Part 5: Access to the Father
We Now Stand
The Scriptures teach that if we love the world, we’re enemies of God, and that God opposes the proud and gives grace to the humble. You’ve got to know that there’s a virtual war going on between fallen man and the Living God. There’s this war, yet a way has been made to have peace with the Living God.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Romans 5:1-2a).
When we access Jesus and the Father’s Grace by faith, we have peace with Him. There’s a Grace in which we now stand, and we can face the Creator and go boldly before His Throne of Grace. That’s God’s call for each of us, to be able to stand in that grace. And it’s ours if we approach God, through and only through, a total belief in what Jesus has accomplished. It’s through totally believing that He purchased our sin and bought back the right for us to stand at peace before God, enabling us to have the same relationship with the Father that Adam and Eve had before they sinned. When Adam fell, the right to fellowship with God was taken away. We were totally cut off from any hope of relationship with Him. But then, not only did He redeem and buy us back…but how much more did Jesus restore our ability to have a relationship with God! It’s now possible to have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
“…Through our Lord Jesus Christ…” That’s not just some phrase that’s strewn throughout the New Testament for no reason. It has to actually be our posture before God when we pray—in “Jesus’ Name, Amen.” Just saying those words at the end of a prayer means nothing. When we pray, our hearts have to be “God, you have no reason to listen to me because I’m dead in my transgressions and sins...ah, but JESUS!! Father, You will listen to me. Because of Jesus, I come boldly before You.” And so we “namedrop” a little bit because the Father loves the Son, and we know that if we ask anything “in His name,” it will be done. The nature of praying “in Jesus’ Name” is essentially lining up our hearts with this issue of God’s grace, this free gift that can only be received as we trust totally in Jesus, relying solely on the fact that the Father loves the Son. There has to be those between-the-lines words in our hearts whenever we use that phrase, “In Jesus’ Name, Amen.” In our heart, we have to be saying, “Father, I ask you to hear what I’m saying because You hear the prayers of Your Son, and I’m hiding my life in Him. I’m not praying this for my own sake. It’s for Jesus’ sake I pray this—this isn’t a self-centered prayer.” With that kind of heart, the words “in Jesus’ Name” take on a whole new meaning...it’s not just a trite phrase or some “magic words” that we use.
We live by faith, approaching Him in every area of our lives, every minute, with faith in the Son—“the Father loves the Son.” We live by faith; that’s God’s call. And that faith is a posture of heart, affecting the attitude we take in the way we speak and how we make decisions, and how we respond in times of failure and success, crisis and difficulty. “The just shall live by faith.” “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” And so we live that way all the time. In other words, through Jesus we have peace with God—through the Lord Jesus Christ. We come to the Father through Him. “No one comes to the Father but by Me,” Jesus said. “I am the way, I am the only way to the Father.” The Father is the destination, and we come through the Lord Jesus Christ. We come to the Father in peace through the Lord Jesus Christ, reasoning with the Father not on our own merit, on any front, but reasoning with the Father on the merit of the Son of God. That’s living by faith—trusting in Jesus’ worth, not our own. That’s not a “doctrine”—it’s the way we live our lives! That’s what Paul meant when he said, “through our Lord Jesus Christ”—“I no longer live, I live by faith in the Son of God.”
We’ve gained access by faith into this unmerited favor in which we now stand. We’ve seen that a part of faith is recognizing our own sin. Another part of faith is recognizing the power and the immutable, imponderable, nature of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and what that means—access to the Father. This access brings confidence, peace, hope and a sense of fulfillment that allows us to go into our relationship with the Father and relationships with each other with peace and with courage. We now STAND.
Longing to Suffer?
“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:2b-5).
We’ve talked a lot about pain, and I just want to reemphasize the point that this ability to walk in fullness cannot happen except through a cross. Jesus said, “Unless you take up your cross and come after Me, you cannot be My disciple.” And the cross always implies several things: rejection, humiliation, pain and a death to our plans and our identity—all are defined in the cross. If you’re not “taking up” those things, then it’s not a real cross, and it’s not real Christianity.
But “taking up your cross” doesn’t mean you’ll be gritting your teeth about it. We rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that certain godly, Christ-like qualities are produced in us through the sufferings. Suffering produces thick skin, so I can’t be easily hurt. It’s not that I’m proud, or because I think people are of no account, and so I don’t care what they say. Or I have this attitude of, “I have my identity in Christ, therefore I’m fire-proof and I don’t need people,” or because “I’m not a man-pleaser.” That’s not Christianity. Christianity is perseverance that says, “I will find a way to resolve this difficulty…I will not curl up in a ball and give up.” We trust in God, turn our face toward Him, and find peace with the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ. There’s no arrogance or presumption in that at all. It’s not, “I’m untouchable and I don’t care.” Rather, it’s through suffering that we find perseverance, thick skin, and character. Perseverance brings character, and character brings hope. And at the end of every dark, dark tunnel is the light of the Glory of God in the face of Jesus of Nazareth. That’s what suffering brings to us.
Paul could say, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death and so somehow to attain to the resurrection from the dead” (Phil. 3:10). He desired to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings because he knew what suffering produces. He didn’t try to avoid pain or accuse others who might be the source of it in some indirect way. Paul knew that pain and heartache are always from God. God is sovereign and He never lets us be tempted beyond what we can bear. So we have no reason to point a finger at any one, any time. Although satan means pain and difficulties for our harm, the Father orders them for our good. We can face our sufferings and failures and the issues that bring us heartache with an attitude that says, “I know this will bring perseverance, and perseverance will bring character, and character, hope. So, bring it on! I want to share in the fellowship of His sufferings. I don’t mind because I’m too shallow the way I am. I want to be a deeper person and have more of God’s wisdom. I want to bear more of His fruit. I don’t care, so bring on the suffering! I am too shallow!! I know I need character and perseverance. I need to be filled with hope and praise, without wavering, giving glory to God! I know I need these things, so let me share in the fellowship of Your sufferings, Jesus. If I can be conformed to the likeness of Your death, then somehow I can be conformed to the likeness of Your Resurrection Life and Power.”
