But when He, Who had chosen and set me apart even before I was born and had called me by His grace
(His undeserved favor and blessing), saw fit and was pleased
To reveal (unveil, disclose) His Son within me so that I might proclaim Him among the Gentiles (the non-Jewish world) as the glad tidings (Gospel), immediately I did not confer with flesh and blood [did not consult or counsel with any frail human being or communicate with anyone]. Galatians 1:15-16
For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11)
For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:3)
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”—
This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”
(Galatians 3:13; Matthew 8:17)
This is what the LORD says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the LORD.”
With him is only an arm of flesh, but with us is the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles. (2 Chronicles 32:8)
When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the LORD your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. (Deuteronomy 20:1)
It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans. ( Psalm 118:8)
Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem? (Isaiah 2:22)
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. (Romans 6:22)
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’
(2 Chronicles 20:17)
Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as He is righteous. (1 John 3:7)
God told the serpent:
“Because you’ve done this, you’re cursed,
cursed beyond all cattle and wild animals,
Cursed to slink on your belly
and eat dirt all your life.
I’m declaring war between you and the Woman,
between your offspring and hers.
He’ll wound your head,
you’ll wound his heel.” (Genesis 3:14-15)
Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is the name of His son? Surely you know! (Proverbs 30:4)
Worldly wisdom may promise the good life, but it leads to chaos and destruction every time. Ultimately true wisdom comes from God.
For it was Adam (MAN) who was first created, and then Eve. (WOMAN)
And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. (John 12:32)
But I am afraid that just as EVE was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
On Earth As It Is In Heaven
As I looked, a great sign appeared in heaven:
A woman came into view clothed in the radiance of the sun, standing with the moon under her feet, and she was crowned with a wreath of twelve stars on her head.
She was painfully pregnant and was crying out in the agony of labor.
Then a second sign appeared in heaven, ominous, foreboding:
A great red dragon, with seven crowned heads and ten horns.
The dragon’s tail brushed one-third of the stars from the sky and hurled them down to the earth. The dragon crouched in front of the laboring woman, waiting to devour her child the moment it was born.
She gave birth to a male child, who is destined to rule the nations with an iron scepter.
Before the dragon could bite and devour her son, the child was whisked away and brought to God and His throne.
The woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place of refuge and safety where she could find sustenance for 1,260 days.
While the great red dragon does his best to destroy and devour Him, God has another plan.
Since then, the dragon and his minions have done their best to harangue and persecute the woman’s children. But again he does not have the final word.
A battle broke out in heaven. Michael, along with his heavenly messengers, clashed against the dragon. The dragon and his messengers returned the fight, but they did not prevail and were defeated.
As a result, there was no place left for them in heaven.
So the great dragon, that ancient serpent who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world, was cast down to the earth along with his messengers.
Then I heard a great voice in heaven.
A Voice: Now the salvation and the power
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Anointed One have come.
For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
who relentlessly accuses them day and night before our God,
has been cast down and silenced.
By the blood of the Lamb
and the word of their witnesses,
they have become victorious over him,
For they did not hold on to their lives, even under threat of death.
Therefore, rejoice, all you heavens;
celebrate, all you who live in them.
But disaster will befall the earth and the sea,
for the devil has come down to your spheres,
And he is incredibly angry
because he knows his time is nearly over.
When the dragon realized he had been cast down to the earth,
he pursued the mother of the male infant.
In order to escape the serpent,
she was given the two wings of the great eagle to fly deeper into the wilderness to her own special place where she would find sustenance for a time, and times, and half a time.
Then from his mouth the serpent spewed water like a raging river that chased after the woman, trying to sweep her away in the flood. But the earth came to her rescue.
It opened its gaping mouth and swallowed the river that spewed from the dragon’s mouth.
As a result, the dragon was enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children—those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the testimony of Jesus.
And [the dragon] stood waiting on the sand of the seashore.
Remember this! He led His people out singing for joy;
His chosen people marched, singing their hearts out!
