Reflection on Romans 6:1-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans 6:1-11

Scripture

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Observation

We cannot live in sin under the excuse that God’s grace ignores it. We were baptised into Christ, into His death and into His resurrection. We have died with Him, and so our sinful nature has died, setting us free from sin.

Therefore we must consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God.

Application

We struggle with sin in any different ways. People all have their own particular weak spot that satan zeroes in to target with temptations.

I cannot withstand temptation on my own will power. It is not in me to be perfect in my own strength. But God has the strength. In fact He has planted that strength in me in the person of the Holy Spirit.

I cannot be perfect. But He can be perfect in me.

We focus on being born again, but Paul says that we must die before we can be born again. Death must come before the resurrection.

In Christ I have died to sin. In Him my old nature was put to death and buried. Now I am alive in God.

This means my old sinful nature no longer has control over me. I have been set free from sin and death.

Of course satan is always there, denying that I am new, whispering lies of the attractiveness of sin, trying to draw me back to the old ways.

Paul says, Consider yourselves dead to sin.” This sin belongs to the old me, the one that is buried. It is no longer a part of who I am.

This is not mind over matter. It is not will power. It is me agreeing with God. The power of the Holy Spirit brings strength to my spirit to stand firm in the new reality in which I now live.

Yes, I will continue to fall. Yes there are some parts of my life that are still stained by sin. By the grace of God the old me is dead and I am free from the power of sin to hold me in bondage.

Prayer

Hallelujah Jesus my Saviour! You are working your perfect will in my new nature. Help me to stand firm in you, considering myself dead to sin and alive in you. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 5:1-8

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+5.1-8

Scripture

Therefore, since we have been made right with God by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.

Observation

We are justified, or made right with God, though faith in Christ. Christ has brought us into this place of grace so we can look forward to sharing God’s glory.

When things go wrong we can rejoice because these things develop our strength of character and our hope in salvation.

Christ chose to die for us while we were still sinners, showing God’s great love for us.

Application

Jesus died on the cross for me. His death was the perfect sacrifice that takes away the sin of the whole world. His death makes me right with God. My sins were many, but He forgives them all.

Some people imagine that if your good deeds outweigh the bad deeds you will be OK. Muslims believe this. The problem is that I can never be sure. What is the standard? How many good deeds of what type do I need to do to make up for that particular sin?

There is no confidence and no peace without Christ.

The crucifixion is an historical fact. Nobody can take that away or deny it. When I doubt my salvation, I just look to the cross and remember that this is how much God loves me.

God is not a distant deity looking to punish every sin. He is a loving Father. I relate to Him as my Father. It is personal. We aren’t working out what I have to do to get into His good books. That is all sorted. I enter into His presence as a beloved son.

So I have peace with God. The barrier of my sin has been broken down and there is noting left to separate me from Him. I don’t have to worry about my salvation. It’s all dealt with in Christ.

Prayer

Lord I thank you for your unfailing love. Thank you for the peace that comes from knowing my sins are forgiven in Christ.

Reflection on Romans 8:6-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8.6-11

Scripture

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

Observation

If we set our mind on the flesh we will die, but if we set our mind on the Spirit we will have life and peace. If our mind is set on the flesh, we will be hostile to God and cannot please Him.

If we are following Jesus, we have the Spirit. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Christ. If the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells in us then the same spirit will give us eternal life also.

Application

What I set my mind on- that is, what I think about, desire or imagine- determines the course of my life.

I can choose to set my mind on the things of God, or I can choose to set my mind on self-centred things.

If I pursue the Lord, His Spirit will give me life through Christ. If I pursue the fleshly things- the things I want- then I will die.

The choice is simple and stark. Choose life or death, Spirit or flesh.

From time to time I hear people complain that church is “boring” or that following Jesus is “not fun.” These statements reveal the heart of the speaker. The person is speaking from flesh, not the Spirit.

I can choose to set my mind on the Spirit or on the flesh

I can also choose the people whose opinions I listen to. I will only let people who have themselves set their minds on the Spirit speak into my life. I ignore the opinions of those who are fleshly.

That is not to suggest that some people are perfectly tuned into God’s will. No, we are all human. I want to be led by people who know the Lord, not by people who do not know Him.

Prayer

Holy Spirit, I thank you for the assurance that you are in me. Help me to bring my mind into agreement with you and to desire only the things that come from you. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 5:1-11

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+5.1-11

Scripture

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.

