Cover to Cover

August 5

August 5, 2021

Romans 6

 

Paul is continuing his thoughts on the first and second Adam, where He speaks of the righteousness given to us through Jesus Christ rather than a right standing achieved by keeping the rules of the Law. He starts chapter 6 with a question, “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” In other words, if faith isn’t based on keeping the Mosaic Law but through a free gift of grace, does that mean we should sin, believing grace will cover us? Paul answers his own question, “Certainly not!” Paul mentions the important factor of surrender, or dying to self and sin. If we are surrendered to God, then we choose not to sin.

 

Paul describes this new covenant surrender with water baptism. When we go under the water, we are dying to ourselves, or surrendering to Christ’s lordship. Water baptism signifies we are no longer in control, but we are yielding control to Him. We are under His loving authority. And we weren’t the first to choose that surrender – Jesus was. He choose to willingly lay His life down in surrender to the Father, saying, “Not My will, but Yours be done.” When we surrender to His lordship, we are following His lead in death to self.

 

Also, as in water baptism, we come up out of the water, symbolizing our resurrection to new life in Christ, and not only new life, but a life of knowing the glory of God! It’s a life of powerful anointing for wholeness and freedom!

 

In verse 12, Paul writes, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” One, YOU make the choice what YOU do with sin. We all make decisions every day - decisions to surrender and obey or decisions to be take back control and disobey. Two, when someone gives into sin, the body and soul have been given dominion over our heart. Our heart is who we are, our spirit. We are to get lined up in surrender to Christ, then we are to make our soul and body surrender to us.

 

In verse 13, Paul says that our body is a tool or an instrument. We choose what we do with a hammer or a guitar or a spatula. We also choose what we do with our body. Paul says we are to use our body for righteous works. We may that choice. We are the authority over our mind, emotions, and body. In verse 14, he says, “sin shall not have DOMINION over you.” No, you have DOMINION over sin in your body.

 

In verse 15, Paul brings up grace again, asking again, “Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace?” Then he again says, “Certainly not!” He repeats himself, obviously speaking to Jews about the Law; however, Gentiles can also relate to a Christian rule-keeping performance mentality.

 

In verse 16, Paul continues along the lines of authority, talking about being slaves to sin or to righteousness. He says he uses this illustration so they will understand the spiritual truth by using a natural illustration (verse 19). We will be yielded to one or the other. Either we are yielded to God and living His life, or we are yielded to sin. If we think we can just be the boss of our own life, and not be surrendered to God or sin, then we’re mistaken. If you are not yielded to God, then you are yielded to sin. There are only two options. There is a kingdom of darkness and a kingdom of light. We are in one or the other. And if we are of the light, it is very dangerous to be living in darkness, or sin. We’ve got one foot in one place and another foot in another place, and I promise it won’t last long and it won’t be a good ending. Sin has consequences, and God will not be mocked (Galatians 6).

 

When serve righteousness, and God is in charge of us, then we have been SET FREE from the bondages of sin released into the blessings of God’s life! When God is our authority, it’s not that we’re servants – we’re sons and daughters of royalty!

 

In verse 22, when we are surrendered to God, we get that new heart, recreated to be like God in our spirit (2 Corinthians 5:17). We get the Holy Spirit living on the inside. We get His Word in our hearts, becoming a part of us. The result? We grow in Him, and as we grow, we become like Christ in character and in behavior in a process of transformation (Romans 12:1-2).

 

Slaves, or servants, get wages for their work. If sin is the employer or master, then death is what a person gets. However, if God is our authority, then life is the result. Verse 23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Life and death are set before us, and God wants us to choose life!

 

 

Psalms 75-77

 

These three psalms are written by Asaph, David’s choirmaster. Psalm 75 is a psalm of thankfulness to God for who He is and what He does for His people. Here we read about God’s wrath like red wine being poured out. It says even the dregs, or the last drops, will drip or drain out, so that all of God’s heart against evil will be emptied out on the rebellious wicked. The wicked will drink it, being consumed as they take it in.

 

The same picture is given when God’s pours out His bowls of wrath in Revelation 16. His wrath is a liquid that will flow out from a righteous God onto the wicked. The transference from one to the other, from the Holy One to the unholy.

 

We know God is a merciful and compassionate God, but that doesn’t mean God is a pushover. He is holy, and what is unholy can’t be in His Presence without a sacrifice for the charges against us in our sin. God will make Himself known. He will give knowledge of His standard for righteousness. He will warn us of the consequences. He will be longsuffering and patient towards us, working on the untruths and hurts we’ve experienced in this fallen world. If we choose to reject God and rebel against Him, even after He has made a way to know Him, we are guilty before God. God gives people time to experience Him, then God will honor that decision and allow a purification of what is wicked and twisted from His intended design.

 

Israel itself was God’s way of reaching the nations. The Mosaic Law didn’t just define God for Israel, but for everyone. God’s hope is that a nation would learn of who He was. He would perform miracles through Israel, but not just for Israel. Those miracles would be for the foreign nations to see that He is the one true God. They could choose either to accept the God of Israel or fight Him and the Hebrews.

 

If we read the Old Testament as if the Jews were the one nation God was after, then we need to read it again in the light of reaching the nations. This was not a new idea through Christ; God loves ALL HIS CHILDREN, and He has been reaching out to them throughout history.

 

God says love your enemies.

God says bless your enemies.

God says to pray for your enemies.

 

May I go a step farther, and may I say that those that oppose you may be people within your own household? Not just your own family, but your own Christian brother or sister may come against you. There is something on the inside of us that tells us this isn’t right because it grates against love; yet, the Lord Jesus told us it would happen. Don’t be surprised, but choose to love, bless, and pray for those that oppose you, turn their back on you, betray you, or slander you. If you are licking your wounds after years of carrying that would, then stop it. If you continue to act like a victim, then you aren’t free to live your best life of reach your full potential for Christ. We’ve all been through hurts, and the gate is narrow for those who will say, “No matter what I’ve been through, I’m going through!” They choose to throw themselves on God, surrender to His process of restoration, then come out on the other side of it stronger and more of a threat to Satan than they were before. Maybe you were victimized, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay a victim. Rise up!

 

Psalm 76 is a song of victory, perhaps written after the confrontation between Israel and Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:35). Asaph exalts Jehovah, calling people to worship Him.

 

Psalm 77 shows us the value of RECALLING who God is and the good things He has done in the past especially when facing CURRENT hardships. FAITH remembers, it leans on what it experienced about God’s faithfulness in the past, and declares what God will do now in the present. If you are going through any difficulties today, take a moment and recall what God has done for you in the past. He is faithful!