Crosses             LBG                  HateLove

Devotional - week of June 5, 2005


STARTING AGAIN

… For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.  Romans 6:19

 

There is no such thing as instant Christian maturity. Romans 6:19 reveals the necessity of Christian growth.

 

There are at least two times when a believer might think that he has become a mature believer but he has not arrived yet. Both times are during sovereign grace periods—one follows conversion to Christ and the second follows entrance into the life of grace.

 

Both sovereign grace periods come to an end when the believer seeks to serve God in his own strength. This brings the flesh back into power. Sins are the inevitable result. Paul’s sovereign grace period following his conversion came to an end when he committed himself to keeping the tenth commandment. The commitment resulted in Paul being filled with all types of covetousness.

 

Following his entrance into the life of grace, Paul had lapses into flesh living. When this happened he knew what to do. Read Romans 7:24-25.

 

Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!  

 

Paul knew that the way back to victory was experiencing his union with Christ by obeying the five commands of Romans 6:11-13. The way back to grace was starting again.

 

Unfortunately some believers who have decided that grace does not work have returned to their pre-grace approach to victory by confessing their sins, by asking God to take sin out of their lives, and by returning again to do their best for Jesus.

 

If obeying the commands of Romans 6:11-13 worked for awhile for you and then seemed to fail, start again.

 

Some believers have had victory over sin by obeying the command to reckon themselves dead to sin with a prayer—thanking God that they are dead to sin and alive to God and don’t have to sin.

 

The sovereign grace periods reveal what living by grace is like. Real growth in the life of grace begins when the sovereign grace period ends and we continue to live out the five commands.