Summary: Many of us have a hard time managing change. But God is the change management expert of all time. He uses a special secret to help bring about change that is just awesome and answers some basic problems we have with living life here.
Chapter 8 of Romans is all about how to live a life dedicated to loving and serving God while living in a fleshly body in a world opposed to Him and facing an enemy bound and determined to thwart your efforts and God’s to change you from your image into His.
Seems like the cards are stacked against us. The good news is that we have God’s secret weapon, His own Spirit, placed inside of us like a wonderful positive virus that slowly but surely takes control of our spiritual DNA. It’s like we got a spirit transplant. In a physical transplant, when someone gets a new heart for example, the recipient’s DNA slowly replaces the DNA of the transplanted tissue. For the believer in Jesus Christ it’s like that, only in reverse. Slowly over time and experience, the DNA of God’s Spirit takes over for our pre-programmed, fleshly DNA, and we become like Him.
But the Spirit of God in our lives is so much more than that. While He is at work on the inside, He has done things for us on the outside and will continue to work on our behalf—and that’s what chapter 8 of Romans is all about.
1. Setting us free & making us alive (from the law of sin and death to the law of the Spirit of life, vs 1-12)
2. Welcoming us into a new family (live like a son or daughter, not a slave, enjoy a close, intimate relationship with your Abba, which the Spirit urges us to do, vs 12 – 17)
3. Transforming us (while we wait patiently, and watch God work on our behalf, vs 18 – 30)
4. Providing for us (advocacy, provision, intercession, protection, victory, and an unbreakable connection, vs 31 – 39)
Last time we saw our position as uncondemned, free from the law of sin and death, able now to focus on setting our mind and lifestyle on the law of the Spirit and life, and belonging to a loving Father to whom we cry “Abba.” But in the day to day struggle against the flesh, sometimes we lose sight of the end goal and despair that God can’t really make us perfect, can He? Aren’t we just too damaged to repair? The good news is that there are five truths we will uncover in this portion of Romans—truths that show us God is at work for us and in us for now, and for the future.
In the 12 verses in the middle of this chapter, Paul brings us some hope that not only can God do it, He is doing it. We come out of a verse where Paul says we will suffer if we belong to Jesus. But the good news is that the suffering we endure here has eternal ramifications.
18 – You aren’t going to stay the way you are
There is a wonderful section in 1 Peter that this section in Romans reminds me of:
1 Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Every time you find yourself trusting God with a little bit more of your life, the more gold he is creating in your soul. You can’t really see it, though you might sense the changes, but one day you are going to burst forth with such incredible glory that’ll even surprise you! And not just in us.
19 – 25 You aren’t the only one hoping for something better
We are part of something awesome that God is doing—His big story: creation, fall, redemption, restoration. We are in the redemption chapter right now, but the restoration chapter is right around the corner, a preview happening in our hearts but ready to come out all around us, not just us, but in the creation. God will renovate the entire creation to be something that once again brings beauty fully.