Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It stinks to be you

Romans 8:18 – 30
It stinks to by you!

Some days are just like that... nothing goes according to plan, everything seems to take longer, something is just out of sync.

These are those days you think, “it stinks to be me.” As we groan and moan, I want to remind you that the Bible recognizes that all creation groans, we groan, and the Holy Spirit groans because we have a problem.

To deal with this problem God has instituted a three step program, found in verse 30. We are called, justified, and glorified. Literally, what Paul is explaining to us is not a fatalism. He insists that God invites us into relationship (called), God renders a judgment in our favor (justified), and the God makes us “excellent” (glorified).

This all is possible because of what is called “redemption.” In the ancient world “redemption” had a two-fold meaning. Redemption means ransom AND riddance. In other words, the possibility of ransom is release that comes from the payment made by Jesus on the cross. The possibility of riddance is current struggle and the future hope we have of dealing with the darkness sin has plunged the world into.

I. How does the Bible describe this world?

A. [v 18] “sufferings” means something that is undergone... such as a misfortune, hardship, or pain.

1. Face it, as long as were in this physical body we will have pain and other kinds of suffering.

2. Some is self-inflicted... some is imposed on us.

B. [v 19] “longing” means intense anticipation that is anxious and persistent.

1. If we are honest with ourselves, we know something is not right, unnatural, or simply wrong.

2. We know it but what do we do about it? (Face it, fight it, ignore it, attack those who talk about it.)

C. [v 20] “futility” means a lack of appropriateness. Or another way to say it “perverse” or “perverted.”

1. We tend to misuse those around us. People are turned to objects... used.

2. We tend to misuse the world around us.

“God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” [Genesis 1:28] (Have “dominion.” Wise management, not worship is required)

D. [v 21] “bondage” means slavery.

1. The fact that everything does not work out the way we want, show us that something else is happening.

2. “Law of sin and death” has the tendency to override the liberty to choose... when we choose to obey God.

Wesley – “ Adam made it liable to the sentence which God pronounced.”

II. Why is it this way?

A. We are caught between “already and the not yet.” [vv 18, 23]

1. [v 24] “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?”

a. KJV (“saved by hope”)... We are saved but are in a state of “hope.” That means we do not have it... except in confident expectation.

b. “We do not yet possess this full salvation.” (Wesley)

2. In other words, this is a promise. Similar to the Roman practice of adoption.

a. Adoption was done privately but was not legal until the public ceremony in the forum.

b. So this salvation we have is a two step thing: We have accepted it but we wait [v 23] (the creation waits.. [v 19])

B. We are caught between freedom and corruption. [v 21]

1. Paul has already framed the context:

“As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. [18] I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. [19] For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do this I keep on doing. [20] Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. [21] So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. [22] For in my inner being I delight in God's law; [23] but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. [24] What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? [25] Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God's law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” [Romans 7:17 – 25]

2. Jesus put it this way:

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.” [Matthew 26:41]

***** However, none of this excuses our failures or sin!*****

III. Are we left to ourselves? Absolutely NOT!

(We are justified by faith... God’s legal judgement is in our favor. While the judgement is in our favor, we have an entire life to live... and grow into that favorable judgement.)

A. [v 26] “The Spirit helps in our weaknesses..”

1. The “flesh” (sometimes translated as “body”) is a word Paul uses to mean something that appeals to this world, our flesh, and our desires.

For example: “lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.” [1 John 2:16 KJV]

2. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” [Romans 8:1]

3. This happens as the Spirit intercedes for us!

B. [vv 28 – 30] God’s plan.

1. The idea is that we are called, rendered innocent, and made excellent. (Called, justified, glorified)

2. All this is to move us to become “conformed to the image of his Son.” [v 29]

IV. Since the world (including us) is subjected to corruption [v 21], what are we to do?

A. We are required to manage it as best we can.

B. “Wait eagerly” (“expect fully”) calls us to action. (Act faithfully... belief drives action.)

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