He made them a gift of the country they entered,
helped them seize the wealth of the nations
So they could do everything He told them—
could follow His instructions to the letter.
O remnant of Judah: The Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, has plainly told you, you leftovers from Judah, ‘Don’t go to Egypt.’ Could anything be plainer? I warn you this day that you are living out a fantasy. You’re making a fatal mistake.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
There is no other foundation that can be laid.
All other ground is sinking sand.
The Lord is my Rock and my Salvation, I shall not be moved!
Blessed be the Lord my Rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle!
For the battle belongs to the Lord!
Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way
Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
or chase after phantoms of evil and die.
God can’t stand deceivers,
but oh how He relishes integrity. You can be very sure the evil man will not go unpunished forever.
And you can also be very sure God will rescue the children of the godly.
To learn, you must want to be taught. To refuse reproof is stupid.
The Lord blesses good men and condemns the wicked.
Wickedness never brings real success; only the godly have that. (Proverbs 12:1-3)
The wrongdoers are overthrown—no one is left!
But the house of the right-living remains strong. (Proverbs 12:7)
UNLESS THE LORD BUILDS THE HOUSE THEY LABOR IN VAIN THAT BUILD IT.
Everything that has been fathered by God overcomes the corrupt world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: Our faith. (1 John 5:4)
God said to Moses: “Why cry out to Me? Speak to the Israelites. Order them to get moving. Hold your staff high and stretch your hand out over the sea: Split the sea! The Israelites will walk through the sea on dry ground.” (Exodus 14:15-16)
LIKE HANNAH OF OLD I HAVE PRAYED FOR THIS CHILD
RESTORE TO MY CHILDREN THE JOY OF THEIR SALVATION
Prayer is living out God’s words. It is putting faith into action. Faith works by love.
We love because God first loved us so much that He was not willing to leave us abandoned.
He sent His Son that whosoever believes shall not perish but have everlasting life.
For this purpose Jesus was sent to destroy the works of the devil.
Where do you think your fighting and endless conflict come from?
Don’t you think that they originate in the constant pursuit of gratification that rages inside each of you like an uncontrolled militia? You crave something that you do not possess, so you murder to get it.
You desire the things you cannot earn, so you sue others and fight for what you want.
You do not have because you have chosen not to ask.
And when you do ask, you still do not get what you want because your motives are all wrong—because you continually focus on self-indulgence. You are adulterers.
Don’t you know that making friends with this corrupt world order is open aggression toward God?
So anyone who aligns with this bogus world system is declaring war against the one true God.
Do you think it is empty rhetoric when the Scriptures say, “The spirit that lives in us is addicted to envy and jealousy”?
You may think that the situation is hopeless, but God gives us more grace when we turn away from our own interests. That’s why Scripture says,
Let your adornment be what’s inside—the REAL you, the LASTING beauty of a gracious and quiet spirit,
in which God delights. This is how, long ago, holy women who put their hope in God made themselves beautiful:
by respecting the authority of their husbands.
Consider how Sarah, our mother, obeyed her husband, Abraham, and called him “lord,”
and you will be her daughters as long as you boldly do what is right without fear and without anxiety.
In the same way, husbands, as you live with your wives, understand the situations women face as the weaker vessel.
Each of you should respect your wife and value her as an EQUAL HEIR in the gracious gift of life.
Do this so that nothing will get in the way of your prayers.
Finally, all of you, be like-minded and show sympathy, love, compassion, and humility to and for each other— not paying back evil with evil or insult with insult, but repaying the bad with a blessing. It was this you were called to do, so that you might inherit a blessing.
It is written in the psalms,
If you love life and want to live a good, long time,
Then be careful what you say.
Don’t tell lies or spread gossip or talk about improper things.
Walk away from the evil things in the world—just leave them behind, and do what is right,
and always seek peace and pursue it.
For the Lord watches over the righteous,
and His ears are attuned to their prayers.
But His face is set against His enemies;
He will punish evildoers.
Why would anyone harm you if you eagerly do good?
