Archive for the 'Grace & Law' Category

Jan 10 2007

Grace & Law

Published by under Grace & Law

Striking a Balance: God’s Chief Characteristic
(Scripture References are taken from the NIV)

In several of my previous papers I have referred to the concept of “finding the balance” in all things. With regards to our Christian walk, I believe this to be one of the most important ideologies we have to contend with. It is so very crucial to our cause, and or the cause of Christ, that we, as believers, endeavor to find that “healthy” place to stand with regards to so many of the different issues we have facing us today.

If we come on too strong we will succeed only to establish a legalistic position in Christ and drive many would be converts away from the cross. If, on the other hand, we hold to an overly passive agenda we will cease to draw attention to the righteousness of God and the sanctity of the price that was paid for us. Not only do we have the unbelieving world to contend with, we also have our own relationship with the Lord that we have to work out. In a sense, this is almost more important. For, if we are unable to develop and establish a healthy, mature, steadfast position in Christ we will most likely be very ineffective at winning people to the Lord.

So, you might ask, where is this balance? Well, it is found in God’s word. The difficult part here for many Christians would appear to be that point at which we rightly divide the word of truth. This is where so many of us fall short for various reasons. Some of these reasons may include: being subject to incorrect teaching, lack of personal study time, lack of personal prayer time, false preconceptions, or an unwillingness to accept what God’s word clearly states. I have often found that the latter statement tends to be the most common. God’s word has a tendency to prick our hearts and call us to an ever increasing, sincere, holy walk with Him. In my own life I have found this to be true. And when God begins to show me through His word and through the Holy Spirit where the falseness lies in my own life it pricks my heart. It is suppose to prick me and prompt me to action, but because we resist change we often tend to struggle with, and or dismiss, what the Lord is trying to teach us. The most important thing to realize in all of this is that God does not change. So no matter how hard we try to disregard the Lord’s instruction, there is nowhere to hide. For all of our running from Him serves only to drive us straight back to Him. And we will end our race realizing that He was at the finishing line before we began.

My goal with this blog is to: address some of the key issues that God’s church is facing today, take a close look at what the bible clearly teaches as a whole regarding these issues, expose some of the false teachings that are becoming common in Christianity, allow the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts, and endeavor to begin to bring us to a healthy balance in our walk with Christ. In order to accomplish this I have compiled somewhat of a laundry list that I would like to go over one at a time. Each one of these items can and may have been made into individual books by various authors. I am not seeking at this point to expound too greatly on the individual items. To examine, expose, convict, and strike a balance will be sufficient for this web-site.

God’s Chief Characteristic: If we, as Christians, were to endeavor to discover a scriptural balance for the multitude of issues that we continuously encounter throughout our life-long walk with Christ, we would first need to make an extremely crucial determination. This determination would be absolutely mandatory if we were going to effectively and accurately divide the Word of truth. My sincere conviction is that this determination would have to expound on, and concisely define, the primary characteristic, or attribute, of God. How would it ever be possible to make important, and sometimes eternal, decisions regarding the interpretation of the Bible, unless we were to first have an accurate understanding of what God is like at the core of His being? It is also my conviction that a correct understanding of our Creator’s primary attribute could, and would, have a beneficial effect for His people. Conceding ahead of time to the likelihood that, in this life, we will probably never have an answer to a fair number of the questions we may have regarding our walk with Him, I feel rather certain that we could still gain considerable ground by having a sober understanding of our Lord’s personality. Questions like; “Why don’t my prayers get answered?” and “Why do I feel like God is not listening to me?” just may take on a different light once the aforementioned determination is adequately understood.

Have you ever given any thought to what God’s chief characteristic is? If you had to name that one attribute that you believe would define God above all else, what would it be? Would it be love, mercy, patience, forgiveness or long-suffering? How about beautiful, majestic, omniscient or omnipotent? Now those are all biblically accurate descriptions of our God, but do they define His essence? Do they explain that which He is above all else? According to the Word of God, I believe that the only single adjective that can be categorically applied to His essence is HOLINESS. Above and beyond everything else that can be used to define Him, His righteousness stands supreme. The understanding of this biblical truth, or lack thereof, will have a powerful impact in your life as a Christian. In the rest of this section we will begin to examine a variety of scriptural passages that reflect God’s true character. Along with this examination I would also like to elaborate on the potential dangers that I feel can be, and have been, detrimental to those who may have misunderstood the true nature of our Lord.

