Freedom At Last!

Freedom At Last!

Romans 7

   Have you been keeping the theme of this great book in mind as you read and study through Romans?

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” (Romans 1:16–17, NKJV)

The idea of God working salvation in us through His power, to His purpose, releases us from that performance-oriented religion that works only defeat and discouragement in our lives. In chapter 7 of our study we see Paul’s frustration to do what is right according to the Law when his natural tendency is to do what is wrong. Does that sound familiar?

  The laws purpose is to reveal sin not deliver you from it; and in that respect it is good. But if you choose to live by it in order to feel good about yourself or to somehow impress God, you will only share in Paul’s frustration. Your life will become a rollercoaster of emotions in which you will have some success, but mostly defeat.

   For many Christianity has become more about following rules than experiencing His grace. I spoke with a man about his experience growing up in a Christian church. He told me that his idea of Christianity was about what he did right and what he did wrong. “There was no liberty” he said, “only burden”. For fifty years of his life he believed God was angry and disappointed with him, until he understood the hope of the Gospel.

   Martin Luther, the founder of the Lutheran Church, was even more overwhelmed with the idea that God was angry and disappointed with him because of his failures. He would beat himself and even grew bitter with God when nothing he did seemed to deliver him from the guilt and condemnation he felt. But then he read and understood those simple two verses in Romans that told him the Gospel was the power of God for salvation and all he had to do to please God is put his faith in the work of Jesus Christ, who died to save him. He was a man, like Paul, who cried out, “O wretched man that I am, who will rescue me from this body of death? Praise be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.” After this revelation in his life, Martin became one of the great Christian leaders the church has ever known. He, like Paul, began to challenge the religious system of his day that controlled people through guilt, rather than leading them to the Gospel of grace. The result was great revival in which people walked in newness of life. No longer were they bound to their sin and to law, but they were now free in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to live for God and for righteousness. Paul describes his ministry to the church at Corinth in this manner.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:5–6, NKJV)

   Paul’s ministry became one that brought life and liberty, as did the ministries of Martin Luther, John and Charles Wesley, George Whitfield and many other great men and women of faith. For they had given up trying to work for Gods favor and instead surrendered themselves to the one in whom Gods favor rested, Jesus Christ our Lord and our savior, “who never sinned, but became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 cor 5:21)

   Would you say your Christian faith is marked by shame and guilt? If so, ask yourself why? Do you, like Paul, struggle with failure concerning what is right? How did Paul become free from this burden?

   How has your life changed since you embraced the Gospel – Gods work for your salvation?

Romans 8 I Am A Child Of God
A Higher Calling
 

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Friday, 15 December 2017