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Romans 8 may be like Psalms 23: bringing great comfort to us in time of great need. Lord we desire your words to come alive in our minds and hearts.
Romans 8 revolves around:
Imagine a deadly virus in the world. Hits your city. After weeks of lockdown and stay home, suddenly the virus is killed! instead of us being killed. How'd we feel?
The disease of sin is far worse than the virus. The effects of sin are far more scary.
We can't wash our hands off it. We can't escape it or help others escape. Infection rate: 100 percent.
The deadly disease of sin separates us from friends and family, internally. This disease sucks out love and joy.
Most terrible of all: the disease prevents us from experiencing God's love and relationship. It's worse than having no ventilators. We're gasping for air (and God) but don't know it.
We spread the disease. We are the cause. Imagine if we were identified as patient number one (who infected everyone else) and exposed to the world? Horrors.
Suddenly, as we stand condemned as patient zero, there is a new declaration.
"So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." 8:1
What are the implications?
1. There is no need to defend myself
There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. No guilt in life, no fear of death, says the song
Romans 8:1 NLT
2. There is freedom
And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death."
There is no action necessary on our part to attain this new verdict.
But this new verdict will lead us to new life.
God's verdict frees us from the disease of sin and death. From the ventilator and death bed, we were raised to life.
Now that we are alive anew, what happens now?
1. We have the Holy Spirit giving us life
We no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. And the Spirit controls our minds leads to life and peace.
Romans 8:4 and 6
Unlike the virus that thwarts us from touch,
everything the Spirit touches gives life.
2. We can pray in the Holy Spirit, guided by Romans 8:11
The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
a. Read slowly twice
b. Name our fears eg fear of death, virus, loved ones getting infected
c. Replace "you" with your name
d. Allow the Spirit to speak to you, leading you to peace and freedom this week.
David Ching's son shows the Spirit's leading: "my dad is in a better place. My life in him is secured."
As families: 1) How does the bad news of our global deadly disease of sin impact the way you think about your life? What is our only hope? (can refer to Heidelberg Catechism Q&A.1 for assistance, those alone can include this is discussion group if desired)
Discussion Groups (could also discuss with family): 2) How does the good news of our being set free from the penalty and power of sin impact the way we think of our isolation during the Movement Control Order and the threat of the coronavirus? How does it impact our struggle against the sin of anxiety, worry, and fear?
Additional Quotes for reflection and consideration:
Q33. What is justification?
Justification is the act of God's free grace by which He pardons all our sins and accepts us as righteous in His sight. He does so only because He counts the righteousness of Christ as ours. Justification is received by faith alone.
Q35. What is sanctification?
Sanctification is the work of God's free grace by which our whole person is made new in the image of God, and we are made more and more able to become dead to sin and alive to righteousness.
In Christ Alone lyrics:
No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.”
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A.1
1. What is thy only comfort in life and in death?
That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me, that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; yea, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready henceforth to live unto Him.