Even if you should suffer for doing what is right, you will receive a blessing.
Don’t let them frighten you. Don’t be intimidated, but exalt Him as Lord in your heart.
Always be ready to offer a defense, humbly and respectfully, when someone asks why you live in hope. Keep your conscience clear so that those who ridicule your good conduct in the Anointed and say bad things about you will be put to shame. (1 Peter 3)
So that the Word of God will not be dishonored.
A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. (1 Timothy 2:11)
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.
Warnings about the Adulteress
She is unruly and defiant, her feet never stay at home
So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;
(Ephesians 4:7; 11-12)
Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.
(1 Timothy 2:8)
So submit yourselves to the one true God and fight against the devil and his schemes. If you do, he will run away in failure.
Come close to the one true God, and He will draw close to you.
Wash your hands; you have dirtied them in sin.
Cleanse your heart, because your mind is split down the middle,
your love for God on one side and selfish pursuits on the other.
Since the beginning, our loving Creator has been pursuing us, drawing us closer to Him.
He invites us to move closer to Him so we can be fully His.
Now is the time to lament, to grieve, and to cry. Dissolve your laughter into sobbing, and exchange your joy for depression. Lay yourself bare, facedown to the ground, in humility before the Lord; and He will lift your head so you can stand tall.
My brothers and sisters, do not assault each other with criticism. If you decide your job is to accuse and judge another believer, then you are a self-appointed critic and judge of the law; if so, then you are no longer a doer of the law and subject to its rule; you stand over it as a judge.
Know this—there is One who stands supreme as Judge and Lawgiver. He alone is able to save and to destroy, so who are you to step in and try to judge another?
Listen carefully, those of you who make your plans and say, “We are traveling to this city in the next few days. We’ll stay there for one year while our business explodes and revenue is up.” The reality is you have no idea where your life will take you tomorrow. You are like a mist that appears one moment and then vanishes another. It would be best to say, “If it is the Lord’s will and we live long enough, we hope to do this project or pursue that dream.” But your current speech indicates an arrogance that does not acknowledge the One who controls the universe, and this kind of big talking is the epitome of evil. So if you know the right way to live and ignore it, it is sin—plain and simple.
This is the Message from God, the God of Israel, to whom you sent me to present your prayer. He says,
‘If you are ready to stick it out in this land, I will build you up and not drag you down,
I will plant you and not pull you up like a weed. I feel deep compassion on account of the doom I have visited on you.
You don’t have to fear the king of Babylon. Your fears are for nothing.
I’m on your side, ready to save and deliver you from anything he might do. I’ll pour mercy on you.
What’s more, he will show you mercy! He’ll let you come back to your very own land.’ (Jeremiah 42)
Blessed is He who Fears the Lord
Praise the LORD! How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, Who greatly delights in His commandments.
His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches are in his house, And his righteousness endures forever. (Psalm 112:1-3)
Because God staked His claim in me and my family on the execution stake in Christ Jesus we are freed in body soul and spirit to be made right with God the Father through the blood of Jesus the Son. We are no longer beggarly orphans adrift to wander this world but we are true born again sons and daughters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who is the Prince of Peace–not the so-called “peace” of this passing world’s system but the SHALOM, the whole man the whole salvation for ever in Jesus Christ! We are co-heirs in Christ Jesus!
“My love won’t walk away from you,
My covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
The God who has compassion on you says so.”
For your Maker is your bridegroom,
His name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
Your Redeemer is The Holy of Israel,
known as God of the whole earth.
You were like an abandoned wife, devastated with grief,
and God welcomed you back,
Even if the mountains heave up from their anchors,
and the hills quiver and shake, I will not desert you.
You can rely on My enduring love;
My covenant of peace will stand forever.
So says the Eternal One, Whose love won’t give up on you.
This promise stands to God’s covenant people: nothing can happen to them unless God wills it and makes it so.
Only if they invite it will destruction come.
Throughout this time of rebellion and punishment God makes it clear that they hold their fate in their own hands.
