Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A Threat...or a Promise?

Five months ago, God drew me into a unique fellowship called D-Group. It's been one of the best decisions of my life. Every week, I meet with a special group of sisters who are pursuing Jesus, seeking to be His disciples, and spurring one another on in our love for Him. Together, we study the Word, hide the Truth in our hearts, confess our sins, pray for one another, and hold each other accountable to grow up in every way into Christ.

We've started off the new year diving deep into the book of Romans. This may seem a well-worn book for many of us, but the Word of God is alive, and so it never fails to amaze with new treasure and fresh revelations of our Life-Giver. Today I opened the pages to read an oh-so-familiar portion from Romans chapter 8, and lo and behold...He's doing it again! Breathing new life into my bones. May I blow a bit of it your way?

What threatens you right now? Changing circumstances? Financial hardship? Relational pain? Sickness? A difficult person? A tough job? Impossible expectations? The loss of something precious? The unknown? 

Whatever it may be, we all have something that shadows us with dread, those things that we view as threats to our well-being. 

I find it fascinating that Romans 8:31 begins in this way: "What then shall we say to these things?" 

What things?

If you back-track to what Paul has just been discussing (verses 18-30), he seems to be referring to those things that we naturally confront as threats. 

Suffering. That covers a lot. Life in this world hurts. 

Futility and corruption. Paul says the whole creation groans in this bondage. The twisted fingers of sin have touched and marred every part of the perfect beauty that God first spoke into being. 

Waiting. An unfulfilled longing for something we desperately want but don't have. 

Weakness. Oh, how we hate this reality of our fallen humanity. We treat it like a despised disease. We search for a cure. We'll do everything in our power to gild over the cracks and make it look like we have it all together, while everything inside is falling apart. 

The fear of what will happen. It's not named, but implied. We fear the unknown ahead because we believe that bad things will happen.

One more threat I see implied in this passage: the fear of walking through life unknown, unloved, and purposeless. That can suck a soul dry.

What, indeed, shall we say to THESE THINGS?

Let's finish Paul's thought: "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

This, Beloved, is what we can say! But how can we be sure that God is for us? Lean in; look closer. Do you see it? Every potential threat in this passage is paired with a promise from our Father!

God IS for us--because He is preparing to reveal a glory in and to us that is indescribably greater than our present sufferings.

God IS for us--because He has adopted us as His sons and daughters, and He has promised to restore all things in us and in creation that have been corrupted by sin.

God IS for us--because He's given us the hope of a glorious future and the grace to wait for it with patience.

God IS for us--because He's given us His Spirit to help us in our weakness and to intercede for us.

God IS for us--because He works ALL THINGS together for our good. Nothing that is truly bad can happen to the child of God. Even what the enemy means for evil, God means for good to us. In the end, everything, whether we see it as good or bad, plays into God's hands.

God IS for us--we can never be unknown, unloved, or purposeless, because He knew us even before he formed the world, and He has chosen us, called us to be His own, justified and glorified us!

Now stay with me....it gets even better! Paul introduces a beautiful progression in verse 34: "Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died--more than that, who was raised--who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us."

Jesus died so your sin-enslaved self could die with Him. Then He was raised so you could be raised with Him to a new life, free to be all you were created to be! And not only that, but He is at the right hand of God, so that you can be with Him right now in the heavenly places--and not only that, but He is always interceding for you! Jesus never rests from representing you before the Father as your advocate, your justifier, and your interceder! Beloved, you are hidden WITH Christ IN God! Nothing can threaten you in this place...NOTHING!

So I can say with Paul...I AM SURE...that nothing will be able to separate me from the love of my Father in Yeshua, the Son! Consider this...nothing can ever separate the Son from the Father's love and their perfect union as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So because you are IN THE SON, nothing can ever separate you, IN THE SON, from the Father's love and from eternal union with God!