That is why we’re willing to pay the price to go through the pain and turn our face toward God in the midst of it. We know that pain will bring perseverance and endurance. It will bring the ability to run the race when the race isn’t as easy as we thought it would be. Instead of looking over our shoulder to see who might be catching us, and being fearful about losing the race, we look forward with a full hope and strength—all the way to the finish line. That’s the character God wants to develop in each of us through every circumstance that comes our way. So don’t reject the pain and difficulties. Don’t push away from suffering…embrace it. In fact, go further than embrace it…desire it. Long to share in the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings, in order to be conformed to His death: a lamb led to the slaughter, silent before His shearers. Don’t grab after your rights or identity, and don’t lash out or defend yourself. Desire that God would purify you through the things He brings your way. If that’s your heart cry, then He will hear your prayer and He’ll bring perseverance and character. He will bring Hope into our lives. But if we won’t go through this process of dying to our self-life, that’s a hope we’ll be without.
Pursue being conformed to the likeness of His death, so that you can be raised in the power of His Resurrection Life and character and fruitfulness. Pursue it just like you pursue worship…because you know the Father desires worshippers! We also know the Father desires us to share in fullness of His Life…so we pursue sharing in the fellowship of His sufferings. We don’t want to be shallow, fruitless people any longer, and the suffering is necessary to make us whole and to make us like Him. It’s necessary in order to make real men and women out of us. We need these things in our lives to keep us awake, if nothing else! It’s so easy to fall asleep when everything is going well and falling properly in place. Without the challenges and trials and stress, we get lackadaisical and fall asleep. We don’t even know it’s happening to us, but it does.
Stay with it when hard times come, and don’t kick at the goads. It’s hard to kick against the goads! A goad, you’ll remember, is a sharp stick that shepherds use to get sheep to go in the right direction. While Paul was serving the God of Israel with all his heart, but doing it totally wrong, Jesus was goading, pricking and poking him with a sharp stick, trying to get him to go in the right direction. He was kicking back, and Jesus said, “It’s hard for you to kick against the goads, Saul.”
And God is that way with us too. If we’d just stop kicking at the goad, we could start learning the direction God wants us to go. We can respond to that sharp pain with the understanding that He is teaching us and leading us. He’s leading us to still waters and green pastures and preparing a table for us in the presence of our enemies. That little sharp pain you get from time to time is really okay. It’s for your own good. Even 25 years after he became an apostle, Paul himself was still wrestling to understand these things. He was fighting with God over some suffering—a goad in the side, a “thorn in the flesh” (2 Cor. 12). Three times he asked God to remove it…the pain, the rejection, and the opposition. God said, “I’m not going to remove it. My grace is sufficient for you. You need, because of the surpassing great revelation that I am giving you, this pain in order to keep you humble.” And Paul’s response was to take delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions and in difficulties.
God is a Good Father and He works with us throughout our lives, and so we endure hardship as discipline (Heb. 12:7). We endure the pain and the difficult things of life with joy in our hearts (as the scriptures teach), because we know GOD is involved. It’s not by chance and it’s not someone “out there” trying to hurt us, and so we believe some lie that “It’s just not fair.” It is God Himself trying to bring us to a place of fullness and character, and since that’s where you need and want to be, you need to receive these things.
David was a great example of this. You’ll remember that after he became king, his son Absalom began undermining him for a long period of time. He was saying to the people, “Ah, David is just too hard. Come follow after me and I’ll give you an easy road. I’ll give you a pleasant kind of wisdom that doesn’t cost you anything.” Eventually, this smooth-talking son overthrew David and took the Kingdom away from him. So David left town in humiliation and shame with a rag on his head (2 Sam. 15, 16). After David had fled the city, this hideous, ugly man named Shimei was harassing him and throwing stones, saying, “Curses on you, David! You are worthless. You’re a man of blood. You’re just getting what you deserve.” David’s men said, “Let’s go kill this guy. He ain’t nothing; we can handle him.” But David said, “Leave him alone. Perhaps God is allowing this to happen for my good, to deepen my character. Maybe this is just what I need right now.” It was more important to David that he become like God than to have his cause vindicated. He didn’t need people to think the perfect thing about him if it would shortchange him from growing into the image of God. And that’s why David, a man after God’s own heart, was willing to embrace the humiliation and was willing to endure the rejection and pain.
I want to encourage you to face every painful issue that would ever come up in your life, with faith. And as we’ve already discussed, there will be pain and storms! But face them with faith. Face them with an eye toward the heavens, knowing that God is in control and that nothing escapes God’s notice. Just or unjust, everything is really from the Hand of God. He desires to bring us into His image, and that’s not going to happen apart from these tests. We need to have our faith refined as by fire in order to grow in perseverance, in character and in hope. Every issue that brings pain is meant to work these things into our lives and hearts and ultimately bring about fruitfulness and wisdom.
Please learn the fine art of walking in faith when things don’t go the way you think they should. Turn your face toward God. Don’t inwardly feel sorry for yourself, or outwardly justify yourself, and lash out, or get even. Turn to God every time you’re tempted to turn inward or outward, and resolve it. I’m not telling you to eliminate the problems, but rather to find God, and trust in Him. Turn your face toward Him and allow Him to change your heart and make you like Jesus. “He left us an example that we should follow in His steps” (1Pet 2:21). That example was that He was like “a lamb led to the slaughter, silent before His shearers,” not retaliating. Like Jesus, we will not vindicate our own cause, but instead we will turn to the Father who judges justly, not worrying about our reputation or defending our position. If we do that, we will find that by those stripes, God brings healing. If we willingly suffer and go forward with faith, we can trust that this is how God brings perseverance, character and hope into our hearts. Trust Him for those things. Work it out gently and kindly, thinking of others as better than yourself, without defending or vindicating.
If we will approach pain that way, God will bring healing into our hearts and make us into the image of His Son. Those who are willing to humble themselves in the midst of difficult times will emerge into the forefront in fruitfulness, fullness and wisdom. God will allow the Holy Spirit to come into our life and make us into true men and women of God.
YOU Put this Love In My Heart!
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us” (Romans 5:5).
