Thought for the Week - 22nd JulyPastor Gareth Watkins
Romans 4: 20-25
Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise.
In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God.
He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises.
And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous.
And when God counted him as righteous,
it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit.
It was recorded for our benefit, too,
assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him,
the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.
He was handed over to die because of our sins,
and he was raised to life to make us right with God.
Romans 6: 5-7
Since we have been united with him in his death,
we will also be raised to life as he was.
We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ
so that sin might lose its power in our lives.
We are no longer slaves to sin.
For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
Do you believe everyone can be born again through faith in Christ? Do you believe that Jesus identifies Himself with us in our guilt? Do you believe that Jesus became the penalty for our sin? Do you believe that we can, by the power of the Holy Spirit, can follow Him into resurrection and ascension unto eternity? Do you believe that we’re made alive together with Him? Do you believe that we’re members of a new race? Do you believe that we are justified, forgiven, redeemed and raised from the dead in this life? Do you believe that we go to the cross so that we can be resurrected time and time again in this life?
We actually go to the cross to be resurrected, time and time again. There is a sense that we’re once saved always saved, but there’s also a sense that we go to the cross with our problems, our sin, our difficulties and our issues, time and time again. Those things that would bring us death are resurrected in the power of Christ, and we become alive, time and time again. Things can come to us that take us that would take us down a path to spiritual death. But if we take them to Christ, time and time again, He can bring His life and resurrect us into a new life in that situation.
We need to see the need to go back to the cross time and time, and time, again. We need to go back to the cross time and time again with our problems, our issues, our needs, for the resurrection power. And we, in a sense, are resurrected into new life in that situation; God’s life.
When Jesus walked this earth, He proclaimed “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He proclaimed “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live” (John 11:25). He said to the people “do you believe this?” (John 11:26). Every week in our church we hear testimonies that show we can live because we have faith in Christ.
The things that would hold us in the grave can be broken off us as we step and bring them forward to Christ. New life, the life of Christ, can come into that circumstance because of Jesus Christ. The resurrection life of God can come into these problems when we bring these problems and situations to Him time and time again.
Yet, even though we see these things, all of us are guilty from time to time of stopping short. We don’t quite press on to the full mark that God has for us. We stop short. Perhaps we allow a hardness of heart, perhaps we engage in a small sin, we let the world crowd in, or turn to self. In so doing, we stop short. We can see the effect. We can sense a spiritual light dimming. What do we do?
We take whatever it maybe to the cross of Christ, time and time again. Whatever that situation is, it needs to go back before Christ for him to bring the resurrection power into our lives and that problem, so we can live and be spiritually alive.
We see in the verses above that Abraham never waivers in believing God’s promises. God can’t lie about His promises. That’s a brilliant thing to hold on to – God never pulls back on His promises! Abraham knew that. Even though he didn’t have a bible or the church, he never wavered. Indeed, we read that his faith grew stronger as he brought glory to God. He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever He promised.
Yet, we stop short. Yet, things happen. Yet, life crowds in. And we have a need to progress and go on, again and again.
When we first see Christ as Saviour, we see Him as saviour, redeemer and the life giver. We then need to see Christ as saviour, redeemer and life give time and time again, over these things that may come against us. We have to come to a place where we go to that cross. We have to go back to Him with our difficulties, our pains and our problems. We have to go back time and time again, so the death of the things of this world won’t come upon us and grip us once again. If we don’t take them to the cross, there’ll be a permanency and a long lasting effect from these things that want to grip us.
We need to see the love of Christ. He loved us so much that He went to the cross being slapped, spat at, with His hair pulled. He endured our sins in love. The love of Christ went beyond all the horrible things that went on at the moment of the cross, so that we could be free. That was the love of Christ that He had for each one of us. That is what He endured so we could be free. The love of Christ can come into circumstances that hold us in a grip. When we lay at the foot of the cross and see the love of Christ, we are able to hand over that hurt and that problem, and the resurrection of Christ can come into our situation.
A circumstance could bring us to a spiritual death, but instead when we bring it to the cross, His life comes into the circumstance and we can live again. We have to go back time and time again.
I see people who take their burdens, sins and rebellions to the cross of Christ. I see the effect it has on them. I see them come to Christ with that circumstance, that sin, that problem – time and time again. Christ comes into that circumstance, and what should be dead and destructive, when they brought it to Christ the resurrection power comes into it and then the life of God comes into it, and they can live again. And they can go on again. We are alive because Christ has made us alive.
God’s promises are there for you.
Be encouraged. We are alive because Christ has made us alive! We are alive because He keeps on making us alive. It’s not only once. We’re continually being made alive.
The passage above confirms that Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promises. God’s promises are there for you and for me. God is for us not against us. Abraham believed. God brought it to him as faith. Was it for Abraham alone? No, it was for all who believed in Christ thereafter. It was for our benefit too:
Romans 4: 24
It was recorded for our benefit, too
God is showing us the things that belong to a faithful man. Even though we don’t deserve it, we get afforded it because of what Christ did. That is why we need to go back to the cross time and time again, because the life of Christ can come into our circumstance and the life of faith is given to us. We’re no longer bound in that terrible circumstance that takes us to a spiritual death. The problem unites us with Him, because He has raised us up to life in the problem. We see the problem lose its power. The person who was held in the grip of a terrible illness, tragedy or something else, can be freed from it because of what Christ has brought through uniting us with Him. Sin loses its power.
When we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.
Have you anyone seen someone gripped by a life-controlling sin that they can’t get free from? They need that sin can be broken. The only hope they have is Christ Himself. God is able to do what He promises.
The scriptures were good for Abraham, they were good for Christ who came after him, and they’re good for us too because God keeps His promises. He quits us of our sins. The sins that should be held and counted against us, are freed from us so that we might live. That’s the resurrection story that we need bring to ourselves and our families day by day. There’s a cross that can deal with our problems. There’s a cross that can deal with our circumstances.
If you don’t want to take your problems to Christ, you won’t experience that new life. Those who believe in the resurrection and taken their problems to the cross, will see the new life of Christ and the resurrection power of Christ coming to them. The life that we get is a testimony to the promises that were given to Abraham, Christ, and all the ongoing people who are saved under Jesus Christ. He was handed over to die because of our sins. He was raised to life to make us right with God. And it starts now. The feeling and the knowledge of being right with God now.
The promises of God bring us life. Let us take our circumstances to Him and to the cross all our days, time and time again.
Such a powerful word.