Archive for July, 2014

Because of Sin, Part 2

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:19-23

We can see around us that nature is groaning and travailing.  But we can also confirm the words of this passage when it says “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”  We can surely see the truth there.

Are any of us perfect physical specimens?  I’m sure that we are not.  All of us have problems, aches and pains.  Sometimes, having some minor aches and pains is the least of our physical problems.  We get tired, we get sick.  We get headaches and we get backaches.  Our joints get strained and injured.  Viruses and bacteria are constantly bombarding us and sometimes infect us.  And, as we get older, all of these things just continue to get worse.

Our bodies truly do groan within themselves as we wait patiently for the “redemption of our body.”  Someday we will have a new body that does not get sick, does not hurt, and does not get tired nor run down.  Sin damaged our souls and spirits, and it also damages our bodies.  But someday we will have rest even from physical problems.  What a day that will be!

 

Revive Us Again (Hymn)

Revive Us Again
William Mackay (1863)

We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above.

Refrain
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Amen.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.

We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.

Refrain

All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.

Refrain

All glory and praise
To the God of all grace,
Who hast brought us, and sought us,
And guided our ways.

Refrain

Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.

Refrain

This hymn on the subject of revival is interesting.  The refrain asks the Lord to “Revive us again,” but every verse is about praising the Lord for all that He has done for us and given to us.  I think that there is some wisdom in that.  Revival starts with thankfulness in our hearts.  When we start praising the Lord for everything He has done for us, we will start to see revival in our hearts.  And revival in our hearts will soon start to spread to others.  Then we can and will begin to see true revival!

Saturday Psalm (7b)

Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.  My defence is of God, which saved the upright in heart.  God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Psalm 7:9-11

This part of Psalm 7 shows us some things about the nature of the wicked and the just.

The wickedness of the wicked will come to an end.  Sometimes, we look around us and wonder how the Lord could allow all of the evil and wickedness that exists in the world.  But He will not allow if forever.  It will not continue forever.  The wicked will have an end.

God will establish the just.  We can be thankful for that.  While the wicked will not last, the just will be established.  The just will last forever and they will have no end.

Verse 10 gives us the true hope of every Christian: “My defence is of God, which saveth the upright in heart.”  Our defense is of God.  He is our only defense and our only hope of salvation, as the Psalmist recognizes.

Verse 11 makes this statement: “…God is angry with the wicked every day.”  That is a scary thought.  In the previous Psalm, we saw that the Psalmist asked the Lord to not rebuke or chasten him in His anger.  Here is says that God is angry with the wicked every day.  We don’t want to be in that category.  Thankfully, positionally we are not in that position.  But we can still do wicked things and live wickedly.  We want to do everything in our power to avoid the anger of God, which is what the Psalmist here is saying.

Because of Sin

For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

Romans 8:19-23

This passage tells us that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”  When God created the world, He created a perfect world.  Nature was in perfect harmony with itself and with the man God created.  Then the man sinned.  That destroyed him and it plunged all mankind into sin.  But the curse of sin didn’t stop there.  It damaged even nature itself.  And nature itself is groaning and struggling, awaiting its deliverance.

The other day, I was looking at some photographs of nature that had been submitted for a photography contest and I came across one that stuck with me.  It was a small young penguin in the water.  If it ended there, it would have been a nice, cute picture.  But just inches from the little penguin, the photographer had captured a leopard seal with mouth agape, getting ready to snatch the penguin out of the water.  I will admit that I felt bad for the penguin.  But then I realized something.  That penguin met a violent end because of sin.

Even nature feels the sting of sin.  When we look around and see all of the suffering in our lives, in the lives of people we see and even in nature, it is the result of sin.  Sin is not a light matter.  It destroys everything it touches, even nature itself.  That is yet another reason to stay as far away from it as we can!

Sufferings vs Glory

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.  For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 

Romans 8:15-18

Sometimes it may seem like life is hard for a Christian.  Sometimes, as Christians, we don’t do things that others do.  Sometimes our friends or co-workers reject us when we try to talk about Jesus.  Sometimes, our heart aches for a number of reasons.  But Paul gives us something here to think about when we start thinking about all of the “suffering” that we are going through.

In this passage, we see some information about our relationship with God the Father.  He is our Father and we are His children.  The Bible even goes so far as to call us “joint-heirs with Christ.”

Then Paul says that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  Whatever our sufferings in this life may be, they are in no way worthy to be compared to the glory that will will be revealed in us.