And if they haven’t understood the message, God tells them who will do the nation-building—an unworldly restoration.
He says that He provides the raw materials; He creates the tools and provides the skills with which the builders build.
He alone is responsible for restoring the nation.
And no matter what charges the adversary may concoct, God will not be put off.
Even though Israel rebelled and was unfaithful at one time, that is in the past.
The future is sure: God’s faithfulness to His covenant, His enduring love for His people, will stand for all time.
So the challenge goes out from the prophet to God’s people—speaking on God’s authority—to align themselves with God, accept Him as God, and they will surely win.
Every one of your children, the people who call you home,
will be students of the Eternal; oh, they’ll be so happy and live in peace!
This time, you will be founded and grounded
on right thought, speech, and action.
And no one will trouble you, abuse or oppress you;
you will know no fear and have no worries.
Eternal One: Hard to believe, but it shall be so.
The captives will be taken from the hand of the mighty,
And the spoil of war will be rescued from the tyrant.
I will liberate them from their captors and contend with your enemies.
I will save your children. (Isaiah 49:25)
Teach Your Children!
But there they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.
The children of your servants will live in your presence; their descendants will be established before you.”
Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the LORD.
The righteous lead blameless lives; blessed are their children after them.
Pray for the SHALOM (peace) of Jerusalem
for Jerusalem above is our home
They will prosper that love her.
Beloved I desire above all things that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.
Are you so foolish? Do you think you can perfect something God’s Spirit started with any human effort?
Have you suffered so greatly for nothing—if it was indeed for nothing?
You have experienced the Spirit He gave you in powerful ways.
Miracle after miracle has occurred right before your eyes in this community, so tell me: did all this happen because you have kept certain provisions of God’s law, or was it because you heard the gospel and accepted it by faith?
Paul primarily focuses on the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Jesus as the foundation of the church and of a right relationship with God, but he also correlates this with the presence of the Spirit. If the Spirit is working among the outsiders, it shows that they aren’t really “outsiders” when it comes to membership in the people of God. Paul supports this by showing how the presence of the Spirit is none other than the fulfillment of the promises to Abraham. However, the Spirit only came through Abraham’s descendant, that is, the new covenant with God is mediated by Jesus and the Spirit, not the law.
You remember Abraham. Scripture tells us, “Abraham believed God and trusted in His promises, so God counted it to his favor as righteousness.” Know this: people who trust in God are the true sons and daughters of Abraham. For it was foretold to us in the Scriptures that God would set the Gentile nations right by faith when He told Abraham, “I will bless all nations through you.” So those who have faith in Him are blessed along with Abraham, our faithful ancestor.
Listen, whoever seeks to be righteous by following certain works of the law actually falls under the law’s curse.
I’m giving it to you straight from Scripture because it is as true now as when it was written:
“Cursed is everyone who doesn’t live by and do all that is written in the law.”
Now it is absolutely clear that no one is made right with God through the law because the prophet Habakkuk told us,
“By faith the just will obtain life.” The law is not the same thing as life formed by faith.
In fact, you are warned against this when God says, “The one who observes My laws will live by them.”
I am trying to tell you that the Anointed One, the Liberating King, has redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. It was stated in the Scriptures, “Everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed by God.” This is what God had in mind all along: the blessing He gave to Abraham might extend to all nations through the Anointed One, Jesus; and we are the beneficiaries of this promise of the Spirit that comes only through faith.
My dear brothers and sisters, here’s a real-life example I can give you:
With a last will and testament, when all the property is accounted for, the document is signed, witnessed, and notarized; and afterward no one can make changes to it. In a similar way, God’s promises established a binding agreement with Abraham and his offspring. In the Scriptures, it is carefully stated, “and to your descendant” (meaning one), not “and to your descendants” (meaning many). Therefore, in these covenant promises, God was not referring to every son and daughter born into Abraham’s family but to the Anointed One to come. What this all means is that the law given to Israel comes along some 430 years after the promise made to Abraham; so it does not invalidate the covenant God previously agreed to or in any way do away with His promise. You see, if the law became the sole basis for the inheritance, then it would put God in the position of breaking a covenant because He had promised it to Abraham.
