dwelling in Romans – part 17

Romans 14:8  If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

In Romans 12:1-2, as we saw in the prior blog entry, Paul urges us to lay or lives on the sacrificial altar. We are to be a perpetual, moment-by-moment living sacrifice. No other lifestyle makes sense.

Earlier in Romans Paul had affirmed in Romans 6: “If we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.”

These ideas in Romans echo what Paul had said to the Corinthians: “You are not your own. You were bought with a price.” They also echo his word to the Galatians: “It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. The life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

All these ideas spring from what Jesus said:

Mark 8:34-37  “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  35 For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.  36 For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life?  37 Indeed, what can they give in return for their life?

This line of thinking is fundamental in the biblical understanding of the life of faith. Why is it not fundamental in the message of today’s church? I suspect it is because a message of selflessness does not appeal to a people whose culture has steeped them in self-centeredness.

Having been crucified with Christ, we have already lost our lives. In our communion with Christ at the point of resurrection, we are born again not merely as the same people we once were but as new creatures in Christ, centered in Christ, alive only in Christ. “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation,” Paul wrote to the Corinthians. “Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”

Most of us live most of the time with an attitude which says, “It is my life and I can live it anyway I want.” That, of course, is not at all true for Christians. This life I live is not my own but the Lord’s. I belong to him and must do everything in his name, not my own, as Paul said to the Colossians.

The Spirit of Jesus Christ is living within you if you have entrusted your life to God. Is the Spirit free or squelched in your heart, your actions, your words, your attitudes?

 

 

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About mthayes42

I am a retired pastor, interested in the Bible, cross-cultural ministries, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and the current and past history of western civilization.
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