Archive for the ‘Romans’ Category

December 18th, 2015

Unity

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:5-7 (ESV)

Unity is important. Unity in the body of Christ is important because of how diverse people from different socioeconomic backgrounds who have different interests in life come together in love to accomplish the overarching purpose of growing the Kingdom of God and reflect the power of the gospel. As Christ Himself said, people know we are His children by how we love one another, as such love is impossible to possess without the spirit of God doing a transforming work within us (John 13:35).  The way we live in harmony with one another says something about the truth of the message of Jesus. Unity is important.

Unity is also hard. Notice that Paul, in writing to the Romans about living in harmony with one another, calls upon God to grant His people both endurance and encouragement. What an interesting combination of attributes Paul asks the Lord to share! Why would he ask for these things? Well, the second is rather obvious, as certainly we are constantly in need of encouragement to remember both the goal of the Christian and the motivation for seeing it through. We must be continually reminded of Christ’s superlative nature in comparison to all other things.

Endurance, though, seems to be a bit more unusual, unless of course you have spent much time trying to protect unity. Even though the true people of the Church are regenerate, they have not yet become perfect, meaning that they still sin and mess up. As a result, feelings get hurt, promises are broken, and relationships fall apart from unwarranted suspicions and careless words. To pursue unity, then, in the midst of such hurt is hard work. To commit to let personal feelings and justified anger go requires a great deal of personal sacrifice for the good of the whole, motivated by Christ’s actions as seen in vs. 7.

We must extend grace to one another as the people of God, committing to live in harmony with our spiritual family no matter the difficulty, understanding that such unity in the midst of enormous diversity reflects the heart of our Heavenly Father and the power of the gospel over sin.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, December 18th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Endurance, Romans, Unity.
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December 17th, 2015

Do Not Be Conformed, but Transformed

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

The gospel of Jesus Christ is a transforming message, meaning that the truth contained therein is meant to be more than informative. This truth is meant to strike at the core of who we are and radically alter both the way we view the world and act in it. This type of reaction is very different from simple conformity. Conformity simply observes the rituals and practices of society generally and engages in them in order to be accepted. As you and I both know, however, this behavioral attestation can be very dangerous, as culture so often because of depravity leads one away from intimacy with the Lord rather than to it.

Paul’s challenge to us is clear. As followers of Christ, no longer must we look to our culture and the norms of the day as our standard of acceptance; rather, we must continually sacrifice our need for human acceptance for a greater acceptance in the Lord. In order to do this, then, we must radically offer our very lives to Christ, shaping and molding them in light of the truth of the gospel, making decisions and thinking thoughts that demonstrate the Holy Spirit’s power within us.

Today, commit to live a transformed life, looking only to the message of Christ as an example of salvific behavior. Do not become distracted by the interests of this world, once again conforming to its values and idols, but rather reject those for the supreme knowledge of Christ incarnate, crucified, and resurrected.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, December 17th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Romans, Sacrifice, Transformation.
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December 16th, 2015

There is Now No Condemnation

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 (ESV)

Christ changed everything! This sweet truth provides the underlying message of all of Romans, no more clearly communicated than in this climactic statement in the beginning of chapter 8. Paul begins with “therefore,” referencing all the material in the preceding chapters to proudly proclaim that now in Christ Jesus there is no condemnation. Of course, under the law, we were all condemned, as it revealed our unworthiness in light of God’s holiness. Now, however, that Christ has given us life instead of death and released us from the law through His perfect obedience, we are freed from condemnation because He was condemned.

Child of God, rejoice, in this truth today! The wrath of God has been satisfied. The fear of death has lost its sting. The bondage to sin that we had in depravity has been eternally loosened, for Christ has set us free. When you and I submit our lives to His Lordship, we are protected eternally, as Paul later points out:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:38-39 ESV).

Do you live in light of this truth? Do you live as if you are free? Are you filled with the joy that this news rightly demands? Far too many of us continue to live in condemnation of ourselves for failures when Christ has already overcome them. Do not diminish His great gift by living in defeat. Live today in the freedom of Romans 8:1!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Condemnation, Freedom, Romans.
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December 15th, 2015

Do Not Let Sin Reign

“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.” Romans 6:12 (ESV)

Because of the gospel, we are dead to sin and alive in Christ! As we read yesterday in Romans 1, before Christ we had no freedom in regards to our proclivity to sin as depravity led us toward greater and greater rebellion against God. Yet, in Christ, we have the freedom now to choose to reject sin and move toward greater obedience, finding satisfaction in the Lord and responding joyfully in praise.

