s and don’ts but a way of living, thinking and acting.  We have taken on Christ’s life and live there and the difference will be seen in us by those around us.  Fill up on Christ, run with him, whatever we do, do it as unto the Lord.

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

Know Him and know who you are in Him.

Sin no longer reigns…

Romans 5:12-21

Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned—  (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.  And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)

Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more,  so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

one brought sin, One brought redemption.

one disobeyed, One obeyed.

The act of one brought condemnation, the act of One brought pardon.

The consequence of one was death, the consequence of One brought life.

Enter sin through disobedience;

Enter redemption through obedience.

Condemned; pardoned.

Death defeated death: life gave life.

through one man sin entered the world,

through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came

by the one man’s offense many died,

through one Man’s righteous act (…)the gift of righteousness will reign in life

through one man’s offense judgment came

through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came (…) – eternal life .

where sin abounded,

grace abounded much more,

as sin reigned in death,

so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life

Can we say thank you!?