Google+ 01/10/13 Stop, Drop, and Roll!

Romans 8:1-4

 

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

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.

The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature.

So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have.

And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us,

Who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.   

 

Do you no longer follow your sinful nature?  Sorry, that is a tough first line to a devotion, isn't it?  Unlike many of the books of the Bible, there is very little that we do not know about the book of Romans.  It was written between 56-58 A.D. from Corinth during Paul's third missionary trip.  The Roman church was probably founded by the followers of Peter, and was probably a result of the massive conversions on the day of Pentecost.  We also believe that there were several Pauline converts who had migrated to Rome at the same time.  The church at Rome was made up primarily of Gentiles.  Amongst the people, Greek would have been spoken.  The language of the Roman government would have been Latin.  For this reason, citizens moving to Rome would have had no problem communicating in their new environment.  Because of the harshness of the Roman government, in an attempt to control their society out of fear, people were scared of many things.  The appearance of God and the stories of Jesus only made this worse. To this point, the Roman government had not embraced the followers of Jesus (remember the crucifixion?).  Ladies, if you wonder what your place is in God's work, remember the "helpmate" title.  It was Phoebe that was about to make a trip to Rome, which allowed Paul to send his "letter" to the Roman people.  Phoebe was willing to go as God instructed.  She was the "vehicle" that God used to give God's Word, through Paul's letter, to the Romans.  Pretty important, aye?!  Paul delivers the "knock-out" punch in this Scripture.  First, Paul confirms that there is nothing wrong with the Law.  He did not want people declaring that he was preaching against the Law.  Paul simply stated that the Law didn't go far enough, because of our sinful nature.  Who did Paul blame?  Satan!  No one could argue with that one.  I hear Flip Wilson's old saying here, "The Devil made me do it!"  Paul goes on to tell the Romans that God just did what the Law could not.  God sent His only Son, in our likeness, to end Satan's control over our lives.  God did this by eliminating the need for us to follow our sinful nature.  Yes, God literally set us free from the devil's control!   Finally, Paul tells us that God did this to completely fulfill the Law.  Paul was wise in Christ.  Not even the Romans could argue with this logic!  So eventually, the government that crucified Jesus, became a "Christian" nation.  While a lot of this conversion was just for "show," Constantine did declare that the official religion of the Roman Empire, during his reign, would be Christian.  So today, release yourself from your sinful nature.  I know this is hard to hear, but it is true.  We as human beings are not basically good, which is the false claim of the "health and wealth" gospel.  It is not the message of the Bible.  Our nature is basically sinful.  In the Old Testament, there was nothing we could do about that and we were warned of the wrath of God, which we experienced on several occasions.  In the New Testament, there is "Good News of Great Joy" for all the people.  Jesus died to free you from your sinful nature.  Be careful out there.  If you are experiencing the consuming "fire" of sin, don't keep running.  The "fire" will only get worse.  "Stop, drop, and roll" today, and let Jesus extinguish the "fires of hell" in your life.  Walk away from your sinful nature.  After all, you are the reason Christ died.  Rejoice and be glad in it!