This week Michael writes: In the long distance race of life, when we fall, our Father will pick us up and helps us to cross the finish line. According to Romans 8, the whole world is suffering. In Romans 7 Paul ends with a question, "the things I want to do, I don't do and the things that I don't want to do, I do. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver us from this dead body?" This leads to the answer in Romans 8, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”
The moment we were born, we were in sin ... and sin leads to death. Sin was built into the nature of the flesh. We inherited it from the original sin of doubt and disobedience that Adam committed in the Garden of Eden. The Old Testament Law is the law of sin and death. However, the moment we were “born again” of the New Testament law of the spirit of life in Christ, we began to live. Our new life is the result of our righteousness in Him alone. Jesus Christ redeemed us from the sin nature that we inherited from Adam. For He was made the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him. We live in a fallen world of failure, sin, and unrighteousness ...of missing the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. However, the law of the spirit of life in Christ has set us free from the law of sin and death. In our flesh dwells no good thing. The Old Testament law proves that we fall short of God's righteousness. However, we have been saved by grace through faith. We did not deserve it. We were saved not because of our own merit, but because of the great love wherewith He loved us. It is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. God has called us to the body of Christ so that we can lift one another up .... so that we can carry each other according to His plan. We who have received salvation are no longer ruled by the sin nature. We now live in the righteousness of the spirit of life of Christ in us.
Every culture has had its own method of capital punishment. In bible times, one of the worst forms of capital punishment was to strap a dead body to the one to be executed. The criminal would die a slow and agonizing death, rotting with the dead body strapped to his back. As Paul said, "who shall deliver me from this dead body?" God condemned sin in the flesh by the completed work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. He has delivered me from "the body of this death." He will rescue us from certain (second) death. In the midst of trials and tribulations, our response is "I knew you'd come." His purpose was to lay down his life as a sacrifice for sin and death on our behalf to free us from the law of sin and death.
We need to choose to focus on the blessings of God. For the spirit of life in Christ has made us free from the law of sin and death. Some things life-threatening illness cannot do: It cannot cancel the love of God. It cannot silence courage. It cannot suppress friendship. It cannot lessen the power of the resurrection. It cannot separate us from the love of God and the glory that shall be revealed in us. A life-threatening illness is an opportunity to glory, not in our own flesh, but rather in the glory of God. The righteousness of the Spirit of God in Christ in us has delivered us from this dead body, the law of flesh. As God said to Paul, my strength is made perfect in thy weakness, my grace is sufficient for thee.
Our exhortation is to live for the gospel: this present suffering is so that we may find our identity, not in the suffering of this world but rather in the glory of God. As Paul said at the end or Romans 8, our declaration is: "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or persecution or famine or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ, Michael