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Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
This next week we begin chapter 8 of Romans in our Thursday study. It’s one of my favorite chapters in the Bible because it speaks of life in the Spirit for the believer. Chapter 8 begins with the declaration that there is “NO CONDEMNATION” for those who are “IN CHRIST.” And it ends with… “NO SEPARATION” from God’s love. What a powerful statement!!!
How often do we relate to God on the basis of what we see or experience in life as opposed to who He actually is and the relationship that we actually have with Him? We can either see life from our perspective… like an unfinished work of art… confused… disjointed… lacking clarity… out of focus…. incomplete…. or we can see life from the perspective of our heavenly Father who sees us as a finished work. The eye of the artist sees the end from the beginning and works until his vision emerges and is complete.
It’s almost as if we look at good things as being blessings from God and bad things as being judgment or condemnation from God. But according to Paul… there is no condemnation and because there is no condemnation… there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love – NOTHING. In the Greek it literally means… NO THING. That means your sin no longer separates you (it’s been settled at the cross), your guilt, your shame, your bad decisions, your good decisions… nothing separates you… nothing condemns you… this is the life of the Spirit that we are called to live. This is REAL LIFE for the believer. This is AUTHENTICITY for the believer. Our view of reality needs to line up with God’s view of reality.
Roxie and I have been listening to a recording of a prophecy that was sung and then spoken over us in 1985. What has been interesting to me is that the Lord has fulfilled His word to us with precision that we could have never understood 25 years ago, but today we see the evidence of His leading. Exact phrases, scriptures quoted, even a sequence of events… all pointing to one reality, one truth… God’s plan has been unfolding all along just as He told us. For me it gives me such a confidence and assurance that regardless of what I see with my own eyes – and even call “real”… really has no bearing on whether or not God will bring His Word to pass in my life. I often say – this circumstance or that situation or even that person has no bearing on my future… because God will unfold the plans He has for my future in my life according to His Word.
Jeremiah prophesies to us… I know the plans I have for you says the Lord… God knows His plans for us. So… even if I don’t understand the plan, even if I don’t see the plan, even if I loose hope in the plan… God knows the plan!!! And it’s a plan to bless us, to give us a future and a hope.
Now I admit… it is hard to see from God’s perspective. It challenges my unbelief. It challenges me to give up what I “see” with my own eyes in order to grasp a hold of the promises of God. It challenges me to give up my unbelief and my own thoughts or opinions of how things are going to unfold in my life and it brings me to the place of TOTAL SURRENDER!!! Lord, I know You’ve promised… now I wait for you to fulfill Your Word in my life. What a place to be!!!
Roxie and I have been in this place for some time… being faithful to the work that He has called us to. Sometimes it’s been so much fun… great fellowship… great friendships… Sometimes it’s been painful and confusing. We’ve invested in folks only to see them move through our lives to other ministries where they are being a blessing. There’s a joy in seeing the fruit of our co-laboring with God. We love seeing people step into the life that God has created them to live. But if I’m honest, I do miss my fellow travelers – especially those who have moved on to other places. Like Paul wrote… Paul planted, Apollos watered and God gave the increase. Some we’ve invested in only to see them fall away from the Lord. That is heart breaking.
I guess the biggest lesson for us has been this… I no longer need to know how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together… I no longer need to know how it’s all going to end up… I can rest in the reality that God will fulfill His Word in my life and whatever He makes of my life is really His part. My part is to simply fall in love with Jesus and serve Him with everything within me and to love those that He places in my life for whatever season we walk together.
I can only do this when I rest in the reality that there is nothing that condemns me… nothing that separates me from God’s love… that He is doing His work through me and all I need to do is simply rest in His love.