Throughout this argument, one critical question remains: why would God give the law if it would not bring His people into a right standing with Him? Couldn’t God have found a better way of doing this? It isn’t as if the law is a bad thing or a mistake that God needs to correct. It has a good purpose, but a limited one. It never supplants God’s promise to Abraham. Rather, the law keeps sin in check until the time is right for the saving justice that comes through faith in Jesus. The law serves as a tutor or a schoolmaster, revealing our great need for salvation and pointing everyone toward Jesus.
Now you’re asking yourselves, “So why did God give us the law?” God commanded His heavenly messengers to deliver it into the hand of a mediator for this reason: to help us rein in our sins until the Offspring, about whom the promise was made in the first place, would come. A mediator represents more than one, but God is only one. “So,” you ask, “does the law contradict God’s promise?” Absolutely not! Never was there written a law that could lead to resurrection and life; if there had been, then surely we could have experienced saving righteousness through keeping the law. But we haven’t. Scripture has subjected the whole world to sin’s power so that the faithful obedience of Jesus the Anointed might extend God’s promises to everyone who has faith. Before faith came on the scene, the law did its best to keep us in line, restraining us until the faith that was to come was fully revealed. So then, the law was like a tutor, assigned to train us and point us to the Anointed, so that we will be acquitted of all wrong and made right by faith. But now that true faith has come, we have no need for a tutor. It is your faith in the Anointed Jesus that makes all of you children of God because all of you who have been initiated into the Anointed One through the ceremonial washing of baptism have put Him on. It makes no difference whether you are a Jew or a Greek, a slave or a freeman, a man or a woman, because in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, you are all one.
Satan’s battle plan against believers is just the opposite of his battle plan for nonbelievers.
With nonbelievers, Satan is on the DEFENSIVE, trying to keep them in his kingdom.
But Satan is attacking believers to attempt to make them ineffective in their battle to get those lost souls out of his dark domain into the kingdom of God’s light.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 4:19, “…Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
As we follow Jesus we are not made ineffective but are made fishers of men for Jesus is the
Way, the Truth and the Life; no man comes to the Father but through Him!
Thank God! Pray to Him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what He has done!
Sing Him songs, belt out hymns,
translate His wonders into music!
Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for His works;
be alert for signs of His presence.
Remember the world of wonders He has made,
His miracles, and the verdicts He’s rendered—
O seed of Abraham, His servant,
O child of Jacob, His chosen.
He’s God, our God,
in charge of the whole earth.
And He remembers, remembers His Covenant—
for a thousand generations He’s been as good as His word.
It’s the Covenant He made with Abraham,
the same oath He swore to Isaac,
The very statute He established with Jacob,
the eternal Covenant with Israel,
Namely, “I give you the land.
Canaan is your hill-country inheritance.”
When they didn’t count for much,
a mere handful, and strangers at that,
Wandering from country to country,
drifting from pillar to post,
He permitted no one to abuse them.
He told kings to keep their hands off:
“Don’t you dare lay a hand on my anointed,
don’t hurt a hair on the heads of my prophets.”
It’s just a flesh wound
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring;
He will bruise and tread your head underfoot, and you will lie in wait and bruise His heel. (Genesis 3:15)
Christ fulfills through his victory over Satan the wonderful promise here spoken.
See also Isaiah 9:6; Matt. 1:23; Luke 1:31; Rom. 16:20; Gal. 4:4; Rev. 12:17.
The story of humanity’s sin begins with a tree and ends on a tree:
first, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; and finally, the cross on which Jesus dies.
The first tree offers fruit that leads to death, but the second offers a death that leads to eternal life.
In God’s plan to restore a fallen and disfigured world, Abraham became the father of all of us, the agent of blessing to everyone. Jesus completes what God started centuries before when He established Abraham’s covenant family.
