But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit if you have the Spirit of God living in you. (And remember that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to him at all.) And Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God. The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.
We are a people who crave freedom. Maybe it's in our DNA, or maybe it's because we live in a free country. Whatever the reason, one thing is true, we the people want to be able to make our own decisions.
In my early understanding of religion, more specifically -- the religion of Christianity, I thought that being a Christian meant following a set of rules and regulations that dictated what I could and could not do. And, while there was nothing outlandish about what I wanted to do, just the idea that someone else could dictate my actions didn't sit well with me.
I think that's true for a lot of people who encounter the Christian church.
What's I've learned is that Christianity is not a religion. Christianity is simply one's desire to seek God, and who understands that the only way they can have a relationship with God is through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who died so that our sins could be forgiven. Jesus, who defeated death so that we could have eternal life. Jesus, who is preparing a place for us in heaven.
Our salvation has nothing to do with following rules and regulations. Our salvation is a gift that we can either accept or decline.
I also learned that it wasn't Christianity that wanted to enslave me. Quite the opposite in fact. It is my sin that once to control my actions. It is the enemy that wants to dictate what I do and don't do.
Romans 8 teaches us that we do not have to allow sin to dictate our actions. Through the Holy Spirt, we can live in freedom. Through the Holy Spirit we have access to the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. That's some mind blowing stuff.
When we accept the gift of salvation, we are filled with that power. We have access to our creator. Our creator has the ability to work through us. Sin loses its grip on us.
Does that mean we are perfect? No.
Does that mean we can judge non-believers for continuing to live in sin? No.
Does that mean we are better than anyone else? No.
It means we are free. We are free to choose. We are free to live.
We can certainly still make terrible choices. We can still turn away from God.
With salvation comes forgiveness. And though you may think it impossible that God could ever forgive you for the choices you've made, he always will. And though you may think it impossible that God could love you, he always will.
God doesn't see us just for the choices we made today. God sees our entire existence, and because of what Jesus did on the cross, he sees that existence without sin. In God's eyes, we are people cleansed of our sin.
Listen to God's call to you. What is he saying? How can you take action on that?
I invite you to come learn more about how we can live a life of freedom. Come join us this Sunday as we continue our series on Romans 8. And, if you want to hear Amanda's teaching from this past Sunday, click here.