June 29, 2012 – Devotion Sharing (Romans 5-8)

Submitted by Azuza L. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Romans 5-8 Outline

Chapter 5

  • (vv1-5) Because we are justified by faith, we have the following:
    • Peace with God through Jesus, who granted us access to this faith
    • Ability to rejoice in the hope of the glory of God
    • Ability to rejoice in our sufferings, because suffering will produce perseverance, which produces character, which produces hope
    • Hope in the love of God, guaranteed by the Holy Spirit which God’s given us
      • Demonstration of God’s love:  It’s rare enough for someone to die for a good man, but Christ died for us while we were still sinners (vv.6-8)
  • Adam vs. Jesus (vv12-19)
    • Through Adam
      • One man’s sin
      • Sin entered the world
      • Death entered through sin
      • Death came to all men
      • Judgment, condemnation
    • Through Jesus
      • Came after many trespasses
      • Justification
      • Life for all men
      • Many will be made righteous

Chapter 6

  • Dead to sin vs. Alive in Christ (vv1-14)
    • Dead to sin
      • Buried with Jesus through baptism into death
      • United with him in his death
      • Old self was crucified with him
      • No longer be slaves to sin
    • Alive in Christ
      • New life
      • United with him in his resurrection
      • Live with him
      • Alive to God
  • Slaves to sin vs. slaves to righteousness (vv15-23)
    • You are slaves to the one you obey
    • Slaves to sin
      • Leads to death
      • Free from the control of righteousness
      • No benefit to being a slave to sin—only results in death
    • Slaves to righteousness
      • Obedience leads to righteousness
      • Set free from sin
      • Benefit of being a slave to righteousness is that it reaps holiness; results in eternal life

Chapter 7

  • Died to the law, remarried to Christ (vv1-6)
    • Example: married woman is bound to her husband only as long as her husband lives
    • We died to the law through Christ, and now we belong to Christ
    • Released from the law to serve in the new way of the Spirit
  • Purpose of the law (vv7-13)
    • The law is holy, righteous, and good
    • Intended to bring life, but brought death through conviction of sin
    • Exists so that sin might be recognized as sin—utterly sinful and corrupt, and convicts people of sin
  • God’s law vs. law of sin (vv14-25)
    • Because of sin, we do what we don’t want to do, and don’t do what we want to do!
    • 2 natures at work—our new natures are slaves to God’s law, but the sinful nature is a slave to the law of sin
    • What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Chapter 8

  • No more condemnation! (vv1-4)
    • The law of the Spirit of life set us free from the law of sin and death
    • What the law was powerless to do, God did through Jesus—set us free from sin
  • Sinful nature vs. the Spirit (vv5-17)
    • Sinful nature
      • The mind of sinful man is death
      • Hostile to God
      • Cannot please God
      • Your body is dead because of sin
    • The Spirit
      • The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace
      • Spirit of God living in you
      • Your spirit is alive because of righteousness
      • Because Jesus was raised from the dead, God will also raise our mortal bodies through the Spirit who lives in us
      • Those led by the Spirit of God are sons of God
      • We received the Spirit of sonship (not fear)
        • The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children, heirs, and co-heirs with Christ who will share in his glory
  • Present sufferings vs. hope  (vv18-27)
    • Our present sufferings cannot compare with the glory that will be revelaed in us
    • Even creation is under the bondage of sin, and eagerly awaits liberation and freedom
    • We are eagerly awaiting in hope for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies
    • While here on earth, the Spirit helps us in our weaknesses, interceding for us with groans that words cannot express
  • God’s love and our lives (vv28-37)
    • If God is for us, who can be against us?
    • He didn’t spare even his own son—he is not withholding anything from us
    • Who can bring any charge against us?  God justified us already
    • Who can separate us from the love of God?  NOTHING can separate us from the love of God

Personal Reflection 

In reading these chapters, I was struck with the many comparisons that were made that show a saved life vs. an unsaved life.   Just to name a few: “death vs. life and peace,” “death vs. freedom,” “judgment vs. justification,” “slaves to sin vs. slaves to righteousness,” “old self vs. new life,” “sinful nature vs. the spirit.”  Paul goes through great pains to paint the picture of what we deserve, and what we now have because we are justified by faith in Jesus.  We deserve to reap the full consequences of our sins, to be burdened by guilt, shame, to be utterly alone and isolated from everything good.  We deserve a deadened, hollow life here on earth, and ultimate death apart from God forever.  But what do we have instead?  God offers life to the full, a chance to make peace with him and the mess we’ve made of our lives, and he offers us a way out of the enslavement of the sinful nature.   He offers us an enduring, persevering hope that nothing in this world can crush.  He calls us his children and assures us that there is NOTHING that can ever separate us from his love.