Before we get started though, I do feel the need to address two particular areas. The first area is in regards to the distinction that many of us may make concerning the Old Testament vs. the New Testament. Since we are under the New Covenant now many of us may feel that the God of the Old Testament no longer exists. It is at this time that I would like to make mention of a couple of different passages. The first one, which is found in Hebrews 13:8, states, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” The second one is in Malachi 3:6, and it reads, “I the LORD do not change.” From the preceding verses I think it should be clear that even though we are now under the covenant of grace the nature of God has never and will never change. The reason I make mention of this at this point in the letter is because if we are not careful in our walk with Christ we can find ourselves at times treating as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that has sanctified us, Hebrews 10:29. In short, while we should always rejoice and abound in His grace, there seems to be an ever-increasing element in Christianity that would lead us to believe that the “love” of God would now permit and or allow any form of lifestyle that believers may choose to entertain. This critical error in theology brings me to the second area I feel needs clarification. That area concerns the biblical definition of love.

I am sure that many papers have already been written on the different types of love that are recorded in the Bible, but I would like to approach this subject from a slightly different angle. I would like to approach the topic of biblical love from the perspective of obedience. “But how does obedience relate to love?” “I thought the covenant of grace nullified the necessity for obedience.” “Doesn’t the 8th chapter of Romans state that nothing can separate us from the love of God?” Well, I’m glad you asked. First of all, the Bible clearly demonstrates from Genesis to Revelation that love is very closely associated with obedience, self-control, and righteous conduct. If I were to start naming related passages at this point I’m afraid I would end up never finishing this letter. But for the sake of this writing let us suffice to cite the words of Jesus himself. In the book of
John, 14:15, Jesus is recorded as saying, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” I am also fairly certain that if you read the entire 14th and 15th chapters of John’s gospel you will find a continuous correlation between love and obedience. Now if you were to hold these verses up to Romans 3:31, which reads, “Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.”, I think the misconception of grace nullifying the need for obedience could be discarded rather easily.

“Yes, but Romans also says that nothing can separate us from the love of God.” “How do you explain that?” In order to answer that question I would like to point out two passages from the book of Ezekiel, both of which say basically the same thing. They are Ezekiel 18:23 and 33:11. These verses declare that the Lord takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. It is the Lord’s will for us to turn back to Him and be obedient. “So, what’s your point?” My point is that God loves every person that has ever gone into eternity without Him. You are right to say that nothing can separate you from His love, but one would be eternally wrong to declare that nothing can separate you from His grace. In the same chapter of Romans just a few verses prior to the statements regarding the love of God, Paul also said, “Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”, Romans 8:12-14. So, we see that even though we are under grace it is those who “Walk” in that grace and “Follow” the Holy Spirit that will inherit eternal life and prove their love through obedience.

Again, we come back to the primary purpose of this writing. And that is to focus in on God’s chief characteristic. Once the primary attribute of God’s holiness is thoroughly explored I believe it will provide a lot of illumination and insight into our relationship with Him. As we turn now to the Word of God the first area I would like to explore is a variety of instances where men came into contact with their Creator. As we read the following passages please make note of the writers’ different accounts and what their general overall response was as they were confronted by the Lord.

Isaiah 6:1-7
1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple.
2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.
3 And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.”
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”
6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Ezekiel 1:25-28
25 Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings.
26 Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man.
27 I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him.
28 Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.

Ezekiel 3:22-23
22 The hand of the LORD was upon me there, and he said to me, “Get up and go out to the plain, and there I will speak to you.”
23 So I got up and went out to the plain. And the glory of the LORD was standing there, like the glory I had seen by the Kebar River, and I fell facedown.