Maybe you think to yourself, “I’m not a very loving person. I’m callous to others’ needs. I think about myself when I’m in a group of people. I don’t think about them or about Jesus. I’m self-conscious. I don’t seem to connect with others or care about them.” Those are signs that there’s a lack of love in your heart.
How do you get this love? How do you find the emergence of love being poured out into your heart by the Holy Spirit whom He’s already given us? Well, the answer to that question is to live by faith in the midst of circumstances and to let your faith be refined as by fire. Turn your face toward God, and as perseverance grows, as character grows, as hope grows, this hope will not disappoint. Because what emerges out of that is a deep love you could never accomplish on your own, no matter how lofty your goals or how determined you were to have love in your heart rather than some sort of severity (whether based in truth or selfishness). When we walk by faith, in hope and confidence, with everything coming through Jesus, it allows the Holy Spirit to pour out love into our hearts in a spectacular way. He changes our very character—the very nature of who we are—so that we become loving people.
Having true love in your heart requires that you willingly go down this road of pain, faith, perseverance, character, and hope. As all of these things are wrought into your life, a river of love begins to flow into your heart by the Holy Ghost, and you begin to care more about other people than about yourself. You notice other people more than yourself. You think about other people more than yourself. God’s goal through all of these things emerging together is that you would love like He loves. As your character is being refined, your heart is filled with hope. And this hope then does not disappoint because the love of God is poured out in a spectacular way in your life.
If you’re not following the sequence of all of these things, just start with this very simple measure: When faced with crisis, turn your face toward God. If you just do that one simple thing, then all of these other things will begin to take place in your life automatically. You’ve got God’s promise on that and you can trust Him. “This hope will not disappoint.”
How can we be sure that “this hope will not disappoint”? How can we have such confidence in the fact that He’s not only going to purchase our sins, but He’s also going to redeem us into full, Christ-like men and women? How can we be sure that we won’t just be “survivors” who die and go to heaven? We can be men and women that are very much like Jesus in our daily dealings—in our thought patterns, in our attitudes, in our actions, in our hearts, in our wisdom, and in our love. We can have such confidence because of the nature of the covenant God has made with us through Jesus.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die” (Rom. 5:6,7). For a “good man,” somebody that’s a real hero in everybody’s sight, someone might be willing to die. Somebody might die for a Nobel Peace prizewinner, or the President of the United States. For someone who is esteemed in the world’s eyes, someone might actually be willing to die. But would anyone be willing to die for a righteous man, one who lives a holy life and exposes sin because he’s stood in the presence of God? Except for believers, no one would die for a man like that. In fact, in an unbelieving generation, a person like that will be crucified! He wouldn’t be anybody’s hero.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” (Rom. 5:8,9). There is not a doubt that God’s wrath is what we deserve as sinners. But how much more, because of the Blood of Christ, are we free from the wrath of God. It’s not that we’re innocent. In fact, we are guilty, but the price has been paid! Paul says it over and over again that there ought to be tremendous confidence in our lives. We’re not escaping by the skin of our teeth! If we are well deserving of wrath, how much more, because of the blood of Jesus, are we deserving of liberty?! If you’ve really trusted in the name of Jesus, hidden your life in Him, and been clothed with Christ—however much you deserved wrath, how much more so because of His Blood do you deserve freedom! That’s the nature of the Covenant. If Jesus Himself died for you, don’t ever question the fullness of the purchasing Power of His Blood. Don’t ever diminish the nature and the quality of the Life of the Son of God by questioning whether you are just getting through by the skin of your teeth. This isn’t a covenant where Jesus says, “Okay, okay, I guess I’ll let you in.” The nature of the covenant is: “COME! Blessed, chosen one of my Father, come into the full measure of the Glory that has been set apart for you before the ages were ever created. All of this was intended for you before life began. Come in.” And you say, “Who? Me?” He says, “Yes, you.” How much more so because of the Blood of Jesus! He is calling each of us to accept the glorious fullness of the purchase of our lives back from the dead. This isn’t just about “survival”, but great glorious victory. This is all part of faith, to receive the victory and the confidence found in Christ and to believe it with all of your heart. Allow Him to wash you and cleanse you, and then accept the full meaning of that with confidence because of the nature of the purchase price, which was Jesus Christ.
“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation” (Rom. 5:9-11). The war is over and the treaty is a done deal! There’s reconciliation—peace and embracing on what was once the battlefield. How much more, how much more! Can you comprehend the fullness of what Jesus did, who He was, and the price He paid? All these things could so easily become clichés. But when you consider the magnificence, and really comprehend the fullness of what it means that the blameless Son of God has died instead of you—when you really comprehend that—how much more then if you are saved. What a Great Salvation this becomes for you! What an awesome deliverance this is! Ask God to help you comprehend the fullness of what it means now to your life, because these things are so. How much more, how much more.
And what about the depth of your depravity—Yes! You need to understand that. But now also understand the total awesomeness of complete freedom. Absolute, total annihilation of the penalty of sin in your life. Death, where is your victory? Where is your sting!? If we have apprehended the fullness of Jesus, there’s nothing left of condemnation and the sting of death. Free from wrath and alive to Christ—if we’re really living by faith in the Son of God, then all of these things become very real in our lives. How much more! There is absolutely no fear in that.
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man (Adam), and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men (including you and me), because all sinned—for before the law was given, sin was in the world” (Romans 5:12-13a). Just as faith came into the world before circumcision, so also sin came into the world before the law was given. Before the Law of Moses came in, sin came in. There was a rejection of God, a desire to be gods in ourselves, knowing good and evil—making our own decisions, calling our own shots and justifying ourselves. All of that rebellion against God came long before the law. Paul is saying here that the law is not really what condemned you. Sin came into the world long before the law ever did.
“But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come. But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many!” (Rom. 5:13b-15). Exclamation point! Adam lived a death-life when he sold his birthright and chose to be a “god”—making his own decisions, living his own life, having his own wisdom, determining what he thought was right and wrong. As soon as Adam became that mini-god to himself, death came into the world. He lived a life of death, separated from God.
