Hey y'all! I hope you're having a good week! I'm excited because our weather is warming up and it's nice and muddy outside!
I just listened to the sermon I missed while we were traveling at the beginning of January. The text was Romans 8:1-4 and I'm so encouraged! I've been struggling with doing these sermon notes lately (I'm sure y'all have noticed) and this sermon actually really encouraged me to make them a priority in my life again.
Studying the Word of God is the most important thing we do. It can be monotonous, or be slow at times, but we are learning about God Himself and that should be very, very exciting to us.
Moving into Chapter 8 of Romans now, there are two main themes: 1) There is no reason for spiritual defeat and 2) there is no reason for despair in rough circumstances. Verses 1-17 deal with the believer's security in Christ despite their troubles with sin and speaks to the fact that we still are in our flesh. Verse 18 opens to a passage that encourages us when we are suffering and maybe feeling like God has left us. It assures us that we are eternally secure.
We don't come to this passage in isolation. Romans 8 is for mature believers who are able to chew their meat. We have to apply the chapter in it's context because we will be going right up to that knife edge of a correct understanding of grace. On our journey to reach the knife edge, we may have tendencies to erroneously conclude some things about the Christian life and we have to be very wary of that. If we were to just totally steer clear of the this kind of study for fear of reaching wrong conclusions, we would never truly understand how precious that knife edge is and how awesome it is, though.
"Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."~ Romans 8:1. What is condemnation? It is when God Himself rightly and justly accuses and sentences you to death. We covered that back in Chapters 2-3 of Romans. Not a bit of God's glory or righteousness is taken away when He condemns us. Condemnation is being eternally sentenced to death. Those who are in Christ are not condemned.
However, we are not immune from the consequences of sin nor are we exempt from the chastening of the Lord. King David lived with the consequences of his sin for the rest of his life because "the sword will never depart from your house because you despised Me..." (2 Samuel 12:10). We are in a state of justification in Christ and the Lord will not bring legal action against us because we are in His Son. It is a common belief that a person can fall in and out of salvation. However, this legal state of justification is not something you can sometimes have and sometimes not.
You've sinned and you feel like you can't draw near to God. But, this verse tells us we do not have condemnation even when we sin. Here's a conclusion our flesh wants to make: If the Bible says God will not judge us for our sin because we are justified, does that mean it's okay that we sin? Gotta remember all we've learned in Romans up to this point-- this does not mean it is acceptable to live under the dominion of sin. Being a Christian isn't just about being on Jesus's side verses Satan's side. No, it's about being in Christ. Living in unity with Him. If you use the fact that you are no longer condemned to justify continuing to sin, you have drawn an erroneous conclusion.
Application here would be that we need to be very, very, very careful that we do not "play God" and judge people based on what we see in their lives. Verse 33 says, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the One who justifies;" Who can separate us from the love of Christ? Not even our own sin. That means someone else's sin can't separate them from God either, if they are in Christ, and that judgement is not up to us. To think graciously towards others, it really helps to understand this knife edge of grace. Plus, when we start to judge whether or not others are Christians, we may start to question ourselves as well. Christians sin, but they are characterized by walking in the Spirit more and more.
Why did God send His Son as an offering for our sin? Why does He not condemn us? We would expect the answer in verse 4 would be because we are justified. Instead, grace. We have been made free so that we may walk according to the Spirit. Verse 2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death." This "law" is the same word you'd use for like, the law of gravity. We've been made free from the controlling power of sin.
If I'm made free from the law, why am I still struggling? Chapter 7 covered that~ our fleeeesh. Verse 3 of chapter 8 tells us how it's done: "For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh." In our place. There are 3 super important doctrines all covered in this verse.
First is the incarnation: God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. Not just in the likeness of flesh, or just in sinful flesh, because those would both not fulfill the law, but in the likeness of sinful flesh, He came.
Second is the doctrine of the atonement. He came on account of my sin. Christ was separated from God so that we wouldn't have to be.
Third is the doctrine of sanctification. He condemned sin in the flesh so that, verse 4, the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled. We are saved so that and because we are being sanctified. We are not just declared sanctified, but by the Spirit's power, we are becoming more more righteous. For His purposes to be fulfilled.
We cannot think that Romans 8 is a higher form of Christianity than the struggling chapter 7 Christian. The reality is that we often experience both at the same time. Our prayer is to be more in chapter 8 than in chapter 7, but we can be assured of our salvation and of His work in us because of all we have learned here. It's not up to us. We have to try to understand this knife edge and with the Spirit, it is possible.
These pictures were taken somewhere in Nebraska in an Arby's after about 6 hours of traveling following church on Sunday when we were on our way out to Colorado back in December. This eShakti dress was comfortable enough to wear while curling up in the car!
I really, really love this dress/jumper. You'll be seeing it some more as I catch up on Sunday outfits. ;) Unfortunately I don't think eShakti has the style any longer, but they have so many other awesome styles. Their spring dresses are to diiiiiiie for. I just ordered a purple one and I can't wait for it to get here!
My striped turtleneck has a story. ;) I bought it years and years ago at Wal-Mart. I had been looking through an American Girl Doll catalog (that tells you just how long ago) and was inspired by one of the doll outfits to find myself a striped long sleeve shirt to wear with dresses. I found this one on the clearance rack and bought it even though it was a little too large for me. It sat in my closet for years, never really being worn because it looked frumpy with skirts and I didn't really have anything to match it. Eventually it made it's way into my sewing pile and after a year or two I realized I could take in the sleeves to make them tighter/more flattering. Although it now fit, it sat in the closet again simply because I had nothing to go with it. It spent some time in the "grubbies" box and was worn to work outside on chilly days. It has a little bit of white paint on one of the sleeves from a workday, barely noticeable. But, when I saw this dress on eShakti, I knew my beloved shirt's day had come to finally be worn for style. :D I guess the moral of the story is, don't give up on those "dream" pieces of clothing: one day their perfect companion will come! ;)
Dress: eShakti: Free w/credit
Shirt: Walmart: $5
Hat: Sears: ??
Boots: SteinMart: $35
Belt: Thrift Store: $2
Earrings: Forever21: $3
I hope y'all have an awesome day! What was your sermon about this week? Have you ever bought a dress from eShakti? (They have a $25 first time customer credit going on right now, BTW)