Daniel 10:4-11 & 15-19
4 On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris,
5 I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist.
6 His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude.
7 I, Daniel, was the only one who saw the vision; the men with me did not see it, but such terror overwhelmed them that they fled and hid themselves.
8 So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision; I had no strength left, my face turned deathly pale and I was helpless.
9 Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground.

10 A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees.
11 He said, “Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.” And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling.

15 While he was saying this to me, I bowed with my face toward the ground and was speechless.
16 Then one who looked like a man touched my lips, and I opened my mouth and began to speak. I said to the one standing before me, “I am overcome with anguish because of the vision, my lord, and I am helpless.
17 How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe.”
18 Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. 19 “Do not be afraid, O man highly esteemed,” he said. “Peace! Be strong now; be strong.”

Exodus 3:5-6
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”
6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Exodus 19:20-25
20 The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up
21 and the LORD said to him, “Go down and warn the people so they do not force their way through to see the LORD and many of them perish.
22 Even the priests, who approach the LORD, must consecrate themselves, or the LORD will break out against them.”

23 Moses said to the LORD, “The people cannot come up Mount Sinai, because you yourself warned us, ‘Put limits around the mountain and set it apart as holy.’”
24 The LORD replied, “Go down and bring Aaron up with you. But the priests and the people must not force their way through to come up to the LORD, or he will break out against them.”
25 So Moses went down to the people and told them.

Exodus 33:18-23
18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”
19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”
21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.
22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.
23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

Revelation 1:12-18
12 I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands,
13 and among the lampstands was someone “like a son of man,” dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest.
14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire.
15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters.
16 In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.
18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Revelation 4:1-11
1 After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.”
2 At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it.
3 And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne.
4 Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads.
5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God.
6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back.
7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.
8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.”
9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever,
10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
11″You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Now, throughout these various passages of scripture did you notice the common overall theme? And did you by chance notice what wasn’t recorded? By far, the most common response to being confronted by God was to fall down on your face as you stood before a “Holy God”. But also pay attention to what the writers did not say. Contrary to the many “near death experiences” that we have heard so much about I have never seen it recorded in scripture that when people faced God they were overcome with a feeling of inexpressible love. However, I do see the expressions of awesome fear and reverence quite frequently.

Before we proceed further I feel that I should take a moment right now and iterate my position on the true love of God. My purpose in writing this letter was to actually draw attention to the love of God, not drive people away from it. Howbeit, I will readily admit that my position is slanted towards righteousness. Let me see if I can explain better. I believe that it can be concisely stated that God’s love for us is beyond measure. The price that was paid for our salvation cost God everything He had, His only Son. But therein lies my whole point. Why did our salvation have to be paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ? Is it not for the simple fact that the love of God can never supersede His righteousness? Outside of the blood of Christ we have no access to God. Jesus himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Certainly, if God’s foremost attribute were love we would have had no need for Jesus Christ to suffer on the cross for us. But we know that’s not true. With that being said, let us redirect now and do a little review of the passages we just read. With regards to Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8, notice what it is that the angelic beings that stand before God’s throne are saying. It is “Holy, holy, holy” that is spoken continuously while in His presence. And of the passages cited it is recorded that Ezekiel, Daniel, and John all fell on their face before Him. Even Moses was unable to look at God’s face and live. God also told Moses to keep the people from trying to come up to see God or they would be destroyed. In Isaiah 6:5, we can see that the prophet became so aware of his own sin while in God’s presence that he referred to himself as being ruined, or undone. All of the passages listed here, along with many others that aren’t, give solid support to the statement that God’s holiness reigns supreme over His many other wonderful attributes.

“Alright then, you made your point.” “But I still don’t see how this realization affects my life in Christ.” “I still don’t understand how this answers my questions about my prayers not being answered.” “Where are all the fireworks?” “Where is the huge benefit that I am supposed to get by understanding this magnificent truth?”

