Fight for Joy! Blog
Where Jesus Changes Everything
I am five days into my Bible reading plan for 2017. Although I am five days in I have read a chapter ahead in a few books, Romans not withstanding. The selected reading for today, therefore, is Romans 6. This great chapter builds towards the greatest chapter in all the Bible--Romans 8. For now, however, the focus is on being dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.
Reading: Romans 6
"For he who has died is freed from sin" Romans 6:7
Paul's letter to the Romans is the greatest letter ever written. I think I've said that many times. And if Romans is the greatest letter then chapter 8 is the greatest chapter. Paul’s primary purpose in writing Romans was to teach the great truths of the gospel of grace to believers who had never received apostolic instruction. It is a deeply spiritual and thoroughly theological treatment of the gospel. One of my college professors who is now with Jesus--Ray Frank Robbins--referred to Romans as the Constitution of Christianity.
John MacAruther writes, "The overarching theme of Romans is the righteousness that comes from God: the glorious truth that God justifies guilty, condemned sinners by grace alone through faith in Christ alone." In the first few chapters Paul discusses the condemnation of all mankind and our need for the righteousness of God in Christ. He explains how we can have that righteousness through faith alone in Christ alone to the glory of God alone.
Chapter six begins his great exposition on sanctification. In Christ, we are dead to sin and alive to Christ. In fact, he writes in verse 11, "Consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). The word consider means "to reckon." In other words, it means I am to take into account what it means to be made righteous in Christ and to live accordingly. In this case, I am to consider myself to be dead to sin. In other words sin no longer has power over me. The power of sin has been broken. If I am dead to sin then I ought to be about the business of mortifying remaining sin in my life because I am dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
To be alive to God in Christ Jesus means we are in fellowship and union with Him. We are, by God's amazing grace, members of Christ.
Prayer: Lord, help me to do as Paul commands: to consider myself dead to sin but alive to God in Christ. Help me to understand and experience this sanctified life to the fullest for Your glory.
Today begins day 1 of my journey thorugh the Bible using a modified version Professor Grant Horner's Bible Reading Plan. As often as I can I plan to post a devotional thought from one of the selected readings for the day.
Reading: Genesis 1
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Genesis 1:1
Genesis is a book about beginnings. The English title, Genesis, comes from the Greek tanslation meaning "origins". The Hebrew title is derived from the Bible's very first word, re'shiyth, which is translated "in the beginning." The New Testament writers quoted from Genesis over 35 times and there are hundreds of allusions to Genesis in both the Old and New Testaments. Genesis accounts for the beginning of creation, the beginning of time, the beginning of history, the beginning of God's chosen people--Israel, and the beginning of redemption. In fact, the story of redemption which begins in Genesis 3 is not fully completed until the last two chapters of the Bible--Revelation 21 and 22.
Who is this God about whom the author of Genesis writes in Genesis 1:1 as the Creator of all things? He is none other than Jesus Christ. Speaking of Christ, Paul writes, "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him" (Colossians 1:15-16). The writer of Hebrews says the same thing, pointing out it is Christ, "through whom also He made the world" (Hebrews 1:2).
Although it is not fully revealed in Genesis 1, Christ is God the Creator. What is fully revealed in Genesis 1, is God creating heaven and earth (1) very recently, i.e., thousands not millions of year ago; (2) out of nothing; and (3) in six consecutive 24 hour days. The Bible is at variance with any philosophy that excludes God or suggests a creation date earlier than about 10,000 years ago.
An orderly creation acount reveals the fact of God's existence. In Romans Paul writes, "For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power, and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). The heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1) includes all of creation.
God's creation also reveals He is a God of purpose. This is seen, not only the creation account itself, but His revelation of Himself to and through Israel.
Prayer: God, I praise you for who you are--the Creator, My redeemer and King. Help me to wonder after Your creation and discover my place in it.
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Striving to glorify God by becoming more like Jesus.
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