Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Laubach: Romans 8

Tuesday, January 9, 2018
    Epistle of Paul to the Romans, chapter 8
    There is now no sentence of death for those who are in Christ Jesus. The Spirit has its own law, and this law gives me life in Christ Jesus. It sets me free from sin and death. What the law of Moses could not do because our flesh was too weak, God has done. He sent His son in flesh like our sinning flesh. Christ died as a sin-offering for us. In this way, God passed a death sentence upon sin in the flesh. Now we are able to live as the just law requires if we obey the Spirit and do not obey the call of the flesh.
    Those who live for the Spirit keep their minds on the things of the Spirit. Those who live for the flesh keep their minds on the things of the flesh. To keep the mind on the flesh means death. But to keep the mind on the Spirit means life and peace. The mind that is set on the flesh is the enemy of God. It does not and cannot obey the law of God. Those who live for the flesh cannot please God.
    But you do not live for the flesh. You live for the Spirit, if the Spirit of God really lives in you. Any man who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. If Christ lives in you, your bodies are dead because of sin, but your spirits are alive and you love what is right. The Spirit of God Who raised Jesus from the dead lives in you. And God is going to put life into your bodies just as He raised Christ Jesus from the dead. It is His Spirit which lives in you which will be your life.
    So then, brothers, we do not owe a duty to the flesh. We are not to obey the call of the flesh. If you live for the flesh you will die. But if you are led by the Spirit, and put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all those who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. You did not receive the spirit of a slave, to make you fear. But we have received the spirit of a Son of God. That is why we cry, “Father, dear Father.” The Spirit of God is bearing witness with our spirits that we are children of God. If we are God’s children we are also to be God’s heirs. We are fellow-heirs with Christ. If we share His sufferings, we shall also share His glory. I do not consider the sufferings of this present time worth comparing to the glory that is going to be revealed to us.
    Even the created world is waiting with eager desire for the sons of God to appear. Every created thing has been put under the power of death and decay. Nothing wants to die or decay, but God has willed it so. Yet He gave us hope that the created world itself will be set free from decay and death. Then everything in the world will obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God. We know that the whole created world has been groaning in the pains of childbirth until now. Not only the world around us, but we ourselves have been groaning within. We are waiting for God to deliver our bodies from the power of death. We are waiting for Him to adopt us as His sons. This is the hope that saves us. If it had already happened we would not need to hope for it. Who hopes for a thing after he has it? But if we still hope for what we do not yet see, we must be patient while we wait for it.
    The Holy Spirit is a glorious first fruit of what God plans to give us. The Holy Spirit helps us, because we are weak. We do not know how we ought to pray. But the Holy Spirit Himself keeps praying for us with sighs too deep for words. God Who can see into men’s hearts, knows what the Spirit desires. And the Spirit keeps praying for God’s people in the way God wishes. We know that God works with those who love Him to bring good out of everything.
    Those who love Him have been called according to His purpose. He knew them before they were born and He had chosen them to become like His son. Jesus was the first born and those whom God has chosen are His brothers. Those whom God chose He called. He cleared all charges against those whom He called. He gave His own glory to those whose charges He cleared.
    What then can we say if this is true? God is for us, so who can be against us. God did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all. And God will gladly give us all things along with Christ. Who then shall bring any charges against those whom God has chosen? It was God Who cleared their charges, so who dares to condemn them? Christ Jesus died; He was raised from the dead; He is at the right hand of God. And it is He who pleads for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or pain or ill treatment or hunger or need of clothes or danger or death? As it is written:

    “For Thy sake we face death the whole day;
    we are regarded as sheep to be killed.”

Yet in all these things that happen we shall have victory and more than victory by the help of Him Who loved us. I am sure that nothing shall be able to separate us from Christ, in life or in death. Neither angels nor even the princes of the dark spirit world can separate us from Christ. Nothing now and nothing that shall ever come can separate us. No power, no height, no depth, nor anything God has created will be able to separate us from His love which He gave us in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    ... Frank C. Laubach (1884-1970), The Inspired Letters in Clearest English, New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1954, p. 25-27 (see the book)
    See also Rom. 8
Quiet time reflection:
    Thank you, Lord, for Your gift of the Holy Spirit.

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