Those who put faith in Jesus and call Him “Lord” become part of Abraham’s faith family.
Because God is gracious, loving, and merciful, men and women from every corner of the earth are not only declared right, but ultimately are made right as well. It happens through God’s actions—not our efforts—in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus who was crucified for our misdeeds and raised to repair what has been wrong all along. So the promises of God made long years ago are being realized in men and women who hear the call of faith and answer “yes” to it.
Since we have been acquitted and made right through faith, we are able to experience true and lasting peace with God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One, the Liberating King. Jesus leads us into a place of radical grace where we are able to celebrate the hope of experiencing God’s glory. And that’s not all. We also celebrate in seasons of suffering because we know that when we suffer we develop endurance, which shapes our characters. When our characters are refined, we learn what it means to hope and anticipate God’s goodness. And hope will never fail to satisfy our deepest need because the Holy Spirit that was given to us has flooded our hearts with God’s love.
When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak.
Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us. As a result, the blood of Jesus has made us right with God now, and certainly we will be rescued by Him from God’s wrath in the future. If we were in the heat of combat with God when His Son reconciled us by laying down His life, then how much more will we be saved by Jesus’ resurrection life?
In fact, we stand now reconciled and at peace with God. That’s why we celebrate in God through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed.
Consider this: sin entered our world through one man, Adam; and through sin, death followed in hot pursuit.
Death spread rapidly to infect all people on the earth as they engaged in sin.
God’s gift of grace and salvation is amazing. Paul struggles to find the words to describe it. He looks everywhere around him to find a metaphor, an image, a word to put into language one aspect of this awesome gift. One of those is “reconciliation.” There is hardly anything more beautiful than to see two people who have been enemies or estranged or separated coming back together. When Paul reflects on what God has done through Jesus, he thinks about reconciliation. Before we receive God’s blessing through His Son, we are enemies of God, sinners of the worst sort. But God makes the first move to restore us to a right relationship with Him.
Before God gave the law, sin existed, but there was no way to account for it. Outside the law, how could anyone be charged and found guilty of sin? Still, death plagued all humanity from Adam to Moses, even those whose sin was of a different sort than Adam’s. You see, in God’s plan, Adam was a prototype of the One who comes to usher in a new day. But the free gift of grace bears no resemblance to Adam’s crime that brings a death sentence to all of humanity; in fact, it is quite the opposite. For if the one man’s sin brings death to so many, how much more does the gift of God’s radical grace extend to humanity since Jesus the Anointed offered His generous gift. His free gift is nothing like the scourge of the first man’s sin. The judgment that fell because of one false step brought condemnation, but the free gift following countless offenses results in a favorable verdict—not guilty. If one man’s sin brought a reign of death—that’s Adam’s legacy—how much more will those who receive grace in abundance and the free gift of redeeming justice reign in life by means of one other man—Jesus the Anointed.
So here is the result: as one man’s sin brought about condemnation and punishment for all people, so one man’s act of faithfulness makes all of us right with God and brings us to new life. Just as through one man’s defiant disobedience every one of us were made sinners, so through the willing obedience of the one man many of us will be made right.
When the law came into the picture, sin grew and grew; but wherever sin grew and spread, God’s grace was there in fuller, greater measure. No matter how much sin crept in, there was always more grace. In the same way that sin reigned in the sphere of death, now grace reigns through God’s restorative justice, eclipsing death and leading to eternal life through the Anointed One, Jesus our Lord, the Liberating King. (Romans 5)
When You ascended on high, You took many captives; You received gifts from people, even from the rebellious– that You, LORD God, might dwell there. (Psalm 68:18)
Unity in the Body
But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH, HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES, AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”
(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? (Ephesians 4)
Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. God did something the law could never do. You see, human flesh took its toll on God’s law. In and of itself, the law is not weak; but the flesh weakens it. So to condemn the sin that was ruling in the flesh, God sent His own Son, bearing the likeness of sinful flesh, as a sin offering. Now we are able to live up to the justice demanded by the law. But that ability has not come from living by our fallen human nature; it has come because we walk according to the movement of the Spirit in our lives.
