Bella Vista Church of Christ

LIFELINES

05/06/2020

Randall Caselman

 

Living A Life In The Spirit

"We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,

who have been called according to" his purpose"

(Romans8.28).

 

  We love this verse, and why not! It's an encouragement to all who love and serve the Lord. However, sometimes we have a tendency to apply the verse to areas outside of what Paul had in mind. Perhaps it would be good if we read the next verse: "For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. With verse 29, it becomes evident that the "good" God works for has to do with our conforming to the image, the likeness of Jesus; our having His heart, attitude, disposition, and behavior. Listen, God is interested in a lot of things concerning us, but His primary interest is for us to know Jesus and become like Jesus. Taken at face value, this verse tells us that nothing happens outside of God's plan for our becoming like His Son. Church, know this that God is constantly and consistently working to this end.

 

  Context is everything! Read the chapter, read the chapter heading in your Bible. Mine says "Life through the Spirit." The context is simple: Contrasting life in the flesh to life in the Spirit. The question Paul is prompting us to answer is this: Does the Spirit of Christ live in us? Really? If so, what difference has and is He making in our life?

• Vs. 2-4 – We are set free from the law of sin and death. Sin and death have no more dominion over us.

• Vs. 5-8 – Our minds are set on spiritual things. Such things that please God and give us peace.

• Vs. 9-11 – If the Spirit of God lives in us, we belong to Christ. If not, we don't!

• Vs. 12-17 - His Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God's children, by the fruit we bear; His fruit? Satan's fruit?

• Vs. 18-25 – His Spirit keeps us focused upon our hope of adoption as sons, and the redemption of our fleshly bodies.

• Vs. 26-27. The Spirit helps us in our weakness, in our prayer life, interceding for us.

• Vs. 31- 39 –We are more than conquerors through His love made known through Jesus.

 

  Indeed, the Spirit of God living in us works all things out to our good, to our betterment, our benefit; helping us to conform to the image of Jesus. And nothing; no-thing in or out of this world can keep God from working His will in our life...

• If we love Him...

• And if we're responding to His call and purpose.

 

  We must be careful that we don't have God saying that all things are good, because they're not, but God can and does use "all things" to help mold us into the likeness of His son, including trials and difficulties. God is always at work giving us opportunities to become what He intends us to be. He's working His good purpose in every circumstance. Think of this; Israel was in bondage four-hundred years as God worked the Exodus. They wandered forty-years in the Sinai Wilderness while God worked their occupying the Promise Land: living in houses they didn't build, drinking from wells they didn't dig, eating from vineyards and orchards they didn't plant. Israel was, and we are, living on God's timetable. Yes, He is constantly and consistently working for our good. For instance...

 

George Mueller writes, "In one thousand trials it is not five hundred of them that work for the believer's good, but nine hundred ninety-nine of them, and one more beside."

 

Charles Spurgeon said, "Most of the grand truths of God have to be learned by trouble; they must be burned into us with the hot iron of affliction, otherwise we don't truly receive them."

 

Joni Eareckson Tada, who became a quadriplegic following a skiing accident, once said, "God permits what He hates to achieve what He loves."

 

Paul wrote, "For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too" 2 Corinthians 1.5 ESV.

 

  Are we perplexed, frustrated, devastated over this current pandemic, or something that's happening to us privately? Life is an unsolved puzzle to us, but God knows where every piece fits in order that we may become like Jesus. Remember this: "Nowto Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus... Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 3.20-21 & Philippians 1.6).

 

—Randall Caselman