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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Be Transformed because of the Promises

This summary of the promises God makes to his people was printed in the weekly resources supplement from my church this past Sunday.

The text for Sunday's sermon was Romans 12: 1-2, which appears AFTER this list of promises. (And that's because the verse has a "therefore" in it, and you know, when there's a "therefore," you're supposed to stop and ask what it's there for. These promises are the reason for the "therefore.")

Soak it in, adelphoi. These are for YOU.

1. We are called to belong to Christ Jesus and to be saints.
2. We have grace and peace from God our Father.
3. The Gospel is the power of God for our salvation.
4. The righteous live by faith.
5. We are justified by his grace as a gift.
6. Jesus is our atoning sacrifice who removes us from the wrath of God.
7. Happy are those whose sin doesn’t count against them!
8. We are credited with the righteousness of all the laws which Jesus
9. Christ bore the full wrath our sins deserved, that we might live under
the joy of God forever.
10. Christians were not meant to live under a cloud of divine irritability.
11. We have peace with God. He is not working against us or at war with
12. Grace means God passionately favors us, prefers us and is partial.
13. Grace is our standing and a planet we never step off. You can’t step
in and out of God’s favor like you do everyone else’s.
14. We have open and unhindered access to God.
15. God’s power is the driving force behind the past, present and future
of our salvation.
16. The Spirit helps us hope, remember who we are and enjoy it.
17. If Christ loved you through His death, how much more will He love you
now that He lives! (Schaeffer).
18. If He loved me when I was an enemy, how much more will He love
now that I’m His child (Schaeffer).
19. Christ has reconciled us. We are no longer enemies.
20. Grace now reigns, not sin and death.
21. We have eternal life and need not fear the final judgment.
22. The reign of death has been broken.
23. We stand and live on planet Grace.
24. We are not slaves to the law or to sin.
25. Christ has set us free from the full power of sin.
26. Because of Christ’s achievements, we are counted as good a son/
child as He is.
27. You don’t make yourself a child, so you don’t maintain it and can’t lose
28. For us to be lost again, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit would all have
to fail.
29. God’s purpose is not to increase our sense of condemnation but
relieve it.
30. The gospel is effective because Christ is not done working. His
benefits continue. He is interceding and on the job in the present.
31. There is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
32. Christ has accomplished what the law could never do.
33. You have received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, Abba,
34. We are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.
35. The Spirit helps us in our weakness.
36. The Spirit intercedes for us with groaning.
37. All things will work together for good for those who are called.
38. If God gave up his Son for us, he will graciously give us all things.
39. We are people of destiny: foreknown and chosen to be conformed to
the image of his Son.
40. We are justified and will be glorified.
41. Christ is living and interceding for us.
42. Nothing will separate us from his love.
43. We are more than conquerors.
44. God’s word has not failed.
45. God has chosen us not by works but mercy.
46. Righteousness is by faith.
47. Whoever believes will not be put to shame.
48. Righteousness is not based on law but comes by faith.
49. Those who call on the Lord will be saved.
50. God finds those who do not seek him.
51. The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

I had to respond to the sermon for the church blog. That response hasn't gone live yet, but maybe I will link to it when it does, if anyone is interested in reading it. (Update: it is live now and can be read here if you'd like.)

But in a nutshell, the sermon was about how merciful God is to make us all these promises and give his Spirit to work in us to renew our minds, to make us think like him, to show us the more excellent way. All we have to do is believe him and respond to him by not fearing the testing, which is really just walking in this life with him with us.

Oh, how he loves us so! That can never, never be lost. So go in grace, knowing that he is with you, bracing you as you lean against him, loving you even when you fall, showing you how his way really is the good and right and healthy way. Maturing you, making you less self-focused so you can love others as they have need and be loved as you have need. (OK, now I'm overlapping with what I wrote for the other blog.)

Today is a beautiful day. I feel a burden lifted. I can see beautiful things again today. I have God's favor, and he is blessing me with the sense of his presence in a way I haven't been able to cling to in a long time. It's been fleeting, here and then gone. Today it is fresh and sense-able and so satisfying. Hold those promises, my siblings. God cannot fail.

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