Category Archives: writing
God’s Holy Spirit helps us pray, because we are incapable of praying well on our own. We know nothing about addressing the God of the universe, and it is difficult for us to come up with the right words to use to express our most serious requests to God. In addition, we don’t always pray with the right attitude or viewpoint. Sometimes we pray selfish prayers that do not give proper respect and honor to God. By rights God should strike us dead every time we do this. But He doesn’t. He has mercy on us because of the blood that Jesus shed for us on the cross. So when we pray, the Holy Spirit cleans up our prayers and deletes the bad parts and makes them acceptable to God. Without His help it would be impossible for us to communicate with God through prayer.
I am such a weak and sinful person that I can’t even pray right! But God has put the Holy Spirit in me in order to make that communication possible.
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 NIV)
The Bible says that true believers are children of God. The Apostle Paul says that the Holy Spirit affirms our place in God’s family:
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; (Romans 8:14-15 NIV)
Here it says that the Holy Spirit does not make us slaves, because slaves live in fear of their master. Slaves never know what their master is going to do to them. He may sacrifice their well-being or even their lives for his own benefit.
But children, on the other hand, know that their father has their best concerns in mind. Being a child requires obedience just as a slave must be obedient, yet children are accorded more inherent value. Whereas it is normal for a master to sacrifice his slaves for his own best interest, a true father sacrifices himself for the welfare of his children. That, I think is why we are called children of God, because God sincerely cares about us the way a father cares about children, and even sent Jesus to die for us, affirming that we are of great value to Him. One would not expect a master to do this kind of thing for someone who is merely a slave.
However, there are other passages in the Bible that seem to say that we are slaves of God:
Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:19)
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it asbondslaves of God. (I Peter 2:16)
How can one verse of the Bible say that we are slaves to God, and another verse say that we are not? The best answer that I can come up with is that we are by rights slaves of God, and ought to see ourselves as slaves of God and behave as slaves of God. We have no basis for demanding sonship from God. And yet God Himself chooses by grace to make us sons. Jesus purchased us from damnation and slavery to sin by His own blood: therefore we owe Him everything we have including our very body and souls. We are happy to be His slaves. And Yet, by His incredible grace He has chosen to make us more than just slaves. God has chosen to make us sons. Such is His incredible love for us.
True Believers Are Free to serve God in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code
These verses below are potentially confusing, so I will try to explain them.
For when we were in the realm of the flesh,[a] the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death. 6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code. (Romans 7:5-6 NIV)
Human beings are born in the realm of the flesh, as slaves to our lusts. We are aware, whether we admit it or not, that God has a law of righteousness for us to follow. The problem is we cannot keep the law because we are weak. Our consciences tell us what is good, but instead of obeying it we begin to lust with sinful passions aroused by the law. We are naturally evil so that we automatically want to do things just because we know we shouldn’t. These lusts end up making us bear fruit for death, that is, made us commit sins that result in our condemnation and judgment to.
However, there is a way to escape from this condemnation. By dying with Christ spiritual we have been released from the law. This does not mean that we ignore the law. The law is still good; right is still right and wrong is still wrong. However, we are no longer condemned for breaking a single rule of the law. We now live by grace through faith in Christ Jesus, so that we can have confidence that past sins have been completely forgiven.
The result of this is that the person who is freed from the law is able to keep the law better than the person who is bound to it! The person who is bound to the law stumbles often because he staggers beneath a load that he is not strong enough to carry. But the person saved by grace is given power by God to do what is right out of gratitude rather than obligation. Those who are believers are able to carry much heavier loads, because God Himself is actually carrying our load for us. Therefore we serve and obey God joyfully in the new way of the spirit, and not the old way of the written code.
The result of your sin and selfishness is death. But God, because He loves you, has provided a way out. If you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for your sins, you will be save. But if you refuse to repent and obey God, and continue to live for yourself, you will die in your sins and go to hell. There is no salvation besides that which comes through Christ Jesus.