Once again, I’m glad you asked. Understanding the truth about the nature of God is the cornerstone of this entire theme, “Striking a Balance.” It is my position that the understanding of God’s chief characteristic ties itself irrevocably to every conceivable aspect of our Christian lives. Every decision we make, every action we take, every thought we think, and every prayer we pray has to inevitably be held up to the light of His true nature if we are ever going to find, or strike, a balance in our Christian lives.

It is once this principle is understood and put into practice in our everyday existence that we will begin to see the “fireworks” take place in our lives. You see, God is not a big Ogre standing over us and waiting for us to do something wrong. Nor is He a pushover when it comes to violating His holy standards. That is what the grace of God and the shed blood of Christ are all about. That sacrifice affords the liberty to pursue the things of God. It does not provide us the luxury of pursuing things that don’t stand up in the light of who He really is.

Now, let’s put this concept into practice and address some of those real issues and problems that seem to go unanswered or unresolved in our Christian walk. But please also note that this is not an exhaustive dissertation on any one issue. The following examples are simply being listed to give support to this letter and to attempt to point believers in a direction that I sincerely believe will benefit them. In the text that follows I have taken the liberty to list some of the questions and issues that seem to be fairly common to many of us. I have also included some basic responses to those questions that might be able to be applied in light of the position that is being taken in this letter. Throughout my years of serving the Lord and ministering to His people I have found that the following items seem to plague many believers, myself included at times. Let me also say again that this Q&A section is not all-inclusive. It is just food for thought.

Question: I am a single Christian that loves God and wants nothing more than to be married, settle down, and serve God. Why doesn’t He answer my prayer? Wouldn’t I be much more effective as a believer if I had someone to share with? How much longer do I have to be alone?

Response: I have a real soft spot in my heart for single Christians. Their hurt is real. I know because I have been there. Throughout our ministry, my wife and I have probably spent more time dealing with this issue than any other. Giving a helpful, accurate, and constructive response to this is difficult because you are dealing with individuals that are very alone. And unlike the rest of the world, they don’t have the liberty to take whatever measures they wish to resolve their problem. So, here is my careful response from the perspective of the nature of God. First of all, we know that Jesus said that not only are the hairs of our head numbered, but that the Father knows what we are in need of before we ask; see Mathew 6:8 & 10:30. We also know that in 1st Corinthians chapter 7 Paul gives his blessing to those that desire marriage.

“Yes, I know, but then why am I still alone?” In order to answer that let me ask you a few questions. In your past as a Christian, how have you responded when a potential mate has come your way? Did you keep God first in the relationship or did Christ get shelved while you pursued your dream? I mention this because it seems to be all too common with single believers. What are your standards for choosing a mate? Are your requirements based on what the Lord would want in a spouse for you or are they based on physical and material aspects?

The answer I usually get for this question is: “Well. I’m not going to marry someone that I’m not attracted to.” Now, I realize what these people are saying but I think it also sheds some light on what their priorities may be. One thing I have learned from being with the Lord for as long as I have is that we all have our Isaac’s. Meaning that I have noticed that the Lord seems to be acutely aware of where our true heart is at all times, and he makes no apologies for testing us in these areas. So my final question on this topic is; if the Lord were to never give you this particular desire would you stay true to Him or would you maybe just continue to serve Him begrudgingly? You see there are those that will leave the Lord over certain things and then there are those that will stay with Him, but will always be disgruntled.

Question: I have been seeking healing for a particular area of my life, whether it be physical or emotional. I have called for the elders of the church and they have prayed for me, but I still have not been healed. Why do some people get healed and others don’t?

Response: First of all, let’s understand that in spite of what all the “faith healers” have been telling us, our God is still a sovereign God and He reigns supreme over the affairs of men. This is not to say that the scriptures regarding healing aren’t true, but they do have to be viewed in light of the entire Word of God. One day, each one of us will have to trust the Lord to lead us out of this life and into His arms. Now, the Lord is a good God and the scriptures do teach us that we should pray always and hope for all things, but the Word of God and His Holy Spirit have never been tools that we can use to manipulate for our own purposes. The Bible and the Holy Spirit are intended to be resources that we can utilize to line ourselves up with God’s way of doing things. Having said this, I would like to make mention of the fact that I have seen the Lord do some amazing things in people’s lives. Please also understand that Jesus Christ did not pay the price that He did for you in order to play a passive role in your life. What this means is that God has an intentional plan for every one of His people. Just because you may not be receiving the healing that you desire does not necessarily mean that there is anything wrong.

