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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Meditations on Romans 8: Therefore... (Romans 8:1)

I'm working through memorizing Romans 8 these days with another fellow-Believer. As I'm going through each verse, I'm finding "succulent details" (as one person called them) in God's Word. These are powerful insights God is using to nourish my spiritual life. So I thought I would periodically pass some of them along to you in the form of brief meditations.

I'll begin with the very first word of Romans 8:1, "Therefore...." Anyone who's heard me preach before probably knows exactly what I'm about to say, right?

Altogether now: "Anytime we read a 'therefore' in the Bible, we should always ask what the 'therefore' is there for!"

Of course, this little saying isn't original with me, although I honestly don't know where I first heard it. Also, I'm sure I'm not the first person to underscore the importance of the "therefore" which begins Romans 8.

In the immediate preceeding context, Paul has just finished Romans 7. You'll recall that this is the chapter where Paul voices his personal struggle with the battle every Believer faces: "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. 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" (Romans 7:18-19, NIV).

After Paul explains his painful struggle, he cries, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God-- through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 7:24-25a)!

Now we can better see the meaning for the "therefore" which begins Romans 8, can't we? Paul is about to tell us more concerning his "rescue from the body of death through Jesus Christ." The key to victory in his spiritual life is Jesus Christ! Or, we might put things this way: Paul's sinful nature brought defeat; the power of the Holy Spirit brought deliverance!

So, if we too have truly experienced Christ's rescue, deliverance, or salvation, "therefore" what? Well, this is what we're about to explore.

Paul wrote in Galatians 5:1, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." Believers are free in Christ (John 8:32, 36; Romans 8:1-2), but they must "stand firm" in spiritual freedom.

Yet, how do we stand firm in our freedom? We must live in light of the truth of God's Word in the power of His Spirit.

"Therefore," let's walk in Christ's deliverance together as we live in light of God's truth in Romans 8 by the power of the Holy Spirit!

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