Now if death comes to us in the same way, by living like mini-gods, how much more does LIFE come in by submitting to the one true God through the Blood of Jesus Christ? How much more, does life come in? Have you felt the penalty of death in your own bones and how well deserved it is (Rom. 1, 2 and 3)? Then surely, if you see Jesus high and lifted up—the Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the earth—if you can see what that means, how much more will you live in life? When you see that one man’s trespass brought sin and sin brought death, how much more does Jesus of Nazareth dying for our sin bring life that’s truly life! Paul is beginning to speak of Resurrection Life, Resurrection Victory, a Celebration of Indestructible Life! The Power of God in the Life of Jesus Christ, imparted to us as we live by faith. Please consider the measure of the fullness of what God intends by these things.
“Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:16,17). If you are not reigning in life—living in the fullness of God’s Life in conquering sin, conquering fatigue and despair, in conquering confusion and shallowness of relationship—if there’s a lack of wisdom and fruitfulness in your life, it is because you don’t believe God yet. Every issue of eternal life flows from this thing called faith—from believing God. Fully, fully believing God as the vindication from all of your enemies, as the justification for all of your sin, as the consecration for all of your future. You live by faith in the Son of God, by the life of God flowing out of you now.
If you are not living in the fullness of God’s Life, it’s because you’re still living a “demigod” kind of life: making yourself to be a god, knowing good and evil, determining who’s right and who’s wrong, deciding what you like and what you don’t like, where you’re going to go and where you’re not going to go, what you’re going to do and what you’re not going to do. You’ve dubbed yourself to be a god, rather than living by faith in the Son of God, which requires dying to the world and the world to you, dying to your self-life and denying your very self. If you’re missing the power of reigning in life, it’s because you’re not yet living by faith in the Son of God. You’re still living by faith in yourself—your own knowledge, your own good deeds, your generosity, your accomplishments. Your faith is in your carnal appearance or carnal relationships or in the oh-so-common problem of comparing yourself to others.
To live by faith in the Son of God—that’s the Christian life. After coming to Him on the basis of faith and beginning in the Spirit, don’t start trying to obtain your goal by mere human effort (Gal. 3:3). Live by faith in the Son of God. Live with every fiber of your being turned toward Him in every issue of life. In every accomplishment that you’d ever have, in every failure or sin that would ever creep its way into your life, in every disappointment in relationship, in every emptiness that you see in your heart—turn toward Jesus of Nazareth. Turn your face fully toward Him and ask Him to fill your heart. Trust Him—believe Him—that He is able to complete that which He began in you (Phil. 1:6).
He Brings Everything to the Table
“The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:20-21). If you don’t believe that you have nothing to offer, just take a real hard look at what God requires of you. The law was added to make you conscious of sin (Romans 3). The law was added that the trespass might increase, that you might see just how utterly empty you are. If you don’t believe that, then you don’t know the requirements of God very well! God brought His law and His Righteousness to the earth to make you realize how incredibly desperate you are for Him. But don’t stop there, because “where sin increased, grace increases all the more!” Just as sin reigned in death, now grace reigns through righteousness to bring Eternal Life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Are you just too hard a case? You’ve failed soooo many times, and there’s nothing in you to work with, and you’ve proven it time and time again, right? If that’s how you think, then you are not believing God. He’s not concerned about how many times you’ve failed, or with how much you bring to the table. That is not what this is all about. If you think you bring something to the table, you’re dead already. It’s about recognizing that you bring nothing to the table at all, yet trusting Him that He brings everything to the table. The reason so few people ever get a hold of this and Live in Fullness is that they think they bring something to the table. That’s the dilemma.
If you think you have something to offer in the whole situation, then there’s no hope for you…you’re dead! You will never find the fullness of Christ. If I finally do recognize that I bring nothing to the table, but I don’t really believe that He brings everything to the table, then I’ll still live in poverty! He brings a total feast to the table—you’ll not grow hungry! That feast is mine. I celebrate His feast. His enemies are my enemies. His assets, my assets. If I don’t really believe He’s made covenant with me through the Lord Jesus Christ, and that He loves me simply because “the Father loves the Son” and that my life is hidden in Him…if I don’t believe and celebrate that without wavering—fully persuaded, giving glory to God—then I will continue to walk in emptiness and poverty. And that’s not His desire for me.
Believe that you have nothing to offer; that’s good. Now go on to believe that He has everything to offer and all that He has is yours! It is grace. It’s unmerited favor. It’s free for the asking. And it’s not just a free lunch—it’s a free banquet! Yours for the asking, just because you trust Him and believe Him. You simply believe Him. Your trust is wholly in Him.
3 So what does all this mean in a practical way in our lives? Paul goes on to talk about how sin—the practice of sin—is overcome by this Covenant that we have with Jesus (Chapter 6). Jesus brought a covenant just as Adam brought one. Through Adam, you are an utter failure—sinful, depraved and empty. Whether you recognize it or not, you’re worthless. Your mouth is an open grave. Just as that is sooo extremely true, “how much more” true it is that you can have Life in Him through faith in Jesus. It’s by fully trusting in Him as the only reconciliation you need with the Father, and as the only thing that will bring access and relationship with the Father. If you believe that Jesus can bring you that “how much more” kind of life, then you will, in fact, reign in life. Back
Not Weak, Wimpy Survivors
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!” Certainly not! What a hideous thought! “We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom. 6:1-4).
However glorious Jesus’ Resurrection was, that’s exactly how glorious the Father wants your life to be! Can you picture in your mind just how glorious Jesus’ Resurrection was? Picture the angel meeting Mary and Peter and John, and the Glory as the stone shook and rolled back, and the guards running away in fear. Envision the gloriousness of the Resurrected Jesus with His face shining like the noonday sun! That’s God’s intent for your life—the whole deal.
Quit thinking about how shallow and utterly sinful you are. Those things are true, but by faith in Jesus—by fully trusting in Him and His Name, His Blood and His Spirit—what a glorious resurrection He brings about in your life! Just as Jesus was buried, so also we are buried with Him in baptism. As we are identified with Him in His death, how much more shall we also be identified with Him in the likeness of His Resurrection. The Glory of the Father shining forth in your life just like it shined forth through the Resurrection of Jesus. That’s God’s intent! Behold, all things are new! Not weak, wimpy survivors—but lives exploding with the evidence of the Glory of God.