On the other hand, according to the scriptures we certainly realize that there is a place for difficulties to be allowed into our lives in an attempt to draw our attention to something that God would like to address. It is with this in mind that I would like to ask you a few questions.

One of the first questions I ask myself when I start to become ill, outside of the possibility that it may just be a naturally occurring sickness, is; how has my attitude been towards the Lord lately? Is there any bitterness or resentment towards God due to unresolved issues? As I have stated before in previous letters, resentment, anger, and bitterness can be very common in the Christian community. Since we may not be allowed scripturally to resolve our problems the way the world often does, it can be easy to hold it in and harbor a lot of sin. Yes, that’s what I called it and that’s what the Bible calls it. See Hebrews chapter 12.

What paths have you been taking recently with regards to your career, your ministry, your relationships, and your leisure time? Is it possible that in one or more of these areas that you have taken the direction that Balaam did? There have been times in my own life when the direction God had for me in a particular area was very clear, but I didn’t care much for it. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that what I wanted to do was sinful, but it was not what God wanted. Remember that God has a specific plan for each one of us and He reserves the right to pull in on the reigns if He has to.

Last, but not least, is the subject of intentional and willful disobedience and misconduct. Contrary to what some may teach, God is the same today as He was 10,000 years ago. Regardless of what dispensation we are under, the New Testament reiterates that God’s position on intentional sin has never changed. It will be met with severe consequences if we do not come clean with God and turn away from whatever it is that is displeasing to Him. It is healthy, wise, and prudent to examine our hearts regularly and ask ourselves if this situation applies to us.

Question: Alright, I understand where you are going with this lesson and I agree with you, but I have a problem with understanding the balance between grace mixed with holiness verses legalism and fear. How can we be free in the Lord’s grace if we are always in fear of not measuring up to His holiness? Whenever I start down this path I feel like I’m saved one minute and lost the next.

Response: Ah yes, well, this is where “striking a balance” comes into play. Once we come to terms with the true nature of God and the immeasurable price that was paid for our salvation, the enemy would love to rush in and polarize believers towards one extreme or another. If Satan can convince us to throw caution to the wind and live overly free in God’s grace he will have succeeded in enslaving us once again into sin’s grasp. If he, however, can trick us into trying to keep all of God’s laws he will have also succeeded in trapping us in the bonds of legalism. The result is the same in that Christ has become of little or no effect to us.

So, where is the balance? The balance is found in keeping your eyes on Christ in all things. Even though God’s law still applies, if you try to base your salvation on keeping the law you will come up short because the entire purpose of the law was to make us aware of our sin. For reference please read Romans 3:19-24. If we, however, are constantly focusing on Jesus Christ instead of the letter of the law we will find that His Holy Spirit will lead us in paths of righteousness, and as time goes by we will find that the law is being fulfilled in our lives through faith in Christ! This is where the true balance lies. Those that accept Christ and then refuse to walk in His grace will find themselves once again facing the God of the Old Testament and the law associated with it. When that happens no man can stand or face God because we have effectively abandoned the only true righteousness that exists for us. That being Christ Jesus our Lord.

It is at this time that I would like to conclude with some exhortations from the scriptures. These passages reflect, what I believe to be, a mandate for believers that are seeking to cast their hope in Christ and live pleasing lives before a “Holy God” through faith in the Son of God.

1st Peter 1:13-16
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.
15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;
16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Hebrews 12:14-17
14 Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
15 See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
16 See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.
17 Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears.


Romans 8:1-17
1Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,
2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,
4 in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.
5 Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
6 The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;
7 the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.
8 Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.
9 You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ.
10 But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.
12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it.
13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live,
14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.
15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.



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