If you live your life animated by the flesh—namely, your fallen, corrupt nature—then your mind is focused on the matters of the flesh. But if you live your life animated by the Spirit—namely, God’s indwelling presence—then your focus is on the work of the Spirit. A mind focused on the flesh is doomed to death, but a mind focused on the Spirit will find full life and complete peace. You see, a mind focused on the flesh is declaring war against God; it defies the authority of God’s law and is incapable of following His path. So it is clear that God takes no pleasure in those who live oriented to the flesh.
The power of sin and death has been eclipsed by the power of the Spirit. The Spirit breathes life into our mortal, sin-infested bodies—thanks to what Jesus has done for us. By sending His Son in “the likeness of sinful flesh,” God judges sin finally and completely. The sins of the world are concentrated and condemned in the flesh of Jesus as He hangs on the cross. So now there is no condemnation remaining for those who’ve entered into the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.
But you do not live in the flesh. You live in the Spirit, assuming, of course, that the Spirit of God lives inside of you. The truth is that anyone who does not have the Spirit of the Anointed living within does not belong to God. If the Anointed One lives within you, even though the body is as good as dead because of the effects of sin, the Spirit is infusing you with life now that you are right with God. If the Spirit of the One who resurrected Jesus from the dead lives inside of you, then you can be sure that He who raised Him will cast the light of life into your mortal bodies through the life-giving power of the Spirit residing in you.
As Paul ponders the story of redemption, he finds in the family unit a beautiful image of what salvation means. Those who enter into God’s salvation are adopted into God’s family. Before we receive the gift of God’s grace, we are homeless orphans searching for some place to belong. But now all that has changed. The Father reaches out through His Son to all those orphaned by sin and death, and He brings them into His family. We are adopted into His forever family and fully enfranchised as His heirs.
So, my brothers and sisters, you owe the flesh nothing! You do not need to live according to its ways, so abandon its oppressive regime. For if your life is just about satisfying the impulses of your sinful nature, then prepare to die. But if you have invited the Spirit to destroy these selfish desires, you will experience life. If the Spirit of God is leading you, then take comfort in knowing you are His children. You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy. Through that prayer, God’s Spirit confirms in our spirits that we are His children. If we are God’s children, that means we are His heirs along with the Anointed, set to inherit everything that is His. If we share His sufferings, we know that we will ultimately share in His glory.
Now I’m sure of this: the sufferings we endure now are not even worth comparing to the glory that is coming and will be revealed in us. For all of creation is waiting, yearning for the time when the children of God will be revealed. You see, all of creation has collapsed into emptiness, not by its own choosing, but by God’s. Still He placed within it a deep and abiding hope that creation would one day be liberated from its slavery to corruption and experience the glorious freedom of the children of God. For we know that all creation groans in unison with birthing pains up until now. And there is more; it’s not just creation—all of us are groaning together too. Though we have already tasted the firstfruits of the Spirit, we are longing for the total redemption of our bodies that comes when our adoption as children of God is complete— for we have been saved in this hope and for this future. But hope does not involve what we already have or see. For who goes around hoping for what he already has? But if we wait expectantly for things we have never seen, then we hope with true perseverance and eager anticipation.
A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory.
So what should we say about all of this? If God is on our side, then tell me: whom should we fear? If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him? Can anyone be so bold as to level a charge against God’s chosen? Especially since God’s “not guilty” verdict is already declared. Who has the authority to condemn? Jesus the Anointed who died, but more importantly, conquered death when He was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing. As the psalm says,
On Your behalf, our lives are endangered constantly;
we are like sheep awaiting slaughter.
But no matter what comes, we will always taste victory through Him who loved us.
For I have every confidence that nothing—not death, life, heavenly messengers, dark spirits, the present, the future, spiritual powers, height, depth, nor any created thing—can come between us and the love of God revealed in the Anointed, Jesus our Lord.