Read the “1204 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
Good morning. Another week has passed. Black Friday, Small Store Saturday, and Cyber Monday are all behind us. Only twenty more shopping days till Christmas. Did you get all your Christmas shopping done? Good! You had a victory. That’s what today’s blog is about: VICTORY! We already have the victory, but we don’t realize it. When we don’t realize it, we lose.
I was reminded of an Abbott and Costello skit. They go into an illegal gambling establishment to bet on the horses. This was where they may have gotten the idea for off-track betting. Just remember that legal gambling is just as bad as illegal gambling – only someone else gets to keep your money! Costello places the bet, and a voice comes over the radio…
“And they’re off…”
“The race is over…”
That was a comedy, so you already knew that Costello was going to lose. Do you know you already have the victory: you are not a loser? 1Corinthians 15 tells us…
“So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 54-57)
We have the victory! It was given to us by God through our Lord Jesus Christ! Death has no more sting: death cannot hurt us. Death is swallowed up in victory!
How can we know this victory now?
Well, you could… die. And at the rapture of the church, when your corruptible has put on incorruption, and your mortal has put on immortality, your new spiritual body will be with Jesus. That’s victory!
Or (and I prefer this way better) by faith. 1John 5:4 says…
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1John 5:4)
Verse 58 of 1Corinthians 15 tells us the result of this victory through faith…
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” (1Corinthians 15:58)
We will be stedfast and immovable, standing firm in our faith. God said it; that settles it.
We will be unmoveable. Nothing, and nobody in this world, or any situation for that matter should shake and shatter our faith. We have the victory and greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.
And we will be always abounding in the work of the Lord. Soul winning, tithing (supporting our pastor, the church, and it’s ministries), and what ever the Lord has asked us as individuals to do (teach, edify, be a friend), are some of the works we should be abounding in.
And at the end of verse 58 there is victory: “…forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
That’s victory. Keep on going for the Lord.
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with no comments yet.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 92:1 – 4
Read the “1203 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1)
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” (1 Corinthians 13:13)
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44)
“And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.” (1 John 3:23)
“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12 & 13)
The Bible speaks much about love. In our passage today the word “charity” is used, which is the same word that is translated “love” many other places in the Bible. It means to love unconditionally; to have a deep abiding love that goes far beyond mere affection. This is the kind of love that God has for us. It was what He demonstrated (commendeth – Romans 5:12) when He died for us sinners. Why God loves us I do not know, but the Bible tells us He does.
This kind of Bible love spoken of here in our text and some of these other passages as well is something people often claim to have for others, especially in word. In other words, we often say that we love certain individuals or people in general. However, in practicality, I don’t think that we are being entirely truthful. Love is clearly more than just words, and it is even more than just feelings. Love is action. Love can be seen in the things that we do as well as say. In vv 4 – 7 of 1 Corinthians 13 there are listed practical examples of how love is put into action. Let me list them for you here:
suffereth long, (patience)
and is kind;
charity envieth not;
charity vaunteth not itself, (does not boast)
is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, (inappropriately)
seeketh not her own,
is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity,
but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things. (is able to survive anything, unconditional)
There are 15 practical applications of real love in those four verses. Take a good look at each one of them individually. Now ask yourself honestly: “Do these demonstrations of love show up in my love for others? Or am I falling short?” I think we both know the answer to that question. We all fall short, don’t we? I am not trying to make you feel bad, but I am trying to get you to realize how much needs to be done in our lives in order for us to truly represent Christ as His ambassadors. Remember, the Bible is clear that people will only see Jesus in us as we demonstrate love before them and to them. Now, here is the exciting part: You can’t love people in the flesh. It is not something that you can do on your own. You see, God is love; and you can only love people if the Holy Spirit of God is in you and is not being quenched (hindered from working in and through you). We must yield to the indwelling Holy Spirit of God inside of us. We must allow Him to love people through us. We must somehow get ourselves: our feelings, our hurts, our desires, etc. out of the way.
Do you want to love people as Jesus loves people? The world has love, but it is a conditional love. Some people are easy to love, but most people are not. Jesus died for a bunch of unloveable people. We must take our love up another notch if we are truly going to be His disciples.
Posted in Thoughts from 1 Corinthians by Phil Erickson with 3 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Psalm 18:3 & 46
Read the “1202 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.” (1 Corinthians 12:18)
1 Corinthians 12 discusses the spiritual gifts given by God to individual members of the Body of Christ, which are to be used edify and encourage the Body as a whole. Many of the particular gifts discussed here in this chapter were transitional gifts that were prominent in the first century when the Church was very young. This here particular gifts, including healing, tongues, miracles, etc. have ceased since the full canon of Scripture was completed (see 1 Corinthians 13:8). Another list of spiritual gifts is given in Romans 12, which is more applicable to the Body of Christ today (see Romans 12:5 – 8).
