Monday, April 7, 2008

Notes on Romans--Part Thirty

In Chapter 8, Paul alludes to his earlier statement that we are all under condemnation thanks to Adam's sin (ch. 5) but reminds us that thanks to our union with Christ we are saved. We are united with Christ not only in his death and resurrection but also with his perfect obedience so that the law has been fulfilled on our behalf (v.4). We have now been set free in this new existence to follow the lead of the Spirit.

Paul assures the Romans (and us) that this union with our King even includes a full share of Jesus' inheritance! We are even able to call upon the powerful, creator of the universe as a son would upon a father, again, thanks to our union with our King (vv.12-16) BUT Paul reminds us that our union with our King does not come without a price--grace is free but it ain't cheap!

Contrary to the rattlings of Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, etc. we are also called to suffer with our King. Paul quickly reminds us that this suffering is nothing compared to the future glory that awaits us (vv. 18), but it is still a harsh reality that we must live within a fallen world that cries under the affliction of sin like a woman giving birth (and remember that when Paul wrote Romans, women were not given pain killers!).

Paul realizes all too well that it is easy to lose hope while suffering but he assures us that nothing can separate us from the love of our King (v.39) because, as we will outline in detail, those of us who have God's Spirit within us were in fact chosen by God to be His son's loyal subjects even before the creation of the world (vv. 29-30). More on all of that later!