If it is true that we have this freedom to finally find true satisfaction, why do we still return to the vanity of our transgression? Why do we continue to allow ourselves to be distracted by things that ultimately have no significance? Further, when we do fall short, why do we feel the need to punish ourselves incessantly, forgetting the propitiatory work of Christ? Paul’s command to us in light of these perennial struggles within Christianity is to stop! He uses an imperative here in the language of the New Testament on purpose. You have the ability in Christ to stop. You can choose to reject sin and move forward in holiness. Further, when you do fail because you have not entered into the perfect yet, do not let sin reign in your mortal body by robbing you of the joy and abundant life secured for you in Christ! Repent of your failure and move forward.

Dear child of God, are you engrossed in perpetual sin? Are you living in guilt and defeat? Do not let sin reign in your mortal body! Claim the promise of Christ; claim the abundant life found in radical obedience to the gospel. You have the freedom to reject sin, so reject it for the promise of greater satisfaction in Jesus.

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, December 15th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Depravity, Freedom, Romans.
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December 14th, 2015

The Face of Depravity

“Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” Romans 1:22-23 (ESV)

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a recognition of humanity’s great need for salvation. The beauty of Christ’s perfection and sacrifice loses some of its splendor if it is separated from the reality of mankind’s hopelessness because of sin. Otherwise, what need would there have been for His act of redemption? Paul recognizes this and, thus, begins his discussion of the reality of the work of Christ with man’s reality of depravity. Man, having been created to be fully satisfied by God and return that satisfaction to Him in praise, rejected his creator and began instead to worship created things. As a result, a separation was created between God and man. No longer was pure fellowship available between the Creator and His creation because of His righteous and just need to account for such rejection through His wrath being poured upon the rebellious.

The depravity of man, then, demands the wrath of God, and this point highlights the beauty of the gospel. Our rejection of God led to Christ being rejected for us. He took upon Himself our deserved wrath and thereby enabled us to have fellowship with our Creator once again. Christ did not look down upon us in our helplessness and turn a blind eye; no, He acted for the good of all men by emptying Himself, taking on the form of a servant, and becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.

As we mark the coming of Christ in the season of Christmas, take a moment and remember your great need for His incredible sacrifice and, then, turn the joy you feel as a result of His salvation back into praise to this worthy and generous God we serve!

Grace and peace,

Jared Richard
Mobilization Pastor (Online Devotional Guest Author)
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/jaredrichard

 

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, December 14th, 2015 at 1:00 am
Category Depravity, Redemption, Romans.
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June 21st, 2013

Harmony Habits

“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.Romans 12:17-18 (NIV)

God values harmony in His family. Disunity grieves the heart of God and erodes the fellowship of God’s children. Satan cannot attack God, so he chooses to attack God’s family. One of the weapons of Satan’s warfare is disharmony.

God has a solution to Satan’s pollution. Ponder the consequences of retaliation. Instead of repaying evil for evil when someone offends you, choose to be kind. Extend the love of Christ and be a shining example of what it means to continue the ministry of Jesus. “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:23 NIV). Let’s do what Jesus did.

Retain the pursuit of righteousness. Be attentive and do what is right in the eyes of everybody. Live a life of love, a life of moral purity, and a life of impeccable integrity. Your Christian conduct should always honor God and benefit others. Your Christian conduct should honor God both in private and in public.

Your lifestyle matters. Why does it matter? How you live affects your level of intimacy with God and your influence with others. When you embrace the “I don’t care what others think” attitude, you are underestimating your role as an ambassador for Christ.

Address the impediments to harmony. Do your part. Keep your side of the court clean. Serve the ball by doing everything you can to live at peace with everyone. You can’t change people, but you can control how you respond to their treatment.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, June 21st, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Harmony, Peace, Romans.
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April 23rd, 2013

Tools God Uses

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” Romans 8:29 (NIV)

God saved you to become like Christ. Your sin has been forgiven and your eternal destiny has been secured. In Christ, you are adopted into God’s family and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Now you are in the process of becoming who you are in Christ. God predestined that you be conformed to the image of Christ. You get to participate in the process of that transformation.

What are some of the tools God uses to conform us to the likeness of Christ? Sometimes God uses the hammer of adversity and the chisel of suffering to bring us into conformity with the character of Christ. Other times, God may use seasons of silence to test our faith and to prove our devotion. God allows fully yielded and fully devoted followers of Christ to come into our path to model likeness of Christ. They give us a portrait of what we can become as we mature in our faith.

