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Introduction

Sometimes, it’s only after we hear bad news that we get really excited about good news. When I was in college, I took this Intro to Philosophy class. If you ever want to be confused about the world, just read and think about philosophy. I once read this article where a guy argued that the universe we live in is a computer simulation, and then ended his article and was like, psych, I don’t actually think this…it’s just more likely than God existing. Anyway, I got my first test back and I got a 40%. Forty. Then, I got smooth C’s on the next two. I was smoked. I needed an A on our final just to pass. A few days before the final, our professor emailed us and said that we had done excellent work that semester and we didn’t have to take the final and he was going to give us a 100%. That was good news. I think I had a dance party in my room. It would have been good news no matter, what but less so if I had an A in the class already. The bad news paved the way for my joy at the good news.
In Romans, so far, there has been a lot of bad news. Paul keeps hammering home ideas about sin and the law and how the human ways we have had of getting right with God are not working. And let me tell you, they still don’t work. But all this has paved the way for some serious good news. He’s spoken of Christ and his work before, but now, in , we get this massive chapter all about what God is doing right now in our lives through the Spirit of God. It’s a huge chapter, but I want to read the whole thing, so stick with me.
Read .

The Spirit Frees us from Slavery to Sin

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So, here’s the deal. Paul has been talking this whole time about how to get right with God. And what happens when we put our faith in Jesus, when we die with him and are raised to new life in baptism? We get the Holy Spirit! (, 8).
Now, you might be like: what is a holy spirit and why would I want one? There’s a book about the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan called Forgotten God, because we talk about “God” as in God the Father a lot, and we talk about Jesus a lot, but we forget about the Holy Spirit sometimes.
As Christians, we believe in one God, but we believe that he has always existed in three persons: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus), and God the Spirit. The Spirit often gets overlooked because we don’t really know what he does. Maybe he makes people speak in different languages or heal people. Maybe he’s a ghost? I dunno.
The Holy Spirit, in the Bible, is God in us. The night before Jesus dies, he tells his disciples something amazing. He says, I’m leaving you, but it’s actually better for you that I leave, because in my place I’m going to send the Holy Spirit. This is amazing because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought, man wouldn’t it be awesome to be a disciple, to get to walk with Jesus and talk to him. I’d never sin! And Jesus is rolling on the ground laughing, because Jesus knows that I have it even better now. We don’t just get to be near God, we have God living in us through the Holy Spirit!
And God in us frees us from slavery to sin. This is one of Paul’s favorite metaphors for sin. It is the master, we are the slaves. Sin controls us. Sin demands much of us. Sin oppresses us. Sin promises good, but only gives pain. Sin makes us stuck.
Sin is slavery
But, when the Spirit enters our lives, we are freed from sin and given a new leader: the Holy Spirit.
One of my favorite books growing up was the Count of Monte Cristo. It has been made into a movie, and in the movie, the main character, Edmond, meets a band of robbers who are about kill one of their own members. But Edmond, saves his life and frees him. Then, the robber, Jacobo, pledges his life to Edmond and serves him the rest of his life.
Sin is slavery
When we choose Jesus, the Spirit frees us from sin, and instead, we follow Jesus. We serve God the rest of our lives. Not sin. And this gives us new life.

The Spirit Gives us Hope for the Future

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But the new life is not here yet. We suffer now. We may be free from sin, but it still exists in the world. And a sinful world is a world of suffering. We suffer because people reject us out of fear and selfishness. We suffer because people steal from us - our credit and our work in school and sports. We suffer because people put us down in order to lift themselves up. AND we suffer because we contribute to suffering around us.
But, if you’re a Christian, there’s another reason you might suffer. The Christians that Paul was writing to here, and in other places throughout the New Testament suffered because they lived in a way that challenged the culture of the world. Because of that, they were being persecuted. They were suffering because they followed Jesus. If you really follow Jesus, then the way you live will challenge culture, and you may suffer because of it.
Not just us, but the whole world.
But in all this, there is hope because of the Spirit. The Spirit is remaking the world. It says that the Spirit is a foretaste of future glory. It’s like a sneak peek of what’s coming with heaven.
When you see the trailer for a movie, you get a little idea of what it’s going to be like, but you don’t get the full experience. The Spirit in you now is a little idea of how amazing heaven will be.
The Spirit is remaking us and the world. (New Bodies.)
So, in this life, we hope for what is coming. And we hope even when it’s hard. Verse 28 says that all things work together for the good of those who love God. What Paul is saying here is that you will suffer in this life. You will be hurt and left out and looked over and in pain. But God is so good that he can take the absolute worst thing in your life, and he can make something beautiful out of it. We have hope because there is a 100% chance that God will take your pain and turn it into glory.

Response: Worship

I don’t have much else to say, except that this is dope.
Nothing can separate you from the love of God in Jesus. When you feel far from God, look at Jesus. You might think your past sin is in the way, you might think that your uncertainty is in the way, you might think that your parents are in the way, or your boyfriend, or the devil himself, but nothing can stand between you and God’s love.
It’s right there, on the cross.
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