It Is All About Relationship

Romans 5 is a resounding summary of the gospel.  Those who believe in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ and have faith that His perfect life and His suffering and death are sufficient to save them from their guilt and shame are declared righteous. They are standing in grace; they have peace with God; He favors them freely without their earning it.   They shall conquer sin.  They shall not be destroyed by trouble, sickness, or death.  Their relationship with God makes all the difference!

“But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 5:20-21, KJV).

If this all is true, why not just live joyfully without worrying about sin any longer?  You could do whatever you wish since you have been declared righteous and are on your way to eternal life.  After all, God looks upon you with love in His eyes!

Paul shows this as ridiculous logic.  If we have trusted in Christ, our old life of sin has been buried and we have been raised to a new life focused on our special relationship with God.  Our life no longer consists of fulfilling our own desires or pursuing pleasures, but seeking to please the One who looks upon us with love and gives us strength.

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof…but yield yourselves unto God..for sin shall not have dominion over you:..” (Romans 6:12-14, KJV).

There is no room here for “Second Blessings,” or “Saints,” or two classes of Christians, one “Carnal” while the top class is “Spiritual.”  These are gross misrepresentations of this passage.  Instead, this relationship applies to all people of faith.

Everything changes when you look at yourself in the light of this special relationship with God.  You know you are not perfect…otherwise you have no need for imputed righteousness.  But, you don’t want to do anything that would offend your Father.  You do not desire to keep on sinning nor to be devastated when sin pops up again.

That is why Paul wrote Romans 6.  He wanted to encourage you to live as God’s servant, seeking to please Him by doing what is right.  The result is a life set apart from worldliness and dedicated to God.

“…even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness…you have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life” (Romans 6:19,21, KJV).

An old hymn describes this relationship and this process of sanctification well:

“When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, What a glory He sheds on our way!  While we do His good will, He abides with us still.  And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a burden we bear, Not a sorrow we share, But our toil He doth richly repay; Not a grief or a loss, Not a frown or a cross, But is blest if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove The delights of His love, Until all on the altar we lay; For the favor He shows And the joy He bestows Are for them who will trust and obey.

Then in fellowship sweet We will sit at His feet Or we’ll walk by His side in the way; What He says we will do, where He sends we will go; Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way To be happy in Jesus, But to trust and obey” (John H. Sammis, 1846-1919).

Living in a loving relationship with God is no excuse for sin.

Then why did Paul write Romans 7?

 

 

God Has Love In His Eyes

I was very blessed to have been loved and to love.  John looked at me with love in his eyes for 43 years!  I didn’t do anything to win his love; I didn’t worry about my hair or clothes; I didn’t have to pretend to be something I wasn’t.  That look in his eyes drew me to him and I wanted to please him.  I think about his love now as a picture of the gospel.  God also looked upon me with love in His eyes.

Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome explained why he was not ashamed of the gospel. Who would be ashamed of being loved? He also answered some basic questions about the daily life of Christians. Both explanations were really all about how God shows us His love.

One of his main assertions was that our Lord Jesus Christ gives believers His Spirit plus an experiential knowledge of the Father’s love for them.  Neither of these are merely intellectual acceptance of truth, but are also worked out in our experiences and emotions.   We sense His love for us.  He has looked upon us with eyes full of love.  Paul then inserted his logical conclusion:  Therefore, we triumph amidst our troubles and overcome our sins because His Spirit strengthens us and His love motivates us.

Yet, all of us Christians are of this world, pulled away from these truths by our very natures. So we don’t always live in triumph or even live up to our own standards, much less follow the pattern of Jesus’s life.  Even though we sometimes fall into sin or our problems seem to overcome us, we get up again because we know we are not condemned, and we know that nothing–neither sin nor trouble–can ever separate us from the love of God.  That is a very secure way to live.

One of the best passages for help when you fall down flat is Romans 5-8.  Romans 1-4 spells out the gospel…that we are saved from the settled anger of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  So Romans 5 starts out with a summary,

Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1 KJV).

And then, Paul introduced a new theme which he worked out in detail in Romans 5-8,

By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God (Romans 5:2).

Who wouldn’t want a life grounded in God’s favor and full of hope and joy?

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life (Romans 5:10 KJV)

..they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by One, Jesus Christ (5:17).

Paul summed up the Christian life as a life of grace…unmerited favor from God daily flowing into eternal life (5:21).  It was a resounding climax to his whole argument of the first four chapters of Romans that eternal life and being declared righteous were freely given to those who trusted in Jesus Christ as their only Savior and Lord.

God has looked upon us with love in his eyes!  He has strengthened us.  He has given us exactly what we have needed at precisely the right moment.

Why didn’t Paul just end his letter with that?!   If we are living daily immersed in God’s special favor and love, then why did he write chapters six and seven?  If we don’t answer that question correctly, we will be very confused about the realities of Christian living. Won’t you join me in rereading Romans 5, 6, 7, and 8?   (By Carol: the Senior Citizen)

Gabriella’s thoughts (The Younger One):

God has redeemed us and loves us… without us ever having to earn it!  What would it look like to really live in this knowledge?

We would desire to draw nearer to the one who loves us unconditionally, who has sacrificed for us. Do you really believe the truth of the Gospel? Do you seek to know the one who has already extended you grace for every sin in your past and future?

I imagine our lives— the way we spend our time— would look a lot different if we really embraced the truth of the Gospel.

Can you replace 10 minutes of your day to getting to know the God of the Universe a little bit better? Start there, and watch your life fill with joy the more time you dedicate to knowing your Redeemer.