Observation

We are justified by faith and so we have peace with God through Christ. Even though we suffer we can rejoice because suffering leads to endurance, character and hope. God’s love has been POURED out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.

At the right time, while we were still weak, Christ died for us, the ungodly ones. God’s love is so big that while we were still in our sins Christ died for us.

Application

While we were still weak Christ died to pay for our sins. We were God’s enemies, estranged and living in rebellion. But the Father sent His Son to die for us.

A soldier will lay down his life for his country. A parent will die to save their child. People will risk their lives to save a friend, sometimes even a stranger.

But Jesus died on the cross to reconcile us while we were still at war with Him.

There was no ceasefire or disarmament negotiations. This is a unilateral declaration of love.

We have been fighting our Father, warring against Him. In the middle of the war, He says “Enough!” and then the Son dies.

This is unheard of, unprecedented love. It is as if we were loaded up with an explosive vest to bomb heaven, and He unstraps the vest, pushes us away and takes the full force Himself.

This is our God who loves us so much.

There will be a time for judgement for those who continue to fight after the peace has been declared. But for now it is grace and mercy for all who receive Christ.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the cross. Thank you for loving me even before I knew you. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 5:12-21

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+512-21

Scripture

For just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.

Observation

Sin came into the world through Adam bringing death with it. Death spread to all because all sin. But Adam was a type or fore-runner of Christ,

The free gift of Christ is not like the sin of Adam. Many died because of Adam’s sin, but the grace of Jesus Christ abounds even more surely than the sin. Sin brings condemnation but Christ’s gift brings justification and life.

Law came in and sin multiplied, but where sin abounded grace abounded even more. Sin exercised dominion in death, but grace exercises dominion through justification that leads to eternal life in Christ.

Application

There are parallels between the act of Adam which leads to sin and death, and the act of Jesus Christ who laid down His own life in order to bring justification and eternal life to all.

We share in the sin of Adam because we share his DNA. We are born in sin and destined to die. There is no escape from the law of sin and death.

But Jesus came and cancelled the law of sin and death. He died to set us free from sin. We are justified- that is, made right with God- and therefore we can live forever with God.

The gift of life is available to all who will receive it. We all sin and die, but only those who accept the salvation that comes in Christ will share eternal life.

As John’s gospel says, the light has come into the darkness, but some people prefer the darkness and reject the light. God will not force salvation on anyone.

Eternal life is an awesome promise. We are surrounded by death. As we get older, or as we watch our parents get older, we see the law of death at work close up.

But, hallelujah! death does not win in the end. For those who are followers of Jesus Christ, life has defeated death because righteousness has defeated sin.

Prayer

Thank you Lord for the certainty of eternal life. All because of Jesus’ death on the cross, I know my sins are forgiven and eternal life is mine. Amen.

Reflection on Romans 15:1-13

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+15.1-13

Scripture

Therefore accept each other just as Christ has accepted you so that God will be given glory.

Observation

We who are strong must always be considerate of those who are sensitive to different issues. We must seek to serve them and build them up.

We must accept our fellow believers just as Christ accepted us. Christ came as a servant for the sake of both Jews and Gentiles.

Application

Accept one another as Christ accepted you.

Accepting can be a loaded word. Do I accept everyone who claims to be a christian? How far do I go in “accepting” them?

We are very good at conditional acceptance. “I accept Anglicans, but…” “I accept charismatics, but…”

We may have doctrinal differences or issues over worship styles with some people. We accept them but with an unspoken condition that they aren’t quite as good as we are. Perhaps we see them as the “weaker believer” that Paul talks about in this chapter.

Accept one another just as Christ accepted you.”

When I was saved, Christ accepted me whole-heartedly. No conditions. No “buts”. Total acceptance.

That means I must accept all christians in that unconditional way. No “A-class” and “B-class” people. They are all “A-class” to Jesus.

When people refuse to accept me because I don’t measure up to their standards, I have to accept them anyway. My responsibility is to receive people as they are. If they are not able to see that they have the same responsibility then that does not let me off the hook. The commandment is unconditional.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I thank you for accepting me into your kingdom. I am not perfect, but that does not stop your love. Help me to treat other people in exactly the same way. Show me those whom I overlook or reject and help me to love them with your love. Amen.