Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Eight

Read Romans 8, then read it again. This may be my very favorite chapter in the whole Bible. It is a wealth of gospel truth, and I think I have more highlighted and underlined here than anywhere else.

For those in Christ:

  • There is therefore now no condemnation (Rom 8:1)
  • He has set you free from sin and death (Rom 8:2)
  • You have gone from flesh and death to Spirit, life and peace (Rom 8:6, Rom 8:9)
  • The Spirit gives your mortal body life (Rom 8:11)
  • You are sons of God, adopted by him and can call him "Abba! Father!" (Rom 8:14-15)
  • You are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17)
  • You will suffer with Christ (Rom 8:17)
  • You will be glorified with Christ (through the suffering) (Rom 8:17)
  • You have real hope (Rom 8:24-25)
  • The Spirit helps you in your weakness (Rom 8:26)
  • The Spirit intercedes for you (Rom 8:26-27)
  • God works all things together for [your] good (Rom 8:28)
  • You are and will be predestined, called, justified, and glorified (Rom 8:29-30)
  • God is for you (so who can be against you?) (Rom 8:31)
  • God (who gave his Son for you) will give you all things (Rom 8:32)
  • Jesus Christ is interceding for us (Rom 8:34)
  • You are secure in the love of Christ and God the Father (Rom 8:35, Rom 8:39)
One of the reasons this chapter is so encouraging is the hope it can give to a Christian through any situation. The truth about your life is that despite your suffering (whatever that suffering is), God has compassion toward you, and he's using that trial for your good (and ultimate good in his ultimate plan), to glorify you in Christ. No matter what you are suffering through, the glory to come cannot be compared to that--it is incomparably greater. Hope! Yes, your suffering may feel like an unbearable burden, but the glory revealed to you will be orders of magnitude better than the severity of the current pain. It is an indescribably great hope, and through the work of Christ and the Spirit he gives you, is secured for all time.

No poet can put this into words. They might try, but it will not even be a dim reflection of the bright intensity of glory being described. The Spirit's groaning is inside you, and here is why a poet can never express the depth of the hope and the truth: it's too deep for words. It's a poem from God resonating in his creation, too marvelous for words.

How real is this to you? Do you really believe this, or do you think it's a nice story...for some people? Can you find joy in suffering because you know of the future good, the future glorification, or do you think you can't survive? Remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus Christ is the start of your hope, the Spirit sustains it in you , and the promise of future glory propels you into eternity.

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