So we face the poverty of our heart and the depth of our sin without pride and without claiming anything. We come to the table with nothing, knowing we have nothing to offer—we’re altogether worthless, the scripture says. If we will face those facts, then we’ll find ourselves coming to Jesus and humbling ourselves before Him. He’ll then impart His Resurrection Life that’s the “how much more” kind of life. Born of the race of Adam through an ordinary peasant girl named Mary, Jesus demonstrated for us the Glory of that Resurrection Life—how to live in the power of the fellowship of the Glory of God. That’s what God desires for us, but we have to have faith for it—we have to believe that.
If instead of looking at our own pitiful sin and weakness and shallowness, we will believe what God says, then with ever-increasing glory, from one degree of glory to another to another to another, we too will experience Resurrection Life. Our faces will shine like an angel, like Stephen’s did, speaking wisdom that men can’t stand against. Our hands will do things that mere men’s hands can’t do. Our eyes will see things that mere men’s eyes can’t see. Our mouths will say things that mere men’s mouths could never say. Our hearts will feel things that mere men’s hearts could never feel. And our feet will go places that mere men’s feet could never go. (Remember how Philip was transported from one place to another without walking or riding!) We can walk on water like Peter did—a mere man—simply by keeping our eyes on Jesus, believing His Word, “Come to Me.” These things are for the human race that is no longer under the curse of Adam, but is now living by faith in the “how much more” kind of Resurrection Life. We are no longer subject to the law of gravity. Peter and Philip proved that! We are not subject to the normal laws of nature, as Paul proved with his handkerchief that brought healing to people. If we will truly live by faith, we can live in a “how much more” kind of Resurrection Life—from one degree of glory to another!
Don’t get the idea this is going to change overnight. Day by day, our faith is tested by sorrow and pain and rejection, and then we grow in perseverance and we grow in character and we grow in hope, and the Love of God is poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit. We grow from one degree of glory to another. You don’t just snap your fingers and say, “Okay, I believe.” It doesn’t happen that way. It’s GOD bringing Resurrection into our lives from one day to another, from hope to hope, from glory to glory, and from faith to faith! That’s how this letter to the Romans begins—from faith to faith to faith! From glory to glory to glory—it’s a process as He’s making us into the image of the Son, and as we’re becoming a habitation of God by the Spirit. Even as we speak these words, satan is curling up in pain, because you are receiving the word of your rightful inheritance and the vision of what God intends for your personal life.
Face your sin and your fears, claiming nothing for yourself. Face the sorrow, the pain, the rejection and heartache, and then truly turn your heart towards Jesus and believe in the One that the Father sent. “This is the work of God—to believe on the One the Father sent.” If you will do that, then you will overcome the world. You’ll blow this world away by the power of God living through you. And it won’t be you doing it, because you’ve died and you don’t live any longer! Now you live by faith in the Son of God. Now by your faith, you can overcome the world (1Jn. 5:4). You’ll do it by believing that God meant what He said. Believe Him! He “calls things that are not as though they are” (Rom. 4:17). If He says you’re a spiritual person, you may not feel that way, but don’t argue with God about it. He “calls things that are not as though they are.”
Just as He created the heavens and the earth, and said, “Let there be light,” He also works His creative power in you. How does this happen? The same way that God created light. He spoke His Word “Let there be light”…and it came to be. If you will behold Him, then He will translate you into His image from one degree of glory to another, by the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Cor. 3:18). As we behold Him! His Word was spoken and the result was the Glory of God shining in the face of Jesus Christ. If we will believe and hear the creative Word of God and put our full hope and trust on that, He will change us from glory to glory, and from FAITH TO FAITH!
Behold Him and turn toward Him and rest your case in Jesus as the answer to the Father’s every question, and the satisfaction of the Father’s every demand of you! Hold up Jesus in every circumstance of life as the answer, the solution, and the anchor that holds within the veil. Ohhh, if we will hold Jesus up! Live by faith in Him. We don’t just come to Him by faith, we live by faith in the Son of God. Then God causes us, from one degree of glory to another, to reign in life by the same Power that raised Jesus from the dead (Eph. 1 and Rom. 5, 6).
Free From Sin
“If we have been united with Him in His death”—having seen how utterly dark and sinful our hearts are apart from Him (Romans 1, 2 and 3)—“we will certainly be united with Him in His resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with—rendered powerless.”
Do you want to read it for yourself in black and white? Not just the penalty of sin, but the body of sin—the continual outworkings of sin—has been killed! It’s annihilated, rendered powerless! Freedom from the penalty and the power of sin! That’s God’s desire and our inheritance! The body of sin is crucified and in the grave, and we are raised to a new resurrection life, “that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin” (Rom. 6:6b, 7).
Wouldn’t you agree that a corpse is free from sin? A corpse isn’t going to be easily tempted. If we will die to sin and face God, face our sinfulness and die to any self-righteousness or self-worth, and instead find all of our worth in the fact that the Father loves the Son… then the Power of Life will work in us instead of the body of sin and the power of death working in us. We can reign in life. If you’re a shy person, you can live in courage, freedom, peace and love, caring more about others than yourself. If you’re a fearful person, you can live in confidence—not a boastful, arrogant confidence, but a peaceful confidence, trusting God. If you’re racked with any kind of sin you can name, God can bring peace. I’m not talking about “muscle flexing.” That’s not the nature of an overcoming life. God brings peace and security that makes those things unnecessary.