Within the context of the body of a local New Testament Church, there are many needs, which God has promised to supply (Philiipians 4:13). Each member of the local body must find the gift (or gifts) that God has given him (or her) and then find the place within the body where that gift (those gifts) can be put to full use, and where they can be beneficial in edifying the body as a whole. Some can teach; others are good administrators; others are quiet encouragers; some have been blessed financially and love to give; still others are handy and build and fix things. Whatever gift(s) you have, you need to fully develop them for the Lord and put them to a good use at the church.
By the way. These gifts are God-given. They are not given to glorify any individual, but to edify the body. Some gifts will be readily seen by others, while some are more behind the scenes; but, all are equally needful. Every member of the body is just as important as another.
Have you found your place within the body? Have you discovered the gift(s) that God has equipped you with? If you have, you need to develop those gift and put them to full use for the cause of the Lord Jesus Christ within the body of your local church.
If you haven’t discovered your spiritual gifts yet, here is a spiritual gifts test that may help you:
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Joshua 1:8
Read the “1201 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)
One of the many problems that Apostle Paul was dealing with in his correspondence with the Church in Corinth was the problem of disputes between the brethren. Apparently, conflicts from within the church body were being brought before the secular courts for resolution. Paul uses some pretty strong language rebuking them for resorting to such measures in order to settle their disagreements, and he even uses a little sarcasm in order to drive his point home. However, we can glean some important principles from this problem at Corinth that will help us in our dealings with fellow believers today.
1. Never sue another believer. Personally, I have never sued anybody, Christian or not; but, I will not go beyond what the text is clearly teaching here. In Corinth, Paul was dealing with individuals from within the same church. Believers need to be very careful when dealing with each other, carefully considering all possible end results of their transactions. When we enter into an agreement with somebody, we seldom think about anything ever going wrong, but often that is not the case. We need to be able to resolve our disputes among ourselves.
2. Be willing to let it go. You may not be able to do this in every case, but if it is at all possible, be willing to forgive (and forget) the damage that was caused you by the offending brother. After all, isn’t that what Jesus did, and is still doing, for us.
3. Follow the procedure outlined in Matthew 18:15 – 17
“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (Matthew 18:15-17)
According to Jesus’ instruction in Matthew, the offended brother should first go to the offending party and try to work out the disagreement between them. If that doesn’t work, then he is to bring in another person or possibly two to help bring about resolution. If this fails, then the dispute is to be brought before the church for a final decision. The church was the last “court of appeals” for any case.
4. Be a peacemaker yourself. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “blessed are the peacemakers”. Every church needs to have a few Sprit-filled, impartial people who could sit down with two disagreeing parties and help them come to a mutual agreement.
As long as there are Christians who possess “a flesh” there are at times going to be disagreements within our churches. God prepares us to deal with these disputes in a Christlike way without airing them out before the unsaved world. I think that point two above is the most important instruction out of the four. There are going to be many times in life where we should be willing to give in and just let God deal with the situation. If it is a financial dispute, understand that all money belongs to God and He is well able to replace whatever amount you lost.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 61:1 – 3
“For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. … But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23-24)
It is amazing to me what the world thinks about preachers and preaching. Those who are faithful to preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are often mocked and scorned, especially by the socially elite and well educated. They portray preachers as ignorant, ill-mannered, and unintelligent. I know, because before I was saved, I had the same opinion of Spirit-filled preachers. Yet, God says that He is going to use the foolishness of preaching to bring people to salvation. The wealthy and proud may not always listen to what we have to say, but oftentimes the common people, who would have also gladly heard Jesus (Mark 12:37), will listen to us.
God does not only use the foolishness of preaching to save people’s souls, He also uses passionate, biblical exhortation to change saved peoples’ lives, strengthen them spiritual, and guide them in the will of God.
“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:2-4)
Passionate preaching of sound Bible doctrine is imperative if we are going to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we should. Support your preacher by attending the services faithfully and listening attentively. Let him know that you agree with him with a nod of your head and even a heavy “Amen”; and insist that he hold nothing back that ought to be said. America is in an mess today because of a lack of preaching. Preach the Word!
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – Deuteronomy 32:4
Read the “1129 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company. But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.” (Romans 15:24-26)
“Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” (James 4:14-16)
Things rarely go according to our plans. It was no different for the Apostle Paul. He had plans t travel to Spain that he thought were going to come to pass, but his plans were changed by God.
