God has paid the price to bless us with the gifts we need - 25 July 2019

Ewald Schmidt

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.” Romans 8:31-32 (NIV)

Some people have misused these verses in the past to justify their own criminal behaviour. That would be irresponsible use of Scripture. When reading this, we should remember the first readers of Paul’s letter to the first generation of Christians in Rome. Persecution had broken out. The emperor of Rome demanded that the citizens honour him as a god: they would find it much harder to rebel against a deity than a mere man. Everyone who would not bend the knee before him would suffer the consequences. The early Christians in Rome could not honour the Emperor as Kurios – Lord. There was no criminal intention in disobeying the command of Caesar, it was a position of faith. To obey God could cost you your freedom or your life. But those early Christians were willing to pay the price for their new lives in Christ.

Paul helps them see their situation in the bigger picture. The most important measure of a man, is not what the authorities of the day might think of him, but what God is saying about him. Paul says: God is for us! He is on our side. Therefore, it does not matter what any other powers that be might say about us. Christians experience persecution, but they follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who has died at the hands of the people in control. He suffered the ultimate persecution, dying without God’s mercy like a criminal on a cross. That was the price Jesus was willing to pay to set us free. If God’s love extends to such lengths, how will he ever forsake us in our tribulation? This is a rhetorical question. Of course God wants to bless us with everything we need to endure and conquer every obstacle, so that we can serve him gratefully. Remember that God has paid so dearly to set us free. He is with us, even in times of persecution or pain. He will not forsake you. You are precious in his eyes.

Prayer:  Lord, sometimes it feels as though a lot of things are against us as your children. But thank you that you are always there for us. You are with us, helping us to live our lives to your glory. Thank you that you have equipped us with the power of the Spirit to endure, and that you have given us all the gifts of the Spirit we need to live our lives fully to your glory. Amen

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