Romans 8 : 10 - 17, And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors -- not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father." The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs -- heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. NKJV
It doesn't matter what church you attend, eventually someone is going to sing "Amazing Grace." We love to sing, discuss, and hear sermons about God's amazing grace. After all, if wasn't for His great grace, none of us would be attending the Marriage Supper of the Lamb with our Bridegroom in heaven someday. However, if you look beyond the surface of God's saving grace, you will discover that it wasn't fair. How could God offer His innocent Son upon a cruel cross and allow Him to go to hell in our place? If that wasn't bad enough, then He allowed us, who were guilty of sin, to be released from the penalty of sin and didn't require us to do one thing to deserve or earn it? Where's the fairness in that, I ask?
Now that we've discussed God's saving grace, let's turn our focus to God's empowering grace. The first paragraph addresses the love of God that brought us to salvation in Christ. This paragraph will address the love of God that empowers us to become Christ-like. Ouch! I love today's passages from Romans 8 where Paul teaches us about the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, as Christians. I was with him like air in a tire, until he got down to that last sentence. What does he mean, telling us believers that we have to suffer with Christ if we're going to rule with Him one day?
Since becoming a child of God, have you had to suffer some stuff that caused you to feel ashamed? Why does God allow Christians, who love Him with their whole hearts to suffer certain trials? Does it mean that God isn't pleased with us, and that He wants to teach us a good lesson? No, it doesn't. Remember, the JUST shall live by faith. Why would God not require us to pay for our sins while we were sinners, but make us pay for our weaknesses now that we're His children? You see; that reasoning doesn't make sense or line up with the Word of God. Paul tells us in Romans 5, if Christ died for the ungodly while we were still sinners, how much more, now that we have been made just through His blood is God going to save us from His wrath?
When Christians experience trials that bring shame or embarrassment to them, we must choose to suffer the reproach of Christ right along with Jesus. The key is to continue in obedience during the trial, just as we did before the trial began. Job stated in his afflictions that even though God slay him, yet he would trust Him. The only other option is to take on a victim mindset and accuse God falsely. This is called giving yourself to the spirit of offense.
Let's talk about grace not being fair for a moment. If Christ, who was innocent, was willing to suffer the shame and disgrace of the cross for us, then shouldn't we also choose to suffer the reproach and shame of being associated with the cause of Christ for Him? I'm not suggesting that disease, and disasters make you more righteous or holy, but what I am implying is this... in all things we are to be thankful and remain pliable in God's hands. The trap that we must be careful not to fall into is the one where we say, "Why me Lord?" "God, this isn't fair!"
Paul had every "right" to teach the church about the sufferings of Christians in order to reign with Christ one day. Once God converted Paul and called him into the ministry, he soon realized beatings, stoning, ship-wrecks, and snake bites would become a real part of his walk and ministry. Out of desperation, Paul asked God to take the reproach away from him, but God replied, "My GRACE is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in your weakness." Is God's grace fair? No, it isn't. Nevertheless, thank God for our sakes, it isn't. However, God's grace is indeed just. This too shall pass. Faith in the fire transforms us into the image of Christ.
Walking by God's Unmerited Grace,
Pastor Asa Dockery