Monday, June 05, 2006

Nothing is Beyond You

One of the interesting things about reading Romans is that you see Paul being very cut and dry. In Romans, Paul is laying out the theology for a church that he has yet to speak to, whereas, in all the other epistles, Paul is writing to people he already knows and there is almost a more personable touch. Take the church in Philippi for example where Paul states early on:

Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, 19for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance.[a] 20I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! 23I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; 24but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me. (Philippians 1:19-26).

Paul is in essence telling the church of Philippi what application of Romans 8:28 looks like. I love v.24 of this passage. Paul is in prison and instead of being despondent or feeling hopeless, he knows that it's necessary that he is there because God has a purpose and God is going to use him. Paul is not a man who is controlled by his circumstances, but instead he is focused on the objective reality of the cross.

Death used to be the enemy and the cause of fear, but it has been swallowed up in Christ victory on the cross, death no longer has any sting (1 Corinthians 11:54-55). Formerly, death had power to make us dread, but now God uses death as His tool to bring us to glory in His kingdom until Christ returns; what was once loss, is now gain. If God can do that to death, then He can use any circumstance for our good and glory. Whether it's sickness, loss of a job, singleness, financial trouble, or any thing that may appear out of our control, we must have confidence in the God that we serve. Walking by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) means knowing that He is good and always does good to His children (Psalm 119:68).

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