Assess your current reality? How is God conforming you to the likeness of Christ? Are you being responsive to His prompting? Allow God to chip off anything in your life that does not bring honor to Christ. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal any area of your life that distracts from your spiritual progress. Daily surrender to the Lordship of Christ and seek His face in prayer. Embrace the reality of God’s will.

God desires that you become more and more like Christ each day. God uses various tools to conform you into the image of Christ so that you can be an effective tool for His glory on the earth. Your life matters to God. Every detail matters to Him.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Christlikeness, Conformity, Romans.
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April 22nd, 2013

Predestined to be Conformed

“For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Romans 8:29 (NIV)

How did we make it into the family tree of Christ? We are products of the grace of God. The only way in is through the doorway of God’s grace. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV). Are you thankful that God made a way for us to know Him personally and intimately?

You are in the Royal Family through the grace of God as evidenced in your faith in the completed work of Jesus on the cross. Now that you have been adopted into His family, God wants you to become like Christ. The process of sanctification follows salvation. Once you are saved, God places you on a path to be conformed to the likeness of Christ.

We have the wonderful privilege of participating with God in the process of conformity. God seeks to remove anything in us that doesn’t look like Jesus. Sometimes God will use the chisel of adversity and sometimes God will use the hammer of silence. God will allow us to go through seasons of uncertainty to conform us into the likeness of Christ.

Reflect for a few moments on the level of Christ-likeness that has been attained in your journey thus far. What behavior and attitudes do you exhibit currently that just don’t line up with Christ-likeness? Will you participate with God in the process of conformity? Spend time studying the life of Christ and emulating His life. You have received His imputed righteousness. Now work out what He has worked in.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Monday, April 22nd, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Christlikeness, Conformity, Romans.
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March 15th, 2013

Trust God’s Heart

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)

Consider all the moving parts that are featured in one single day in your life. The complexities of life are painted upon the canvas of our existence. One constant in life is the perpetual movement of God’s working all things together for your good and His glory. You love God and you are called according to His purpose. God invited you into His redemptive story. God initiated the love relationship you enjoy with Him each day.

  • “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 (NIV)
  • “However, as it is written: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Cor. 2:9 (NIV)

God has designed you for His glory. In this life, you will experience seasons of uncertainty. Trust God’s heart even when you can’t trace God’s hand. The events of your life are orchestrated by God to bring you into intimate fellowship with Jesus in spite of your circumstances. You can walk in the assurance of God’s heart for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

Commit Romans 8:28 to memory and pray through this wonderful promise of God. You are never more secure than when you are operating in the promises of God. Take God at His Word and trust His heart. You matter to God and your future is in His care.

Is there anything you need to entrust to God’s care? Are there any burdens you are bearing? In all things God works. You can trust God’s heart.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Friday, March 15th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category God's Provision, Romans, Sovereignty.
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March 14th, 2013

Fullness of God’s Grace

“And we know…” Romans 8:28a (NIV)

What do you do when your world is falling apart? Sometimes you are surprised by the circumstances of life. Living in a fallen world generates unpredictable situations that require your response. How will you respond?

Remember that God is working. God is always at work in the midst of your circumstances. There is nothing beyond His reach and nothing beyond His compassion. God cares about you and everything you face in this life.

Turn interruptions into opportunities to experience the fullness of God’s grace. When life catches you by surprise, you are positioned for a special encounter of God’s grace. The grace of God always matches the depth of your need. Find comfort in God’s omniscience. God is not surprised by your surprises. Before the circumstances were formulated before you, God was at work to navigate your path to be drawn close to His heart. Draw near to God and enjoy the proximity of uninhibited intimacy.

God can take the mess of our lives and make a masterpiece. God can convert the trauma in our lives into something triumphant. If God allows something to come into your life, He will use it for your good and His glory.

As you travel the terrain of life, rest in the assurance of God’s activity. Be affirmed of God’s Presence and His consistent release of comfort and strength. God will provide you with everything you need for doing life His way.

How are you currently responding to the interruptions that come into your life? Seize the opportunity to experience the fullness of God’s grace.

Pursuing God,

Stephen Trammell
Executive Pastor
Follow me on twitter at: http://twitter.com/stephentrammell

Author Stephen Trammell
Posted Thursday, March 14th, 2013 at 1:00 am
Category Grace, Moses, Romans.
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