Slaves ~ Proof of Purchase

Slave-shackles-Does-the-Bible-condone-slavery-e1339625637490People who refuse to hear the good news of Christianity, because they don’t see any difference in others who claim to be Christians, are being influenced by them and following in their footsteps. Both are  deceived; both are slaves to their own sin;  both are obeying their own desires and are at enmity with God. These are continuing to purchase death for themselves and leading others in the same path.

As we’re almost half through hearing the preaching of Paul’s letter to the Romans (Romans 6) let us recap the main things.

  1. His purpose for writing the letter ~ to bring obedience of faith through the gospel
  2. The power of the gospel ~ doing its own work in the believer
  3. Righteousness revealed ~ in the gospel and in the believer

We have learned how powerful the gospel is over the power of sin ~ greater than the power in man to sin is the power of God to deliver man from the dominion of sin.

0001c4Paul compares the Christian life to that of a slave. We were slaves to sin; slaves of the flesh to our own desires until Christ redeemed us. He bought us with the price of His own blood. So now we are slaves to righteousness. We agree with this purchase when we repent and turn from sin to Christ and follow Him. Proof of His purchase is a new life ~ eternal life ~ that begins here; sanctifying us; setting us apart from the world; and preparing us for His glory.

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The true Christian is not making excuses so as to continue sinning ~ working for the common wage of death. True faith is new life in the Christian, empowered by the word of God, earned for us by Christ as a gift of His righteousness, and working in us the desire to please Him and serve Him.
Those who claim the blood of Christ have the witness in themselves and in the reality of a life of righteousness. We no longer love the things of the world; but we love the things of God. We present ourselves as slaves of righteousness to God; and to the world as proof of His purchase. We bear the fruit of righteousness in our lives as proof of what He has planted in us.  We shall see in chapter seven the continued battle against sin.

 “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

Dear heavenly Father, thank you for this unspeakable gift, and the unsearchable riches of Christ, to whom we belong, and in whom we are promised to be joint-heirs of your kingdom.  Work in us His righteousness according to the power of your grace.  In Jesus’ name I pray.  Amen.

The Purpose of Paul’s Letter to the Romans

From beginning to the end Paul specifies his
purpose in writing to those who were “called imagesto be saints”  ~  “called of Jesus Christ.”  Only those would read the letter would know his purpose.  Only those who were “loved of God” would understand his words.

In the first chapter: Paul, from God’s work in him, has received “grace and apostleship for obedience of faith.”

In the last chapter: “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ,… according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen  (Romans 16:25-27)

Without anything else these two quotes are a front and back cover, encasing the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ~ its purpose; its work; its glory to God alone.

Martin Luther, a forerunner of the Reformation and a discoverer of the hidden truth of a relationship with God being in “righteousness by faith alone” did not come to his understanding on his own volition, but as Paul, by the “effectual working of His power.”

What does righteousness have to do with faith?  Righteousness, a word ending with the suffix “ness” indicates a condition, or state of being.  No man, since Adam, exists in this state, but, in God’s sight, all exist in a state of “sin and death” ~  “there is none righteous.”  Existing is not the same as living.  All men are  “dead in sin and trespasses” before God, except for the atoning work of Jesus Christ.

This state of righteousness is a condition based on God’s own righteousness as revealed in His Son, Jesus Christ.  We fell from this state, with Adam; but are restored to this state in Jesus Christ.  This new condition that we share with Him is a state of being “righteous.”  And if we share this state with Him we are “right” before God and will do what is “right.” (Hebrews 13:21)  When Jesus said that we must first “seek His kingdom and His righteousness” He did not mean that this would be a natural seeking on our part, but the result of His working in our hearts and lives.

Psalm 1 is as clear as Paul’s writing.  Those who are “blessed” to be called by the Holy Spirit, through the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, will experience the love of God’s law and meditate on it day and night; bearing fruit in its season, and prospering in Him.

imagesObedience of faith is the response and outworking of His own power in the heart and life of the believer. By His own grace He brings us to faith.  It is not a cheap grace, nor a cheap faith ~ one that we conjure up on our own.  It is a powerful faith that draws us to Christ (John 6:44-45) and keeps us always seeking Him.  Faith is the root of the seed of God’s word; obedience is the fruit.

Read Paul’s letter to the Romans with this understanding, and the desire for such a faith that works obedience to the heavenly Father that created us and redeemed us.  And as Paul “beseeches” the believers in Rome ~ by the same “mercies of God” that has saved us ~ we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God  ~  the only reasonable response.  This holy desire for Him to work all that He desires in us is the nature of righteousness and obedience.

Not being “conformed to this world,” but being “transformed by the renewing of our minds” is the desire of all who have found their righteousness in Christ alone, and will prove in us what is the will of God in all that is “good, acceptable and perfect.”  (Romans 12:1-2)

In the middle of Paul’s letter we see the overall purpose of God for us, as believers ~
to be conformed to the image of His Son.  (Romans 8:29) Only He can create; only He can transform what He has created, and make us what He wants us to be.  Let us, with a voracious desire, seek to be all that He has redeemed us to be.  He will by the authority of His Word, and the power of His Spirit make us all that He wants us to be ~ obedient children of faith.

Dear heavenly Father,  attend to the hearts of your children today.  Bring us on your wings of love close to you. Nestle our hearts unto your precious word, that they never be separated from one another.  Show us your ways, teach us your paths, lead us in your truth and teach us; for Thou art the God of our salvation.  On Thee do we wait all the day.  In Jesus name we pray.  Amen

 

Graceful Suffering

Blows that wound cleanse away evil;

strokes make clean the innermost parts.”

Proverbs 20:30 ESV

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggles against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.  And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?”

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.

For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.

“It is for discipline that you have to endure.  God is treating you as sons.  For what son is there whom his father does not discipline. If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.  He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.  For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  Hebrews 12: 5-14

These striking words from the writers of Proverbs and Hebrews are truths that are not easy to accept.  So I post these for my own remembrance, (how often I forget), and to share them with those who may not have undergone such trials, or understand the reasoning, the process and end result of suffering. Looking to Christ,”high and lifted up,” keeps me focused as I travel  this “path of righteousness” through the trials and tribulations of this wilderness.  It is the path that He had to take in order to return to the Father.  It was for our sake that He went this way, and now He leads us by His Spirit and His Word to follow Him—all for His glory and our joy.

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith, produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and comlete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:3-4

May you be strengthened with all power according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience, with joy.”  Colossians 1:11