Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kept Securely in Christ (Part 2)

Eternal security

Romans 8:5-25
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors — not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labours with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. 

In our last talk, we looked at our new position in Christ Jesus- a position of no condemnation both now and in the future because Christ in the likeness of sinful flesh offered Himself an offering for sin; so that the law of sin and death can no longer condemn me rather the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free forever. So I have a new position of no condemnation. Still bearing in mind our central theme – Kept Securely in Christ Jesus which is the theme of Romans Chapter 8, we shall today discuss vv, 5 -25.

Our New Life in Christ Jesus

In vv 5-13, Paul discusses the second of our New Things in Christ Jesus – Our new Life. Although you hardly hear the Spirit of God discussed in the Book of Romans; yet our new life is the Spirit of God at work. When we read of the contrast between those who “walk after the flesh” and those who “walk after the Spirit”; we are not reading a contrast between two kinds of Christians. God does not reason like we do. We think of Christians who walk after the flesh and Christians who walk after the Spirit; but with God Christians walk after the Spirit and non-Christians walk after the flesh. That is why Paul asserted in v.9 “But you are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be the Spirit of God dwells in you” Again the Bible has this to say; “If any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” Every Christian therefore has the Spirit of God, and if he has the Spirit  of God, he is not in the flesh because to be in the flesh is death and we have passed from death to life. The Christian is the one who is in the Spirit. No Christian is in the flesh. It is impossibility.

Sometimes, Christians like to pamper themselves to excuse their sin. They say, “We are not saints! we cannot attain where God expects us to be” so they try to bring in two classes of Christians. The flesh however remains in the Christian, although the Christian is not in the flesh. He may feel that way when he does not yield to God. To be in the flesh means to return under the bondage of law. This is impossible for having left the law, you cannot return to the law.

If Christ is in you, what about the body? The answer is “the body is dead”. Is the body dead because Christ is in you? No; it is dead in spite of the fact. Then a second question: If Christ is in you, what about the Spirit? The Spirit is life because of righteousness. One may ask: What is he teaching us here? He is simply teaching that the body we have is not redeemed yet in the final sense; it is still subject to sickness and to death. This is where those who propagate the wrong doctrines that a Christian cannot be sick or even die are wrong. They are in effect saying; the body has already been redeemed. It is true that if Christ is in you, even though the body is dead, the Spirit is life. But what about the body; shall we lose it? Not at all – He shall quicken your mortal bodies. So we now have a new life – we have a life in the Spirit. We shall have life in the body at His coming, when this our corruptible body shall inherit incorruptible.

Our New Relationship in Christ Jesus 

In vv 14 – 17, Paul goes another step further. He had discussed our new position – no condemnation and our New Life – life in the Spirit. These two point to a New Relationship. All sons of men are condemned (Romans 1-3) and they live in the flesh – but having been redeemed, we are no longer condemned and live now in the Spirit we have therefore become “sons of God”, “children” and “joint heirs” On the judicial side, God adopted us as sons with every legal right as sons. But He was able to do more than go through a legal ceremony of putting us into His family; He actually gave us His Spirit so that we are in His family as members by nature. Because we are conscious of this, we call Him “Father”. What a new relationship! – Father-son relationship. What new rights are imputed to us? – the right of children and joint heirs with Christ. That is why in the Book of Hebrews we are told, “Christ is not ashamed to call us brethren” We have a new relationship.

What do we get from these new things – New Position, New Life, and New Relation? Paul in vv 18-25 discusses our New Hope.

Our New Hope in Christ Jesus 

Paul in this passage personifies all of nature. He says the whole of nature is looking for just one thing, and that is “the manifestation of the sons of God”

There are three classes or three realms that groan: First, the Creation groans, waiting for the release from the endless cycle of corruption. Then we ourselves groan; the believer groans because he is still in the body. He groans waiting for that day. Not only that, but even the Holy Spirit groans (v.27)
All nature is groaning because of the curse resulting from man’s failure in the Garden of Eden. The sea groans, the animals groan, the vegetation groans, they all have one hope – one day the curse will be removed. Though man is not cursed, he also has the same one hope that one day he will be manifested as the son of God. In a striking relationship, the removal of the curse on nature is associated with “the manifestation of the sons of God”

So in these few verses in Romans Chapter 8, we have been lifted from nothingness to the position where we are awaiting our manifestation as sons of God. We are not awaiting for the day we shall be sons. No, positionally, and legally we are already sons, but because the dead body is still with the Spirit, which is life, we are awaiting the day of manifestation as sons of God when the mortal bodies shall be quickened.

So in Christ Jesus, we have a new position – position of no condemnation, we have a new Life – Life in the Spirit. These two new things – position and life, lift us to a new relationship – relationship of sons of God, children, and joint heirs with Christ. This therefore, makes us to call God “Father” with all the rights and privileges attached to it. Though now we suffer and are not inheritors of our full relationship we have a new hope that in a very near future we shall be manifested as sons of God and the whole nature which today groans, we ourselves who today groan, because of the dead body and the Spirit which also groans for our infirmities will on that day rejoice for the curse would have been lifted as we are manifested.

What a great thing is ours in Christ Jesus. We have all things and abound because we are in Christ Jesus. Next week we shall take the third and final part of this chapter – Our New Help, Our New Knowledge and our New Assurance. May the grace of God keep us hopeful in Him. 

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