I was so thrilled when my pastor told me he will be preaching through Romans 8 over the next several weeks. It’s considered by many to be one of the richest chapters in all of scripture, and this weekend didn’t disappoint. Our pastor is calling the series “A Believer’s Manifesto” and indeed it is. He taught Romans 8:1-11 this weekend and I wanted to share a few reflections.
The verse that leaps out at me (besides verse 1) is verse 8: Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. There are at least two ways in which the Bible says it’s impossible to please God: living in the flesh, and living without faith (Hebrews 11:6). This tells me that both my obedient actions and my heart motives must be right in order to please God. If I am disobedient to God’s laws, walking in the flesh, then of course I am not pleasing God. But even if I am in perfect obedience to the law, yet lack faith, I am not lovely to God. This is something I didn’t understand as a younger Christian, but it’s finally starting to sink in.
“Not even the best white-knuckling can please God,” my pastor explained this weekend. My best efforts at keeping the law unto salvation are futile at best, offensive to God at worst (Isaiah 64:6). The Pharisees attempted, and arguably succeeded in most points, to keep the law to a tee. They even tithed off their spice racks, but Jesus called them whitewashed tombs (Mark 23:23-27). It is repentance and faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross that makes us pleasing to God. Ultimately no resolution or self-motivation can change my heart motives. Only a Holy Spirit-powered heart regeneration can catapult me into the category of both living in the Spirit and having true faith.
Our churches mission statement is simply this:
We exist to make much of Jesus and to live in light of the Gospel.
Now that we live in and with the Spirit, all that we do glorifies Christ. Whether butcher, baker, or candlestick maker – we do it all to the glory of God!