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Thankful for... my Savior

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Thankful for... my Savior

Romans 7:7–8:1 ESV
What then shall we say? That the law is sin? By no means! Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead. I was once alive apart from the law, but when the commandment came, sin came alive and I died. The very commandment that promised life proved to be death to me. For sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Did that which is good, then, bring death to me? By no means! It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure. For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
Well, here we are. We're finally in the Christmas season. It's now socially acceptable to listen to and sing Christmas music, put up your trees, and eat more cookies than are really good for you, but only if they're Christmas themed.
It's time to get out those little baby Jesuses and put up the nativities and tell the Christmas story- how God came to us to save us.
But in the Christmas season, it's important to remember, that without a cross, there would have never been a manger. We wouldn't have cared. Historically, who cares about a peasant child from a tiny town if he never did anything revolutionary?
But he did, didn't he? He is God, but became incarnate- he made his dwelling among us. He walked among us, and spoke and laughed, and ate. He showed us the will of God by performing miracles. Then he went to the Cross, and although he was innocent, he willingly died upon it to save us all. Then he proved it by rising from the dead!
I think sometimes, we don't understand the depth of this salvation...
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He's making the case for the law being a good thing. But that the whole purpose of the Law is to show us how short we all are. [[]]
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This is Paul saying that your sin is not your identity. Our identity is given to us by our savior. Our identity is loved, chosen, called, saved, and redeemed. We are at war. We have three enemies:
1. Satan
2. The World
3. The Flesh
And the thrust that Paul is making here is that even though we (our flesh) died to sin in the grace of Christ, there are times when our flesh tries to deceive us into thinking it rivals the power of God by trying to resurrect from the dead. But
Our enemies' power is always just a cheap imitation of the power of God.
[[]]
How many of you have ever tried to start a diet? Keep a New Year's resolution? Form a new habit? Is it easy or hard? If it's easy for you, good job, because most people who start a New Year's resolution don't make it past February. Our sinful nature is like that. It's like, we want to do stuff, we have good desires, but we can't carry them out (at least not consistently) on our own power. We need the life-giving, saving, enabling power of Jesus given to us by the Holy Spirit.
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See, Paul understands his own sinfulness the more he dwells on what he is becoming.
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He is a new creation, and yet, he has the stench of this dead man on him.
It's like what Jesus said in [[]]
See, the original text shows us the number 10,000 talents (equivalent to 1/2 sack of coffee, or about 65 lbs.). 10,000 talents of silver would be worth *$7.2 billion.* If we're talking about gold, it would be *$108 billion.*
And the other servant Jesus talks about owing the first servant 100 denarii... about $800.
It's easy to forget to forgive other people's piddly debts to us when we lose sight of how much we have been forgiven.
Jesus' point isn't that some of us have debts that are smaller than others. The point is that we have all been forgiven a MASSIVE, UNPAYABLE debt through his blood. And that's why I'm thankful for my savior.
In light of our sinfulness, and our brokenness, our reaction should be one of overwhelming gratitude, like what happens to Jesus in [[]]
The woman is so overwhelmed by her own sinfulness in the presence of Jesus' perfection even reclining there at the table, she forsakes her own sense of shame to get to his feet. She begins weeping on Jesus' feet and ignoring her shame, lets down her hair in an attempt to make up for such a mishap to dry them. Then, she pours her expensive perfume on his feet to anoint them. Then she gives Jesus great honor (such as a woman in her position could offer) by kissing his feet. And the whole point is to point to the right reaction of sinners in the presence of their savior. That we can be nothing but broken. We are nothing but sinful. We are nothing but shameful, and he is well within his rights to send us away, but instead, he honors us.
And that's why she was thankful for her savior. And why I'm thankful for my savior.
That story conjures up some powerful imagery. It's even inspired one of my favorite songs.
[[Alabaster]]
May we all be broken at the feet of our savior and able to sing those words.
Paul could. He was a murderer. An enemy. It took Jesus coming down out of heaven and punching him in the eye (it's in the Greek) and blinding him to get him to change sides. At the call of many prophets in the OT, they have this moment- where they, in all their sinfulness, come face to face with a perfect God.
[[]]
I like how the ESV words this... let me read...
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.”
It isn't this enthusiastic decision to go, like it sounds. It's more introspective than that. It's the realization that God called him to this task, and there was no one else that could go. Isaiah basically was saying, "you've anointed me for this task. Who else could go?"
Like the prophets before him, Paul had an encounter with God that left him trembling.
[[]]
WOE TO ME!
But Paul was thankful for his savior.
[[]]
May we be thankful for our savior, that even though we were enemies, Christ died for us. He made us new. And may we remember this Christmas season that without a cross, there would never have been a manger.
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