Contemplating from Romans and Hebrews this morning
There is a difference between a reward and a gift. One is worked for the other is given. It is for lack of understanding of one’s identity that changes a paradigm of “I can do this, it’s on my shoulders” to “it’s been done for me, striving is no more.”
Romans 4:1-4 (Mirror Word Bible a paraphrase)
4: 1 If we look at our father Abraham as an example and scrutinize his life, would you say that he discovered any reason for placing confidence in the flesh through personal contribution? (What qualified Abraham to be the father of the multitudes of nations? The only part he played was his unwavering belief in God’s faith in him.)
4: 2 If he felt that his friendship with God was a reward for good behavior, then surely he would have reason to recommend the recipe; yet it is plain to see that it was all God’s initiative from start to finish!
4: 3 Scripture is clear, “Abraham believed what God believed about him and that concluded his righteousness.”
4: 4 There is a large difference between a reward and a gift: if you have earned something through hard work ; what you receive in return is your due and certainly not a gift
It’s that revelation of that gift, that I do not have to work for a position or standing before God. That sin nature I have fought and struggled with my whole life has in the past crushed me. It has caused pain, depression, inferiority, and a feeling of failure. Identity, how God sees me, has made that view of sin nature far less daunting. I used to spend 90% of my time contending with my flesh. I based my relationship on my ability to control my sin management. The verse in Hebrews below, reminds me of Romans 6:10-11 ” For when he died, he died once and for all as far as sin is concerned. But now that he is alive, he lives for God.
In the same way, you too must continuously consider yourselves dead as far as sin is concerned, but living for God through the Messiah Jesus. “(International Standard Version)
I (God) have deleted the records of your sins, past tense a given, it’s already been done. Our confidence is firmly set in what He has done and how He sees us and defines mankind. It’s this definition that propels me to be or do. If I do a work or deed from this point on it is not out a self doing or self production (hope that makes sense). It is living out of Christ in me, Him living in and through me. He is love, He is love and because of that or through that I can now actually love people and want to see them as God sees them. It’s a paradigm shift. “We have a high priest in the house” and I am that house, I am His address! That freedom to approach Him with and in confidence knowing He sees me as complete, holy, sanctified, righteous, and not a work in progress but as a full standing loved completely son and or daughter. …
It frees you to see yourself not as you see you but how God sees you.
Hebrews 10:17-24 (Mirror Word Bible, a paraphrase)
10: 17 This is final: I have deleted the record of your sins and misdeeds. I no longer recall them. (Nothing in God’s reference of man, reminds him of sin.)
10: 18 Sins were dealt with in such a thorough manner that no further offerings would ever again be required. Nothing that we can personally sacrifice could add further virtue to our innocence.
10: 19 Brethren, this means that through what the blood of Jesus communicates and represents, we are now welcome to access this ultimate place of sacred encounter with unashamed confidence.
10: 20 A brand new way of life has been introduced. Because of his flesh torn on the cross (our own flesh can no longer be a valid excuse to interrupt the expression of the life of our design).
10: 21 We have a High Priest in the house!
10: 22 We are free to approach him with absolute confidence, fully persuaded in our hearts that nothing can any longer separate us from him. We are invited to draw near now! We are thoroughly cleansed, inside and out, with no trace of sin’s stains on our conscience or conduct. The sprinkled blood purges our inner thought-patterns; our bodies also are bathed in clean water. (Our behavior bears witness to this.)
10: 23 Our conversation echoes his persuasion; his faithfulness backs his promises. (His integrity inspires our confession.)
10: 24 Let us also think of creative ways by which we can influence one another to find inspired expression in doing things that benefit others. Good actions give voice and volume to the love of God.
That is my thoughts so far for this morning. Not necessarily fully thought out…
Sin-consciousness, leads to sin-management which gets ones eyes to go inward in a bad way. It lead me to 35+ years of bipolar roller coaster riding Christianity. I was always concentrating on managing my short comings. My relationship with God was based on my ability to achieve and do. If man is relying on oneself, man will always fall short. This leads to shame, guilt, and condemnation.
I had read and known and even preached on Romans 8:1-2 but the wording in the Mirror Word opened it up like never before.
Condemnation and shame are no more once ones identity is achieved in how God defines man rather than how man defines oneself. Knowing that the only view that God has of me is that of perfect, forgiven, redeemer, whole, and His son changes everything. My realization of His view of me eliminates my need for sin-management. Talk about mind blowing freedom.
1 Now the decisive conclusion is this: in Christ, every bit of condemning evidence against us is cancelled. (“Who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit.” This sentence was not in the original text, but later copied from verse 4. The person who added this most probably felt that the fact of Paul’s declaration of mankind’s innocence had to be made subject again to man’s conduct. Religion under the law felt more comfortable with the condition of personal contribution rather than the conclusion of what faith reveals. The “in Christ” revelation is key to God’s dealing with man. It is the PIN-code of the Bible. [See 1 Cor 1:30 and Eph 1:4].) The law of the Spirit is the liberating force of life in Christ. This leaves me with no further obligation to the law of sin and death. Spirit has superseded the sin enslaved senses as the principle law of our lives. (The law of the spirit is righteousness by faith vs the law of personal effort and self righteousness which produces condemnation and spiritual death which is the fruit of the DIY tree.)
There is no more distance or delay. I no longer look for some place in time down the road to where I can or will be acceptable to God. ..
I AM NOW! I was perfect to him before the world was made. I am made in His template of His own DNA! (Eph 1:4). No toil no striving, my original identity now shines!