Saturday, January 18, 2014

"God's goal for believers: Present and Future"

Day #22:  Daily Bible Reading Plan - January 19th

Scripture Reading:  Romans 7 - 8 ...

"Today" ... it's such a common word, but it carries with it so many amazing things when you look at it from the perspective of God's presence, of His promises, of His work in your life and in the world ... "And we KNOW that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to HIS purpose" (8:28).  And here's the good part:  God TELLS us what His purpose is!!

"For those God foreknew (those He chose in Christ before the foundation of the world - Ephesians 1:4) He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son" (8:29).  All that God is doing TODAY is designed to accomplish His purpose in you and me who believe in His Son.

Chapters 7-8 of Paul's letter to the Romans continues Paul's explanation of the Gospel and its impact on the lives of those who are born again by the Spirit of God and united to Christ by faith.  A key verse in Chapter 7 is verse 6:  "But now, by dying to what once bound us (the power of the written code to condemn us) we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."

The law pronounces judgment on all who do not keep it - perfectly!  But Jesus kept the law perfectly in our place and bore God's wrath against our sin, satisfying God's justice and freeing us from the just condemnation of God's law.  His righteousness is now "credited" (Chapter 4) to our account.  I don't have to try to keep God's law now to avoid condemnation.  I don't have to try to obey because I have to - or else!  I am free - not only from the guilt of the law, but also, by the work of God's Spirit in me, from the POWER of the law and the sinful nature that takes the law and rebels against it.

I now "delight in God's law" (7:21).  In my mind, I WANT to obey God - I really do!!  "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus!" (8:1).  Further, Jesus gave Himself as a "sin offering ... in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met" IN ME ... and IN YOU ... "who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit" (8:3-4).  Oh, amazing grace, how sweet the sound!

Life "in the Spirit" means I can pray, "Abba, Father," and know that I am one of His children and that He is going to finish what He began.  When I get down on myself and feel like I am so far from where I want to be spiritually, in my walk with Christ, I can rest in His love and grace, knowing that NOTHING can separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, my Savior and Lord (8:37-39).

God's plan to have a people who are conformed to the image of His Son will happen - it will take place ... and I am one of God's children, an "heir of God and co-heir with Christ" (8:17).  All of creation awaits the day when this process is completed at the resurrection of the dead.  Until then ... until then, I have TODAY ... this day, to live for my "Abba, Father," to live with Christ as His Spirit lives within me.  I thank Him that I see His power at work in me and I draw near to Him, praying, believing that He will never let me go.

May this hope be yours TODAY ... for "faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not yet see" (Hebrews 11:1).  "TODAY is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24)!

"Heavenly Father, the promises of Your Word and the work of Your Spirit within me cause me to live with hope today as I serve You no longer under the old way of the law, but in the new way of the Spirit, who lives within Me.   THANK YOU for delivering me from my bondage to the sinful nature, for giving me new life in Christ, and for Your promise to MAKE ME LIKE JESUS!!  I am Yours - now and forever.  In Jesus' name, Amen"

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