Monday, March 31, 2008

Notes on Romans--Part Twenty Eight

Here is my translation of Chapter 8--

So now there will not be eternal damnation for those who belong to King Jesus for the binding authority of the life giving Spirit has freed you from the power of evil that leads to death, thanks to King Jesus. The Mosaic Law could not save us because of our selfish nature but God has saved us by sending His own son as one of us to take our punishment and by doing so he destroyed the evil within our selfish being in order that the just requirements of the law might be fulfilled for us who no longer follow our selfish nature but instead are led by the Spirit. Those who live according to the selfish nature focus endlessly on rebellion but those who follow the Spirit focus on what pleases the Spirit. If your selfish, rebellious nature controls your mind then death awaits you but if the Holy Spirit controls your mind then there is peace with God and eternal life. You see, the selfish, rebellious nature within us hates God. It refuses to be subject to God, and, in fact, it is not even able to do so. That's why those who are slaves to this nature can never please God.

But you are not controlled by this rebellious nature but instead are controlled by the Spirit, that is, if you have the Spirit within you (and remember, that those who do not have the Spirit of our King living in them are not really his). Since we and our King are one, even though your body will die one day, your Spirit will live because you and God were reconciled. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you, so just as He raised our King from the dead, he will grant eternal life to your finite body by this same Spirit living within you.

So, my family, you are under no obligation any longer to do what your selfish, rebellious nature urges you to do and if you keep on following it then you will be condemned to eternal death, but if, thanks to the Holy Spirit, you turn from these urges which produce evil acts, you will live forever. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.

So you should not live like a bunch of wussy servants but instead behave like God's very own children who have been adopted into His family and feel free to call Him "father" or even "daddy." For His Holy Spirit speaks to our innermost being, telling us that we are His children and since we are His children, we will share His riches--for everything God gives to his Son, our King Jesus, He gives to us also, however, remember that if we are privileged to share our King's glory then we are also expected to share in his suffering.

But remember, what we suffer now is nothing compared to the rewards He will give us later. For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future time when God will pull back the curtain and reveal who His true children really are.

You see, against its will, everything on this earth was subjected to God's curse. All creation longs for the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation cries in pain as if it were in labor right up until now, in fact, even we followers of King Jesus that possess the Holy Spirit as a down payment of future honor, also scream in pain to be released from suffering. So, we too anxiously wait for the time when God will publically declare us to be His children and grant us new, eternal bodies just as He has promised. Now that we have been rescued, we eagerly look forward to this freedom. Of course, you don't need to hope for something you already have but we wait patiently yet confidently for that which we don't yet possess.

But during this time of distress, the Holy Spirit helps us. I mean, we don't even really know what we should pray for or even how we should pray but the Holy Spirit prays for us with painful cries that cannot be expressed in words and the Father, who knows all of our innermost thoughts and desires, understands the Spirit for it intercedes on our behalf in accordance with God's will. Moreover, we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His plan for them. For God knew His people in advance and He chose them to be like His son, so that His son would be like the firstborn with many younger siblings, and, having chosen them, He called them to come to Him and He gave them right standing with Himself and He promised them honor.

Man! What can even say about amazing things like these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since God did not spare even His own son but gave Him up for us all, won't God who gave us our King, also give us everything else?

Who then dares to judge those whom God has chosen to be His very own? Will God? HECK NO! He is the one who has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? King Jesus? NO! For he is the one who died for us and then was raised for us and now sits at the place of highest honor next to God, speaking to Him on our behalf!

"Well, Paul, can anything separate us from the love of our King? (Now that he has ascended) does it mean that he no longer loves us if we face trouble or disaster or are persecuted or are hungry or cold or in danger or facing death? (I mean, even the Bible says, "For your sake we are killed every day; we are being ground up like animals at a factory")?" HECK NO! Despite all of these things, overwhelming victory is ours through our King who loves us.

In fact, I am convinced that nothing can separate us from his love. Death can't. Life can't. The Angels can't and the demons can't. The fears that grip us today, our worries about the future and even the powers of hell can't keep God's love from us. No matter where we are, nothing anywhere will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that we see in King Jesus our teacher, deliverer and high priest.