BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For Sunday October 16, 2011
IT’S ALL ABOUT CERTAINTY
(Christians can be certain of the HOLY SPIRIT’s work in their lives)
After teaching about our human struggles with sin in chapter 7, Paul now shifts gears to tell us that we don’t have to lose those struggles if we have and obey the SPIRIT of CHRIST living in us. There is no condemnation awaiting those who belong to CHRIST, because the power of the life-giving SPIRIT has freed them from the power of sin that leads to death (Romans 8:1-2).
GOD first, sent HIS law to us, in order to expose to us, our sinful nature. HE wanted us to see just how far we were from HIS divine standards. Once we were able to see for ourselves how we couldn’t function in righteousness in our own strength, HE then sent HIS only begotten SON, in human form, to save us from ourselves. By doing so, HE destroyed sin’s dominion over us, by way of JESUS’ vicarious sacrifice on the cross. That way, HIS requirements under HIS law could be fully accomplished for those who choose to abandon the old master (our sin nature), and take up residence with the new master (JESUS), living in the SPIRIT (Romans 8:3-4).
When we are dominated by our “sin nature”, we only think about sinful things, however, if we allow ourselves to be controlled by the HOLY SPIRIT, we will soon begin to share the mind of CHRIST, thinking only of those things that please the SPIRIT. Letting our minds dwell on sinful things can only lead to death, but when we allow the HOLY SPIRIT to control our mind, it leads to life and peace. The “sin nature” in us is hostile toward GOD, and is incapable of pleasing GOD because it cannot, and will not ever allow us to obey GOD’s laws (Romans 8:5-8).
The term “Christian” is not just something that we can declare ourselves to be. We have to have the SPIRIT of CHRIST living in us, having a positive GODly effect on our behavior. If we don’t reflect the image of JESUS CHRIST through our behavior, then, we are not really Christian at all, no matter how many times we declare it, real Christians, act like it (Romans 8:9). When we become Christians at heart, even though our bodies succumb to death because of sin, our spirit is still alive because we have been made right with GOD through JESUS CHRIST. The SPIRIT of GOD, WHO raised JESUS from the dead, lives in us, and just as HE raised JESUS from the dead, HE also gives life to our mortal bodies (Romans 8:10-11).
Because the HOLY SPIRIT lives within us, we don’t have to obey our sinful nature any longer. In fact, if we continue to give way to its urgings, we run the risk of being permanently separated from GOD forever when this life here on earth comes to an end. However, if we adhere to the promptings of the HOLY SPIRIT in us, we will be able to overcome the gravitational pull of our sin nature, and will gain eternal life with GOD in the end. Only those who are lead by the SPIRIT are children of GOD (Romans 8:12-14).
We must begin to live as though we are children of the Almighty GOD, who are adopted into HIS family and call HIM father. In fact, as Christians, the HOLY SPIRIT speaks deep within our hearts, reminding us that we are GOD’s children. We share all of the treasures of GOD, and JESUS is ours too. However, with those privileges comes the responsibility to also share in CHRIST’s suffering. We must be willing to drink from the cup which JESUS drank (Romans 8:15-17).
The Christian Hope is invincible, because it is founded in GOD. Peace, hope, patience, comfort, and love are the things that men, such as Paul, recognized in GOD. Here in Paul’s letter to the Romans, as it is expressed in chapter 8 verse 19, in his original Greek writings, Paul uses a wonderful word for “earnest expectation” or hope for the future. It is “apokaradokia” (a-pock-a-rah-do-KEE-ah), and it describes the attitude of a man, who scans the horizon, with his head thrust forward, as he eagerly anticipates the first signs of the coming of the glory of GOD.
You see, for Paul, life was not an overbearing and defeated waiting, but rather, it was a throbbing and very vivid expectation. The Christian has always been, is now, and will forever be, a part of the “human experience”. By that I mean, from within, we must all suffer with our own “sin nature”, in the Greek, “epithumia” (ep-i-thoo-mee-ah), that war we wage within ourselves between reason and passion. And from the outside, we must all live in a world full of death and decay, as we continue to suffer the consequences of the sins of others.
But, thanks to GOD, as Christians, we do not just live in the world. As Christians, we also live in JESUS CHRIST. Therefore, we do not see only the world, but we must look beyond this world, to GOD. That way, we do not just see the consequences of ours, and other people’s sin, we’re also able to see the power and mercy of GOD’s love. And so we see that the essence to the Christian Faith must always be hope, and never despair. The true Christian isn’t waiting for death, but rather, we wait for life. The true Christian, just like Paul, must always wait, in “apokaradokia”.
GOD does not want us to wallow in the troubles and failures of this life. HE wants us to always, through our strength in CHRIST JESUS, be able to look beyond this world to a future with HIM. We need to know that HIS power and love will always be able to overpower all of the worries and issues of this life. And, we can finally come to rest in the thought, that this life is not the final act of the human drama, when we truly have faith, and trust in GOD.
As Christians, we know that all things work together for good, to those who love GOD (Romans 8:28), but when trouble comes, we’re sometimes hard pressed to recall it. Paul was convinced that nothing could separate him from the love and safety found in GOD (Romans 8:38-39), and we, if we are truly believers, should be convinced of that too.
(1). Try to recall a time in your life when GOD has worked out a situation for your
good, when you could only see the bad.
(2). Now think of a time when you went ahead and tried to work something out in
your own strength, and after failing, realized that you should have prayed first,
and then, waited on GOD to work it out, through HIS strength.
(3). Suffering and hardship does not mean that we’ve been abandoned by GOD, nor
are we ever separated from HIS love. No matter what happens to Christians in
this life, GOD forever holds us firmly in HIS mighty hands.
Write down on a piece of paper, what you believe to be currently, your biggest problems. Then go to GOD in prayer over those problems, or situations, and ask GOD to remove them from your life if it be HIS will. And if it’s not HIS will, pray that HE give you the strength to endure in suffering for the faith you have in HIM that HE will work things out for the greater good, in the end.
KEY VERSE: Romans 8:28
DEVOTIONAL PASSAGES: Isaiah 26:3-4, Psalm 40:1-3, Philippians 4:6-7