God wants to bring in you a freedom from sin because if you’ve been crucified with Christ, then the death that Christ died is also your death. God desires it and wants it for you! Understand and believe that this isn’t about your willpower any longer; it’s about His willpower. It’s not about what you can do for God, it’s about what Jesus did for God! If you will believe that, day after day, in circumstance after circumstance, then you will find the Power of God and the Resurrection Life working inside of you. Your personality and attitudes will change—they won’t be the same. The sins that ransacked you day after day will no longer touch you. “The prince of this world has come, but he has nothing in me.” That’s Jesus’ life that He desires to bring into you with ever-increasing glory. That’s your inheritance. It goes way beyond just being saved; it goes into being “filled to the full measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4). That’s His desire for you.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God” (Rom. 6:8-10). If death no longer has mastery over Him, it doesn’t have to have mastery over you either. He died for you because of the sin that would enslave you. And if you will get on the cross with Him, and believe that He died not only to free you from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin, then sin does not have dominion over you. It no longer holds you as its slave. You don’t have to be the same person tomorrow that you have been for the last 5, 10, 25, or 45 years. Sin does not have dominion over you. Why? Because Jesus conquered sin for you. Jesus overcame the power of sin for you. You don’t have to live in it any longer. Sin does not have to control you and make you a slave any longer, because Jesus cut the chains and swung the cell door open. You don’t have to rot in your cell any longer. He swung the door wide open. He paid the price. Now will you walk out? By faith you walk out because you believe that Jesus has cut the shackles of sin and rendered sin powerless in your life. You believe that. You believe it regardless of your personal history and you believe it with all of your heart. “Sin does not have dominion over me!”
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body [because it doesn’t have to!] so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life” (Rom. 6:11-13a). Do not offer the parts of your body to sin! Sin does not have to control you any longer; it can’t take you anymore. In order for sin to have control now, you have to offer yourself to sin. Sin can’t come from the inside and own you anymore. Instead it comes from the outside, and you have to willingly embrace it. The nature of the Freedom of the Spirit of God and what Jesus did when He died on Calvary was that He totally abolished the power of sin and broke the shackles of satan forever. Satan was rendered completely powerless because of the crucifixion of Jesus (Col. 2). So when the temptations come up, we believe that, and then the power of sin is broken in us and sin no longer controls us from the inside. Sin comes from the outside and if we end up being controlled by it, it’s because we’ve offered the parts of our body to sin. We have to desire it. We have to want to do it, because sin can’t control us. It has no more dominion over us. That’s the nature of the Good News of Jesus Christ. It’s not just “I’ve got a mansion over the hilltop.” It’s “I live in the life of the power of God now. I live by faith in the Son of God.”
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11). Now that’s a statement of faith!
“But I don’t feel dead to sin.” If you don’t “feel” dead to sin, is that any reason to not consider yourself dead to sin? Didn’t Jesus die and rise again? Isn’t He seated at God’s right hand? The body of sin, the fullness of the power of sin was crucified with Jesus on the cross. He died to sin, and because we were crucified with Him, we died to sin too. Therefore, sin has no dominion over us! “Reckon yourself dead to sin.” It’s done. It’s settled. It’s an issue that has been resolved. The Son of God died to your sin. Because He died to your sin, you no longer need to live in it.
Do you really understand what Paul is trying to say here? Take shyness for example. A shy person doesn’t need to repent of being shy; they need to repent of not believing God! Because God says, “You’re not shy.” So whether it’s lust, pride, selfishness, bad temper or impatience that you struggle with, if you really understand what Paul is trying to say here, you know it’s not those “things” that you need to repent of. You need to repent of your unbelief! You couldn’t walk in those sins if you really believed that all of your sins were crucified with Jesus. Your belief would be manifested in your life in a way that those sins couldn’t hold you captive any longer.
By the power of the Spirit and the resurrected Christ, sin has no dominion over you! The shackles are broken! Believing that sin has no dominion over you is what allows sin to have no dominion over you. You must understand, appreciate and fully believe that the things that have held you captive have been crucified with Jesus. If you really believe, from the heart, that the power of sin was broken by Jesus’ death on the cross, then when temptations come up, they will flee. They can’t hold you. But do not reckon from the standpoint of your own willpower, or from the standpoint of your own history, be it good or bad. Reckon yourself dead to sin from the standpoint of Jesus’ victory over sin and death, and THEN sin can have no dominion over you. There is no power whatsoever in any sin that has ever been held up to the cross. The power in sin only keeps us captive when we try to contain it with our own willpower, our own righteousness or our own good deeds. When we compare and contrast, living in this horizontal world, sin continues to have dominion over us.
But when we shove it in Satan’s face because of what Jesus has done and reckon ourselves dead to sin, then the power of sin is broken! The power of sin is only an “imaginary” power if we are reasoning through faith in Christ rather than through our own willpower, or striving to do good deeds or striving to live a holy life. Sin has no power over those who will live by faith and who believe that what God says is true. “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin—because anyone who has died has been freed from sin. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Romans 6:9-12).
“Don’t let sin reign in your mortal body”…because you don’t HAVE to! It’s not necessary! God always gives you a way out. You’re “never tempted beyond what you can bear.” For those who “live by faith rather than by sight,” who live by the crucified Lord, rather than by their own justification, sin comes from the outside. But if you try to justify yourself by doing good deeds, “keeping the law,” and even by obeying the commands of Jesus, then the power of sin will continue to reign. If you present yourself to God based on the “good things” you do, and the “bad things” you think you don’t do, you can be sure that the power of sin will continue to reign. We only have power over sin insofar as we live before God with an attitude that says, “I know I have no power, but while we were still sinners, You died for all of us, the ungodly. Now, because of Your death, the power and penalty of sin is forever gone from my life.” THAT’S how we must reason with God. What Jesus has done is the issue, not what we have done.
If we reckon ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus—if that’s how we live, then, “though the prince of this world has come, he has nothing in me.” Why? Because he has nothing in Jesus! That’s the only identity we have. That’s the only reasoning power we have before God or man. We boast only in Jesus Christ and Him crucified—raised from the dead, seated at the right hand of God, and coming back for the people who have hidden their lives in Him, rather than in some “good thing” they’re doing for Him.
Can you understand why so many people live in poverty and powerlessness in their lives? It’s because they don’t live in what we’re talking about! They’re always reasoning with God and with one another and with themselves from the vantage point of what they do and what they don’t do and by what they’ve accomplished or haven’t accomplished. Then they end up being either prideful or pessimistic. They are always reasoning on the basis of themselves, rather than reasoning before the unseen realm and all of mankind on the basis of what Jesus has done and is doing and has yet to do!