The Letter to the Romans was written from Corinth at the end of the third missionary journey. In Romans 15:24 – 26, Paul states that he had plans to stop in Rome on his way to Spain, but first he had to go back to Jerusalem to deliver an offering that he had collected from the saints in Macedonia (Philippi. Thessalonica, and Berea) and Achaia (Corinth, Cenchrea, and Athens). According to the Book of Acts, Paul does go to Jerusalem, but he will be falsely accused and arrested there, and taken into Roman custody. He will end up going to Rome, but not as he originally desires. After two years being confined to the palace prison in Caesarea, he is transferred to Rome in order to appeal his case to Caesar. He remains there for a couple of more years awaiting his trial, and is eventually released. However, there is no Biblical record of him every going to Spain. There are some traditional accounts of him traveling there (and possibly even into Brittain) before his death, but this cannot be proven.
This is not the first time Paul’s plans were changed by God, either. In his second missionary journey, it was his intention to go through Galatia and then northeast into Bythinia, but the Spirit of God wanted him to go west into Greece:
“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.” (Acts 16:6-10)
God has the right to veto or change any plan that we may have. It is good to have dreams about the future, and it is right to pray and plan the road ahead, but don’t be surprised if God radically alters your future. God’s will is so much better than our will anyway. His wisdom is infinite, and he sees what we cannot possibly see. Who knows? Our plans may have led to disaster. We need to trust that God knows what is best. “If the Lord wills” or “The Lord willing” needs to be more than just a trite phrase we spit out on occasion; it needs to be a mindset of cheerful submission to the perfect will of God.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 51
Read the “1128 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” – (Romans 11:25)
My preacher back in Texas used to share an illustration regarding Romans 11:25 that I thought was very profound. He said that he was on the lookout for the last Gentile that would be saved before God takes the Church up to Heaven. Dr. Gray is a tenacious soul winner, and he believes that this verse teaches that there will come a day when the “fulness” of the Gentiles will be complete. He wants to be the one who shares the gospel with that last Gentile.
When Jesus came to this earth, He offered Himself to the Nation of Israel as their Messiah. Though many of the Jewish people received Him (and still do today), the nation rejected Him:
“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” – (John 1:11)
Because Israel rejected their Messiah, God has temporarily refocused His attention on the Gentiles. The good news of salvation – the Gospel – has been flowing freely to the Gentile nations of the world for 2000 years; but it seems to be coming to a close. I believe we are very close to the time when God will pull out of this earth all those that have placed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, via what we call the rapture. Christ is coming soon to take His Bride – the Church – back home to Heaven. Then God will once again turn His attention back on the nation of Israel; and someday Israel, as a nation, “will look upon [Him] whom they have pierced”, and will realize that they were wrong about Him.
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:” – (Romans 11:26)
However, until that time comes, we who are part of the bride are to “occupy”, or stay busy, till He comes. We are to do our best to get the message of Christ to every person on the planet. Someday that last Gentile will be saved, and Jesus will take us home. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Posted in Thoughts from Romans by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.
Read the “1127 Evening and Morning“devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
Good morning. I know it’s early, but the question I want to pose today is this: are you a conqueror, or more than a conqueror? What or who do you think about when you hear the word conqueror? Do you think of Communist leaders like Lenin, or chairman Mao, who murdered people to gain power? Chairman Mao’s policies are credited to the deaths of 77 million people. Do you think of the Fascists like Hitler, who took a massive army and conquered most of Europe, and murdering 6 million Jews in the process? Do you think about the Catholic church which sent out an army of Crusaders to force people to convert over to their form of religion? Do you think about the Muslims who butchered 50,000 Christians in the city of Fez, in Morocco? What about Nero, who dipped Christians in wax, mounted them on a pole, and then set them on fire to light his palace? But we are more than conquerors! We are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ!
1) We are more than conquerors MENTALLY.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)
And God is conforming us to the image of His Son. We can have the mind of Christ. We are more than conquerors!
2) We are more than conquerors PHYSICALLY.
We can do all things as the Bible tells us in Philippians 4:13…
“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)
And we can endure all things…
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits. Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things. Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2Timothy 2:1-10)
We can endure all things: because we are more than conquerors through our Lord Jesus Christ! Think about Stephen who saw heaven opened revealing the Lord standing, and waiting for his arrival in heaven. Think about the multitude of Christians who went to their deaths and onto eternal life because of their love for the Lord Jesus Christ. We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us!
3) And we are more than conquerors SPIRITUALLY.
Romans 8:2 tells us…
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:2)
Read the rest of chapter 8 about the working of the Holy Spirit.
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after 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, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon 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 creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:3-39)
You will come to the same conclusion that in all things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.”
