Life Controlled and Transformed by The Spirit
‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?’ (35)
The book of Romans is not for easy reading. Only when we read it carefully and prayerfully can we grasp the true message. Today’s passage deals with the difference between the life lived in sin and the one lived under the influence of the Spirit. This is a theme which Paul deals with in other chapters and in some of his other letters also. In 1 Corinthians 2:14-15 Paul speaks of ‘the man without the spirit’ (‘natural man’ in KJV) and the ‘spiritual man’. A life lived according to the flesh is one of fear, condemnation, slavery, despair and death. (Romans 6:23)
Life lived in Spirit:
It puts to death the misdeeds of the body (v.13 cf. Galatians 5:16-17). A spirit-filled life leads us from fear to courage, weakness to strength, slavery to ‘son-ship’ and from despair to hope. We are no longer the ‘hired ones’ but ‘the heirs’. We are led from condemnation to justification. Those who respond to the call are justified and glorified. One can easily approach God calling Him ‘Abba!’ ‘Father’. The glory that is to be revealed is great when compared to the present suffering. This hope helps one to suffer any persecution.
Responding to God’s call in faith:
In v. 29 we have the term ‘predestined’. It has created much controversy in the Church. Thinkers like Calvin argued that God had already chosen some for eternity no matter how they lived or what they did. But this idea is quite contrary to Paul’s thinking. The main theme of Romans is ‘justification by faith’ which led to the Reformation Movement of Martin Luther. God the creator of the whole universe is a God who calls every one irrespective of color, creed, sex or race. He has given us the freedom to accept or reject His call (Revelation 3:20). Only when we respond in faith and continue in fellowship with Him that we will be justified and glorified.
The Power of God’s Spirit:
The life in the Spirit is a process. The change does not begin and end in a day (Romans 12:2). Our lives are being transformed everyday. The power of the Spirit is so strong that adverse circumstances such as persecution, famine, etc. can separate us from God’s love. Life-threatening forces too cannot deter us from following Christ.
Prayer: Lord, help me to surrender myself to your Spirit so that I may experience the power of your love and live in the hope of glorification. Amen
Thought for the Day: What can separate us from God’s love.Live in Truth, Leave the Sin and Love the Spirit
Rev. Dr. Philip Varghese, Lubbock .