Please hide your life in Him. Totally saturate your thought patterns, transforming your minds by the renewing of His Word, His promises, His future, His life, His death, and His resurrection. Always reason only from this vantage point: “The Father loves the Son—so I’m okay.” We reason from that vantage point only, and yeah, the prince of this world has come, but he has nothing in me because he has nothing in Jesus.
So, what are you going to do the next time a difficulty arises in your life, a challenge, a failure, or some kind of stress or pain? What are you going to do? Will you follow in the footsteps of the father of your faith, and be a son of Abraham? Maybe there’s been a lot on you lately. Maybe things have been hard for you, and people are dealing with sin in your life. Perhaps you’ve had failure in this circumstance or that, or maybe you’ve felt lonely. Whatever’s going on, could someone say of you, “I sure have noticed something about you: you’re a son of Abraham. You haven’t wavered a bit. You’re fully persuaded that God is able to keep His promises. You give glory to God in the midst of difficulty and contradiction. You’re a son of Abraham. I want to thank you for that.” Is that what someone’s going to say to you the next time you face something difficult? “You’re a daughter of Abraham, I can see it in your eyes.” Without wavering, fully persuaded, giving glory to God. “You have a heart full of joy and praise. You’re a son of Abraham.”
By the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit, by faith in Jesus Christ, and the power that was worked in Him that raised Him from the dead—that’s who you are. And that’s who you’re becoming from one degree of glory to another, growing in perseverance, growing in character, growing in the image and the likeness of Jesus Christ. The love of God is being shed abroad in your heart by the Holy Ghost, day by day by day, from one degree of glory to another, by the same power of the Word that said, “Let there be light.” Let the Glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ shine in your heart until the day He comes back to retrieve you and take you home. Amen.
If you’ve been taking all this to heart, there’s no doubt that God has raked you over the coals. We just need to understand how totally “bad off” we are before we can understand how “good off” we are by the Power of God in Christ Jesus. That’s why Paul in this letter to the Romans wrote chapters 1, 2 and 3 before he wrote chapter 8. Paul said you can’t take any pride in being a Jew or a good Gentile. Good deeds can’t do anything for you. Being a nice person won’t earn you anything in God’s sight either. He ripped all of that away from us, leaving us empty.
But God in Christ Jesus makes you more than conquerors. You could never win before. You were no “conqueror.” You couldn’t beat your way out of a wet paper bag! You were nothing. But Jesus of Nazareth has made you more than a conqueror. Receive the depths of your sin so you can receive the Glory that is in Christ Jesus, living only by faith in the Son of God with no faith left in yourself. Turn to God, and ask Him about all these things. Let this stuff really sink in and work on you. Know exactly who you are apart from Jesus and exactly what happens when you have true faith in Him. Let Him live through you because of His death and His Resurrection.
The message Paul has come to in Romans 6 is that God is definitely more than able to complete what He began. And He wants to do so much more than just forgive our sins, “escaping as through the flames.” He wants to make our lives more than we could ever dream of, more than we could ever ask or imagine! He’s totally able to do that and desires to give you a life that’s full and free and reflects His Glory, filled with the same Spirit and Power that raised Jesus from the dead. But most people don’t experience that because they don’t believe God. They don’t believe Him and embrace Him, and stand on His Word without wavering, in spite of all the evidence. It’s no wonder they never see the fulfillment of it! They don’t experience it because they don’t live by faith.
“Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the voice, or the Word of God” (Rom. 10:17). And right after that it says, “What about Israel, didn’t they hear?” Of course they did, but they didn’t combine what they heard with faith. They didn’t believe and didn’t obey. They didn’t put what they heard into practice. All day long God held out His hands to an “obstinate and disobedient people,” and they wouldn’t receive Him.
God is holding out His hands with the exact same call for us in our lifetime. If we would receive God and simply believe what He said, there would be no need to die in poverty. He desires with all His heart to change us into the family likeness of His Son. He wants to grow us up into the “full measure of the stature of Jesus Christ,” from the rising to the setting of the sun—all the way around the clock. He’s more than able to change us! No longer do we need to be ransacked by sin and slung around by our emotions, fears, selfishness, pride and lust. No longer do we need to be slaves to the growling of our stomachs and the fatigue of our bodies. He doesn’t want us to be subject to the circumstances of life or the opinions of those who hate God and oppose His Work. If we will simply believe Him and act like we believe Him, He will set us free from all that! He wants to free us from the penalty of sin and the power of sin.
Beg God to help you grasp these things and apply them, not just with your mind at this moment, but day-to-day, when the circumstances of life smack you in the face. That’s what Christianity is, in short. You might go to heaven without understanding these things, but you can’t LIVE in the Life and Power of God in this present age without understanding them—it’s impossible! You won’t experience the abundance of God’s grace, the power and authority of His Heart, His righteousness and His love with sacrificial life and liberty in the Spirit, without comprehending and applying these things in the circumstances of life. You can “go to heaven,” but you‘ll never manifest the Life of Jesus—the fullness of the Life of Jesus—apart from what we’re talking about.
Follow Me as I Follow Christ?
What was it that empowered Paul’s life of fullness and freedom in the Spirit? He lived by faith in the Son of God! It’s the same for every person like Paul who has ever lived. It’s the only way to find the Life and Power of God, where sin no longer has mastery over us. Paul could say, “You follow me as I follow Christ.” Can YOU say that right now? Can you look at a group of people and say, “Hey guys, do what I do, and you’ll be fine. Think the thoughts I think, say the things I say, have the attitudes I do under pressure. Walk the way I do in my daily relationship with God and man, and you’ll be just fine. Follow me, as I follow Christ.” Can you say that? If you can’t, then you’re not truly living by faith the way Paul was. He could say all that with such confidence and a clear conscience because he didn’t live any more—“I died to the world and the world to me. I don’t need the world, and the world doesn’t need me.” Sin can’t master that kind of life, a life that’s hidden in Christ. He wasn’t saying he was without temptation—“Who among you is tempted that I don’t inwardly burn?”(2 Cor. 11:29) He was saying, “The prince of this world has come, but he has nothing in me, because he has nothing in Jesus, and I am living in Him. I’m not afraid.”