When we find ourselves in the middle of some form of suffering, we need to remember this passage.  We need to think about the glory that awaits us instead of dwelling on the suffering that we are experiencing at the moment.  As bad as the suffering may be, the glory will be far, far better.  That is something that we can and should remember.

Pleasing God

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:3-8

After giving us some information on the difference between living in the spirit and living in the flesh, Paul closes out verse 8 with this powerful statement: “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”  It’s a simple summation of all that we said previously.  It is pointed and simple.  “They that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

When we live in the flesh, we are living under the power of sin.  We are allowing ourselves to obey the thing (sin) that Jesus Christ died on the cross to free us from.  That is not pleasing to God.  When we live in the flesh, we are serving ourselves.  We are serving the Devil himself.  That is obviously not pleasing to God.

In short, if we live in the flesh, we CAN NOT please God.

If we want to please God, we need to live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit.  We need to be spiritually minded.  We need to live our entire lives for Jesus, with Jesus and in the power of Jesus!

Flesh or Spirit

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Romans 8:3-8

These are a lot of verses dealing again with the Spirit and the flesh.  As Christians, we are clearly told over and over again that we should be walking after the Spirit and not after the flesh.  We are told over and over again that we should live in the power of the Spirit and not let the power of the flesh run our lives.  In the book of Romans, the Holy Spirit, through the apostle Paul, gives us several comparisons of the Spirit and the flesh to help make us aware of this struggle.

This passage makes things very simple: “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.”  That is a clear choice that is set before us.  We can live carnally (after the flesh) and find death.  Or we can live in the Spirit and find life and peace.  The choice is ours and it is a choice we need to make every day of our lives.  Are we making the right one?

 

No Condemnation

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2

“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus…”  That is a glorious statement.  We can, as we walk with the Lord and follow Him, rest assured that there is “now no condemnation.”

The next verse tells us that “… the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”  There are two laws mentioned here – the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus and the law of sin and death.  We are going to live under one of those two laws.  No matter who we are or what we have, we are going to be subject to one of those two laws.  The law we are subject to depends entirely on what we do with the Lord Jesus Christ.

There is no condemnation to them “which are in Christ Jesus.”  The Christian is “in Christ Jesus.”  He is living under the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.  The unsaved man is living under the law of sin and death.  Jesus Christ freed us from the law of sin and death.  That law brings condemnation and death.  The law of the Spirit of life brings life and forgiveness.

As Christians, we should be thankful every day for our Saviour.  We should be thankful that we can live without condemnation.  We should be thankful that we have been made free from the law of sin and death.  Reading these passages and these verses should make us thankful every day of our lives!

Revive Thy Work, O Lord (Hymn)

Revive Thy Work, O Lord
Albert Midlane (1858)

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Thy mighty arm make bare;
Speak with the voice that wakes the dead,
And make Thy people hear.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Disturb this sleep of death;
Quicken the smold’ring embers now
By Thine almighty breath.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Create soul-thirst for Thee;
And hungering for the Bread of Life
O may our spirits be.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Exalt Thy precious Name;
And, by the Holy Ghost, our love
For Thee and Thine inflame.

Revive Thy work, O Lord,
Give Pentecostal showers;
The glory shall be all Thine own,
The blessing, Lord, be ours.

There are many hymns that deal with revival.  They all share one thing in common: if we are going to have revival, it is going to come from the Lord.  He is going to start it, and we are going to have to give Him all the glory for it.  Let us pray for revival today as we think of the words to this song.

Psalm Saturday (7a)

Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded.  So shall the congregation of the people compass thee about: for their sakes therefore return thou on high.  The Lord shall judge the people: judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.  Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins.

Psalm 7:6-9

Again in this Psalm, the Psalmist prays a powerful but hard prayer.  He is asking the Lord to rise up and help him.  He is asking the Lord to destroy his enemies and the enemies of all of the people of God.  That part is understandable.  We all want the Lord to help us with our enemies.  But then he says something a little different: “judge me, O Lord, according to my righteousness, and according to mine integrity that is in me.”

Just like in the first few verses of this Psalm, I don’t know if I would be confident enough to pray this prayer.  In fact, I know I wouldn’t be.  I don’t want the Lord to judge me “according to my righteousness.”  I don’t want the Lord to judge me “according to mine integrity that is in me.”  I don’t know if the author of this Psalm had his prayers answered or not.  But I am thankful that I don’t have to pray that kind of prayer.

I am thankful that the Lord judges me according to the righteousness of Jesus, and not my own righteousness.  What a wonderful Saviour!