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
A lot of us are “sometimes do gooders.” That means that we sometimes do good in order to make people think we are great people. We give to the poor, help out at charities so that people will recognize our unique talents and inherant value.
But people who are truly concerned about doing good are not interested in making themselves look good. They are slaves of righteousness. These are the people who have repented for their sins and been forgiven for their wicked pasts. They don’t try to act like they’re better than others, because they know that they are not. Rather, they make themselves slaves to honor God and their fellow man by doing what is right.
Repent of your horrible sins. If you repent and believe in Jesus Christ God will forgive you and make you pure and righteous. Stop being a slave to sin. Be a slave to what is right as the Apostle Paul wrote:
I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. (Romans 6:19)
Christians need to live as if we are dead to sin. In fact, if we are true believers and not just fake Christians, we are dead to sin. Every moment of every day we need to ask ourselves the simple question: what is the right thing to do, and what is the wrong thing? There is no reason to live for sin, since we know that the end result of selfishness is disappointment and judgment. But the new life we live in Christ we live to His glory.
In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (Romans 6:11-12)
The day I was baptized I was making a public statement to the world: “I have been washed in the blood of Christ. I am dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
In the fifth chapter of Romans the Apostle Paul explained why God exposes our sin:
The law was brought in so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21 NIV)
What Paul is saying here is that God gave us the law (rules about right and wrong) not to make us perfect, but to expose our sin and prove to us that we are sinners. He did this because He loves us. Once our sin is exposed and diagnosed we can be given the cure: the blood of Christ. The law is like the Xrays that surgeons use to expose cancer or damaged tissue. These health problems can only be fixed after they have been revealed to the doctor. Likewise God exposes our sins so that we know we need to take the antidote. If you repent of your sins and believe in Jesus Christ who died for you, you will be saved from them.
All people are born into this world as sinners, and commit horrible acts against each other. We are sinners in the fashion of our father, Adam, who sinned before we were born. But God sent His Son to die on the cross so that all who want to would have the opportunity to believe and be forgiven of their sins. Thus we can be saved by the actions of another man, just as our species was cursed by the actions of another man.
But God’s grace is greater than the sin curse, for all of us who have been born sinners have contributed to our own judgment by individual, personal, conscious acts of sin. Not everything we do can be blamed on Adam: our individual sins are the results of our own choices. We did not love God. Instead we loved ourselves and hurt others.
But God’s grace is greater because we can still be saved even though our individual actions have confirmed the sin nature we were born with. God is so loving that He still will forgive us for the sins that we have willfully joined in on, as long as we believe in His Son and repent of our sins. I think this is what the Apostle Paul is saying in verses 15 through 17 of Romans chapter 5:
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!(Romans 5:15-17 NIV)
Those who follow my blog regularly know that I am in the process of blogging verse by verse through the book of Romans. Today I am supposed to comment on the text below:
To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come. (Romans 5:13-14 NIV)
Well, I’ve decided not to comment on this passage. It’s just too difficult for me. Here in this passage we see some of the Apostle Paul’s hardest and most intricate logic. I think I understand some of it, but not enough of it that I am able to comment on this passage for fear that I might be making a mistake or misrepresenting what he was saying. So I will pass on this one because, frankly, I don’t know everything.
Bear in mind that our Lord’s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. (II Peter 3:15-16 NIV)
If you want to become a Christian you need to admit that you are powerless and ungodly, as the Apostle Paul says:
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
Some religions teach you that you are not powerless and ungodly, but that you are a good, powerful person, who can impress God so much with your good works that God will allow you into heaven. But true Christianity does not preach this. True Christianity preaches that you a sinner and powerless to save yourself. But God sent Jesus to die for you not because He was impressed by your good works, but because He loved you and had compassion on you. If you know that you are a powerless and ungodly person, then you are the perfect candidate for Christianity. You know that you are wicked, and yet God values you because you are human. He will cleanse you of all your guilt and reward you for your faith if you repent of your sins and trust in Him to save you. You cannot save yourself.