He said to the Thessalonians, “You know when I was with you how holy and righteous and blameless I was.” He said, “You’ve seen my life, I’ve opened it up on every front—day and night from house to house. You’ve seen with your own eyes how holy and righteous and blameless I’ve been.” Paul could say that with a clear conscience, without boasting or bragging. And the Holy Spirit confirmed it was true in his life by recording it in the Scriptures. Can you speak that boldly with a clear conscience? (Some might, but their confidence comes from a seared conscience. They don’t see how ridiculously far off their lives really are—they say it, but it’s not true.)
Jesus’ life imparted to a believer frees you to speak like Paul, without boasting, without bragging, without a guilty conscience. If you can’t say the same things, from the heart, with a clear conscience, don’t be condemned about it, but know that you have an inheritance that you haven’t tapped yet. It doesn’t matter what your name is or how long you’ve been a Christian. You have an inheritance! And it doesn’t come by knowledge or by willpower. It’s by faith in the Son of God, and it’s accessible for all who believe, first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. There is a power, a dynamite, a “Good News” that can set your life free from the bondage of selfishness, pride, lust, fear, laziness—whatever your “thing” happens to be. This is your inheritance!
You do not have to be a slave to sin any longer! This is real. This isn’t just poetry or story time. This is real. It’s for you, whoever you are. No matter how many times you’ve failed in the past, if you will simply, simply, live by faith in the Son of God, you will not be a slave to sin. Whatever your personality type—A, B, C, D, it doesn’t make any difference—you can be Type J: Jesus. On the authority of the Word of God that said, “Let the light shine out of darkness,” I say to you: HE DESIRES FOR YOU THE FULL MEASURE OF THE STATURE OF JESUS CHRIST. Everything that Jesus was while He was here in the flesh is accessible to you as an individual, right now—the whole measure of the fullness of Jesus Christ, from Glory to Glory to Glory!
So, why the delay in getting from one degree of glory to another? It’s simply because we don’t yet comprehend the fullness of His majesty, grace and power; we don’t see the depth of His love and commitment to us. God’s desire for us is to grow in this faith, and as we learn more and more about His trustworthiness, we cast more and more of ourselves on Him, level after level. It’s all accessible now, it’s just that we’ve not seen enough of it yet! And if we did, it would consume us as it would’ve for those who took over the Promised Land (Deut. 7:22). We would explode if we had any idea how Great and Awesome, Loving and Generous and Faithful God is. He is so incredibly full and wonderful, that if we could comprehend it, we would be like Enoch—POOF!! (Gen. 5:24).
And the more we believe and hold out what Jesus has done, the more we will see the manifest power of God in our lives. Like Peter, a mere human, who walked on water…and like Paul, you can say, “You know how holy and righteous and blameless I was. Come on, follow me as I follow Christ.” The ability to speak that way with a clear conscience, confirmed by God in the Holy Spirit, is based on our willingness to believe what Jesus has done and is doing. Nothing more. “This is the work of God, to believe on the One whom He sent.” “The spirit of prophecy is a testimony of Jesus.” Let that testimony reign in your heart. Let it well up in every attitude and every word that comes out of your mouth.
Will He Find Faith?
Ohhhh, how we want Jesus to find faith when He returns! The kind of faith that believes His Word is true and holds onto it. The next time you’re tempted to be snappy with somebody, prideful, boastful, selfish, or impatient, fearful, lazy, gluttonous…I beseech you in the name of Jesus to reckon yourself dead to sin. Is this an act of willpower? No, it is simply saying, “I understand and comprehend what Jesus did on the cross. He made a public spectacle of satan, humiliating him before the hosts of Heaven and the people of the earth. He knocked out satan’s teeth, and now he has nothing but gums to bite with. He drove satan right into a place of powerlessness, rendering him harmless.” We reckon and declare that these things are true! “What Jesus has done is the issue, not what I have done, or what I am capable of overcoming—that’s what we now say to you, oh hosts of heaven and peoples of the Earth.” What Jesus has done is the issue and we hold that up in satan’s face in times of trial and temptation and discouragement and failure.
Let your mind be transformed and renewed by the Promise and Person of God in the face of Jesus Christ, high and lifted up, Holy, Holy, Holy. “He’s my Security, He’s my Hope, my Fortress, my High Tower, my Rock, my Door, my Way, my Truth, my Life, my Good Shepherd.” He’s the Light of the world—Jesus of Nazareth. Glory to His Name!! Let it reign in your heart. Let it fill your heart and mind, saturating you in every circumstance, and like Nathaniel, you too will see the Glory of God. You too will see angels ascending and descending to the Throne of God and the footstool of God. As you believe the promises that are “Yes” and “Amen” in Jesus Christ, you’ll see things like that—incredible things! Don’t let sin reign in your mortal bodies. Sin no longer has mastery over you! Why? Real simple answer. JESUS.
As you read Paul’s words, let them soak into your heart. Let them fill your mind and heart and have utter control over any future thoughts as it relates to your sin and temptations, trials, discouragements, failures and opportunities. Soak it in…let these words totally saturate your heart and mind and control your reactions to every circumstance of life.
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
“Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
“What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
“I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:8-23).
Holy Father, grant your people faith. Open the eyes of our hearts to see and comprehend the riches that are in Christ Jesus Your Son, the fullness of all that He is and all that He could be for those who will simply believe. Father, please open our eyes. No more words, we just beg You to open our eyes.
4 Just in case you still believe willpower has some value, the Bible says that when we try to reach God through a willpower mentality, trying to fulfill His expectations by keeping some sort of standard (even a standard He has set), it actually gives power to sin. “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” (1 Cor. 15:56)—ponder that! Living by “law” or by anything other than His continuous Word and a relationship with Him actually gives power to sin. So when we cut off living that way, it takes away sin’s power. If we’ll quit living by willpower—reasoning with ourselves, comparing ourselves to others, striving to do good deeds—if we’ll stop doing all of that and live by faith instead…sin will be rendered powerless. Back