Posted in Devotions by Pastor Ted Stahl with 2 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture song – Psalm 47:1
Read the “1126 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:” (Romans 6:4-8)
Notice the words “are” and “shall” above, and compare them with the word “should.” the first two words indicate something that will happen without our help, and the word “should” indicates something that we can and “should” choose to happen. If we “are” saved, we (our old Adamic flesh) is dead and buried with Christ, and because of that, we “should” no longer live like it is still alive. God is doing a work in us whether we want it, or choose it. Our choice was made when we received the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior. Now. a process has begun, and we will be conformed to the image of Christ, but we can also choose to yield ourselves to that process. The word “yield” is found four times in Romans 6 (twice in v. 13; also in vs. 16, and 19). Since our old man is dead and buried, and since someday the body of death will be completely destroyed, we “should” cooperate with the process and yield ourselves wholly to the will of God.
This is the process of sanctification. Justification is instantaneous and happens when we get saved, but sanctification is a process. Paul, having thoroughly proven his argument (in chapters 3 – 5 of Romans) that justification is purely an act of God’s grace, will now, beginning in chapter five, deal with the next logical objection. If we are under grace and not under the Law, are we free to sin? Since all of our sins are forgiven can we now do whatever we want to do? Has God now changed His attitude toward sin? There are many today who hold the position that grace frees us to live according to the desires of our flesh, and that any attempt to bridle the flesh is a form of legalism. Paul will refute that idea completely in this passage. Though we are free from the penalty of sin in Christ, we are not free to sin. Many churches have completely abandoned preaching against sin. Grace will teach us to live holy and separated lives:
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”(Titus 2:11-12)
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13)
The word “sanctification” does not appear once in Paul’s Letter to the Romans, but here in this chapter, Paul will begin to explain the process of sanctification in the life of a believer. Sanctification means to be “set apart” for God. It has to do with transformation, growth, and fruit-bearing. Verse 22 states:
“But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” (Romans 6:22)
We had absolutely nothing to do with our salvation save believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, but we can take part in our sanctification by yielding to the will of God and being filled with the Spirit of God. Notice the words that indicate personal action on our part in this passage: continue (v. 1); live (vs. 2, 8); walk (v. 4); serve (v. 6); reckon (v. 11); obey (v. 12); yield (v. 13). Being under grace, does not permit us to violate God’s moral principles, but it does free us to live according to the Spirit of the law. There was nothing wrong with God’s law; the problem was with us. God has freed us from the penalty of sin and from the dominion of sin, and now we are free to let the Holy Spirit guide our lives by His grace.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 4 comments.
Listen to this morning’s Scripture Song – 1 Timothy 1:17
Read the “1125 Evening and Morning“ devotion for today, by the late Charles Haddon Spurgeon.
“What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:9-10)
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:” (Romans 3:20-22)
“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” (Romans 3:28)
The Letter to the Romans is an absolutely awesome portion of Scripture. Though it was written to teach the saved about their salvation, it is also the most comprehensive gospel tract available. In this wonderful epistle we learn about doctrine (chapters 1 – 8), dispensation (chapters 9 – 11), and duty (chapters 12 – 16).
Within the doctrine section of the Letter, we see that all men are guilty as fallen sinners before God. From Romans 1:18 all the way through 3:20, Paul exhaustedly proves that every man (and woman): Gentile or Jew, pagan or religious; all are guilty before God. Before a person can be saved, he must come to the brutal realization that he is a depraved and fallen, sinful creature. The truth hurts, but it is the truth. And, because of our sinful condition, we are completely deserving of God’s judgment, which is eternal separation from Him, ultimately in the Lake of Fire.
But, praise be to God, the story does not end there. According to Romans 3:21 and 22, we can receive the righteousness of God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ because of what He did for us on the Cross of Calvary. His death and shed blood on the Cross provide the atonement (redemption, complete cleansing of sin) for all lost sinners who are willing to repent and place their faith in Him.
Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians puts it this way:
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
I am guilty. I am totally deserving of judgment in Hell, but I have been pronounced innocent by God – completely clear of all charges of sin, because of what Jesus did for me. He died in my place. Though in reality, I am guilty, God now sees me as innocent – sinless. Not only did Jesus forgive my sins from the past, He will also not hold me responsible for any future sins. I am completely forgiven of all sins – past, present, and future. In Romans 4, Paul further clarifies this:
“Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” (Romans 4:7-8)
What love, what mercy, what grace. We serve an awesome Saviour! Hallelujah!!
Do you believe that Jesus died for you? Have you placed your faith in Him and Him alone to take you to Heaven? I hope you have. If you have not yet trusted Him and you are concerned about your eternal destiny, click here.
I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s reading in Romans, where we will learn more about our justification in Christ and also explore the process of our sanctification.
Posted in Devotions by Phil Erickson with 1 comment.