Romans 8

Recently, I found my mind churning, thinking about a sinful attitude that I had just realized I had been having. I was stuck in a circle of guilt and shame. I realized I was feeling condemned, as Romans 8:1 talks about, but I also realized that the words of that scripture had not fully penetrated my mind and heart. Sometimes, “The Message” paraphrase of the Bible can break through the familiarity of some verses for me, so I looked it up:

“With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ’s being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.” – Romans 8:1-2 MSG

A low-lying black cloud is exactly what I was experiencing. Could God renew my mind with the truth that Christ has freed me from sin and death?

“God went for the jugular when he sent his own Son. He didn’t deal with the problem as something remote and unimportant. In his Son, Jesus, he personally took on the human condition, entered the disordered mess of struggling humanity in order to set it right once and for all. The law code, weakened as it always was by fractured human nature, could never have done that. The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of a deep healing of it. And now what the law code asked for but we couldn’t deliver is accomplished as we, instead of redoubling our own efforts, simply embrace what the Spirit is doing in us.” – Romans 8:3-4 MSG

I was reminded of God’s mercy and patience towards me – and how amazing it is that he hasn’t given up on me even though my heart still has ugly attitudes and many times my words and actions still reflect my flesh. My heart was finally looking “up” at the God who has been so merciful, and the knot in my stomach loosened as God used his word to shift my focus off my sin and onto what He has accomplished on my behalf. All glory to Him!