We must rely on the Spirit within us to overcome our weaknesses, our inability to do the things we want to do, know we should do, but can’t seem to. We need to allow the Spirit to be in control, be obedient to his promptings. Let God’s Spirit intercede for the things we don’t even know how to ask for. Only Christ can change who we are and the desires of our heart but change won’t come if we are not willing to obey.
If there is something we continue to struggle with, something we know we should not be doing but that continues anyway- so easily, so naturally- taking place of things we know you should be doing instead, it is the result of sin remaining in our hearts. It is deeper than the action itself. Like we eat to satisfy hunger, the action we can’t seem to quit is the result of the hunger of that sin. It is living inside us like a parasite feeding off of our lives, and from the inside it causes things to happen, gives you a hunger for what it desires. They only way to put an end to these ‘evil’ actions is to hunt down the root cause, the buried sin. Seek it out, ask God to reveal it to you and, once He does, confess it, repent of it, and give it to God as often as necessary. Recognize it now so that it does not try continue to plague you. Fill it’s former ‘ome’ with the hinges of God.
So it should be with us. Verse 8 says “if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him” Verse 3 “or don’t you know that all who were baptized into Christ were baptized into His death” and Verse 5 “If we have been united with Him in death, we will certainly be also united with Him in His resurrection.” When we give our lives to Christ we are meant to die to sin, and that means all of our sin in all areas of our lives. We cannot mostly die, trying to cling to certain treasured vices- there is only dead or not dead. If not truly dead to the old life of sin then you can’t be fully raised into the new life. Christ was able to die once to break the power of sin, but that does not mean that sin will not continue to plague us and that we will not struggle against it in some way always. Humans are imperfect and weak and we will slip sometimes. The difference should be in how we live. Are we living for the glory of God? Are we recognizing our sin and turning from it or denying and embracing it? Let us make a point to ask God daily to search our hearts, make it a point to recognize our sin as just that and have a plan to turn from it so that we can really die to it and really experience the new life Christ planned for us.
To have the faith of Abraham- that is something to aspire to. God has made us all promises as well, both through his word and to our individual selves. Some of these promises may be easy to claim while others seem as impossible, even laughable, as Sarah conceiving a child in her nineties. But to claim that promise anyway, to never waiver through disbelief despite the seeming impossibilities, is a true example of faith. Whether we chose to believe it or not, God has the power to do what he promised. We can choose to let our head, our heart, our preconceived perceptions of reality, get in the way and make us doubt, or we can choose to let go of what we understand to be possible, strengthen our faith, glorify God through our confidence in Him, and be credited with righteousness.
Wages are not a gift, they are what is due. If we seek our own justice against all those who wrong us we may very well receive that justice, our wages. However, it will not bring the satisfaction, or the peace, we seek from it. It is superficial. However, if we seek not the justice on our own but trust God, who is the ultimate judge and jury, then justice WILL be done. We will be credited with righteousness for trusting God. We will have the peace we long for and stand right before our God.
Obedience to God does not mean simply following the laws written out in the Bible. If that is our goal we would become so caught up in rule following that we forget to do the most important things, the things that all of the other laws hang on, loving God and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Besides, no matter how diligently we follow the law, we can never follow it perfectly. We are simply incapable. The primary purpose of the law is to show us the difference between right and wrong, to guide us in the right way to live and show us just how hopeless we are to fulfill it, thus leading us straight to our need for a savior and to God’s great mercy. Then we might experience His love, and our resulting love and gratitude are proven in our obedience to His will, not just to a bunch of rules.
It is not enough to read the Bible, to go to church or Bible study, to listen to podcasts and Christian radio, or to do all of the above- no matter how regularly. Having the entirety of the Bible memorized and having more religious knowledge than anyone else you know is still not enough. If you aren’t taking the Word into your heart as well as your mind, taking heed of it, letting it change you, being OBEDIENT to God, then it does you no good. Hearing, seeing, believing alone cannot save you. Being obedient to God will see you called righteous in His sight.
Knowing God is not enough ‘for even the demons believe and they shudder’. He is to be glorified in and through us, given the thanks and honor due to the all-powerful creator of the universe who holds our lives in his hands. Nothing less is due him. We lose sight of the gravity of these things, maybe because it doesn’t seem like it’s right in front of our eyes. Or maybe because he has been emphasized too much as the Lamb and not enough as the Lion. As we neglect this thanksgiving and glorifying our thoughts stray from God, our thoughts become futile, our hearts darkened, we begin to believe lies and behave both foolishly and shamefully. Our worship turns from God to things, people, activities, things created by man. If we do not recognize it when it begins to happen and turn our hearts back to God then he will eventually give us over to it.
Obligated: bound and committed, legally or morally
We have a moral obligation that binds us to the people God would call to himself whether they be, in our opinion, deserving or not. The Gospel is not just for ‘civilized’ people who will fit easily into our social circles. It is not only for people who are ‘good’ and make choices that positively affect us. This is not really a choice, it is an obligation we are bound to. God’s word is meant not be shared with every person God places in our lives however temporarily. “I am not ashamed of the gospel.” V.16
Lord there is none greater than you! Who but you can measure the waters in the hollow of his hand or mark off the heavens with the breadth of his hand? Who else has held the dust of the earth in a basket or weighed the mountains on the scales and the hills in a balance? Who has understood your mind, O Lord or instructed you as counselor? Whom did you consult to enlighten you and who taught you the right way? Who was it that taught you knowledge or showed you the path of understanding? No one is able God. You have no equal. The greatest nations are like a drop in a bucket to you, regarded as nothing, worthless, they are dust on your scales. Who can compare to you O God. You sit enthroned above the circle of the earth, you stretch out the heavens like a canopy, you bring princes to naught and reduce the rulers of this world to nothing. No sooner are they planted, no sooner do they take root in then ground, than you blow on them and they wither and a whirlwind sweeps them away like chaff. There is none like you God, no power greater than yours. You bring out the stary host and call them by name, because of your great power and mighty strength not one of them is missing. May all the earth praise your great name!