How is this possible?  Chapter 5 makes clear that it is through the gift offered by Jesus—because of his obedience, it reversed the trajectory of sin of mankind, so that there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

At times, it is very hard for me to grasp this because my sins are still so present.  I see the ugliness of my sins, I see the consequences that it has on my life and on others.   I fall into the same persistent sins over and over, and I want to despair.  I can relate with Paul’s sentiment—what I want to do I do not do, and what I do not want to do I do!  I think, “Surely God’s had it with me by now.   I need to show him that I’ve done a little better this time, I need to show him I’m getting over this sin.  I really should be over this by now!”  But in these passages, it addresses exactly what I am going through.  God knows we will continue to struggle!  He knows that though he has come to set us free from the law of sin, that our sinful natures are still bound to it.  He knows that we are, in our sinful nature, still slaves to sin.  Which is why he assures us of the way of the Spirit that he has saved us into.  He reminds us that we need to continually offer ourselves up to be slaves of righteousness, to set our minds on the things of the Spirit, to continue to place our hope on the redemption and eternal life he promises.   He assures us that even as we continue to fall into sin, even as uncertainties in life plague us, that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God, because he has already called us his own and given us a spirit of sonship.  In fact, his spirit himself is interceding for us.  So when I sin, yet again, I need to profess that Jesus is right when he said that I’m a sinner, and to keep holding onto his promises as I continue to struggle.

As I do this, and as I just accept God’s forgiveness rather than keep trying to prove that I’m over my sin, I am then brought to understand again that I have been given new life that I just don’t deserve.  I don’t have to keep going down the path of death, don’t have to keep trying to find new avenues to redeem myself, and I find renewed strength to keep struggling, because this is how God is going to shape me into the person he’s created me to be.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I thank you for your word today that has given me the strength I need again to keep struggling as I face my sins.  Lord, to not struggle would lead to death.  To give up would simply be offering myself to be a slave to sin.  Lord, help me to offer myself to you as a slave to righteousness, to keep confessing, to keep holding on to your word, to keep praying, trusting that as I do so, you will usher in life and victory.  Lord, I thank you for your promises that there is nothing, not even the most persistent of sins, that can keep me from your love.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen

Submitted by Jeff L. from Gracepoint Berkeley Church

Romans 5-8: Outline

Chapter 5:

  • Since Christ has justified us, we have peace with God.
  • We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.
  • We also rejoice in our sufferings, which builds our character and gives us real hope for the glory of God we will receive.
  • As Christ’s death brought us justification, so Christ’s life brings sanctification.
  • As sin came through Adam and spread death to all men, through Christ, there is righteousness and life for all men.

Chapter 6:

  • Those who have been saved by Christ have died with him.  We know that we will rise with Him if we have died with Him to our sinful nature.
  • So put to death sin in my life!
  • Become a slave of righteousness.

Chapter 7:

  • Death frees us from the law, so because we have died through Christ, we are free from the law…not to sin, but to serve by the Spirit.
  • I now have two natures – there is the Spirit living inside me, but also my old sinful nature.  I need to struggle & cry out to God for the Spirit to reign.

Chapter 8:

  • There is no condemnation now that we have been saved by Christ!
  • Now that we have been saved, we live by the Spirit.
  • We now have an obligation to live by the Spirit and put to death the sinful nature.
  • All of creation is awaiting the glory that will be revealed in us – as we wait, we groan, struggle & exercise patience in hope.  The Spirit helps us in this.
  • Because of Christ, therefore, we are completely victorious…nothing can separate us now from the love of God!

Personal Reflection:

As I reflect on chapters 5-8, one thing that I was reminded of is the fact that now that I have been saved, there is really one task that I am called to, which is the pursuit of holiness in learning to live by the Spirit.  Now that I have been justified by Christ and there is no more condemnation, my task in life is to focus all of my energy and zeal in not letting sin reign in my mortal body, not offering the parts of my body to sin and putting to death the misdeeds of the body.  I am to live by the Spirit, as a slave to righteousness, and the more I do that, the more I will experience the life of joy and peace that comes from sowing to the Spirit.  The pursuit of holiness…the pursuit, put simply, to become like Christ, is the one endeavor that I need to give myself to wholeheartedly each and every day.

For this summer, I want to give myself to becoming like Christ in the area of loving others and giving myself to people.  I still shock myself at times with regards to how small hearted I am, and I really want to put to death my selfishness and ego by giving myself to loving the precious people God has placed in my life.  As God worked so mightily this past weekend at the Element High School retreat, I want to commit to giving myself to all of the precious students that God has entrusted to our care.  There are so many students now to love, follow up with, disciple and build up…to keep the momentum created by the retreat going, to train up the students how to get more out of daily devotions, reading through the Bible, etc.  I commit to not slowing down or holding back, but living by the Spirit in the form of pouring out myself in love to the people God has entrusted to me.

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