Sunday, 3 August 2014

TFTD - 31 July 2014 - Thoughts from Today's Bible Readings

31 July 2014

2 Samuel 17
Jeremiah 21
Romans 7; 8

“IF GOD BE FOR US”

Today we read two of the most meaningful chapters in the Bible for those who truly sense they are “called to be saints.”  [Romans 1:7] They are a sequel to yesterday’s chapters - Romans 5 and 6 - that challenge believers that they, “having been set free from sin” must now be “slaves to righteousness.” [Romans 6:18]  The sacrifice of Jesus brought an end to the law of Moses, a law which spelt out all the ways that humans become classified as sinners in God’s eyes. In its place we have, says Paul, “received the spirit of adoption, as sons (and daughters) by which we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ [Romans 8:15] Let us sense as fully as we can that we became the adopted children of God when put on the name of his Son in baptism; let us think positively of the wonder and privilege of this!

It was a spirit which transformed the world of the first century - and there was a renewal of this spirit to a considerable degree in the wider world when the Bible was first printed and available for all to read.

Romans 7; 8 today go together; we should ignore the chapter break.   It is essential we develop a spiritual mind, in contrast to a fleshly mind - there is nothing in-between.   Paul says, “those who live according to the spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit … the mind of the spirit is life and peace.” [Romans 8:5-6]  This “set” of our minds, develops to greater and greater degrees the more we meditatively read God’s word and this letter of Paul is an outstanding and inspirational example.

Paul says, “If God be for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? … Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation or distress … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through him who loved us.  For I am sure that neither death nor life … nor things to come … nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” [Romans 8:31,35,37-39]   God will certainly be “for us” - as long as we are for him and show we are trying our best to be “slaves to righteousness.”

When we come to Romans 15,  verse 13 will ‘jump out’ at us  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” This is not the power to do miracles, it is having a genuine spiritual mind in contrast to a fleshly mind: absorb the point Paul makes in what we read in Romans 8:5 ‘For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”  And, O,  the wonder then of God being “for us.”
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- DC


Thought for the Day

31 July 2014

"And how shall they hear without a preacher?" This is the down-to-earth question of the great Apostle whose total dedication to the service of Christ and to the work of the Gospel urged him ever on in search of new fields of activity (cf. Romans 15:18-21). It is a reminder that while God is not dependent on any of us, yet the normal medium He employs is human agency. Seed can be borne great distances by birds, by wind or river, but the harvests of the earth are the fruits of human endeavour. The Parable of the Sower shows this clearly, and Christ instructed his followers to pray to the Lord to send forth labourers into His harvest."

- T.J. Barling
The Spirit of Our Witness