We just concluded a sermon series at Blueprint entitled “Life Verses.” Each week, one of our pastors walked us through a set of verses that has been influential in his life. But God’s Word isn’t just for pastors! It has the ability to powerfully affect and transform each of us. Today, we're featuring the Life Verses of Laura Coulter, one of our interns. I get excited about the book of Romans, especially chapter 8. It's gotten me through quite a few hard times in my life. It reminds me who I am and where I stand in Christ, no matter what I feel at the time or the external circumstances weighing me down.
Paul wrote this letter to the Roman church from Corinth, planning to go through Rome on his way to Spain. Since Paul had never been to Rome before, he wanted to establish a strong relationship with the Roman believers and unite them around a well-clarified and powerful gospel in a way that would ease tensions between believers of different backgrounds, as well as encourage them to avoid false teaching and immoral living. That’s why the book of Romans is such a great explanation of the gospel and Christian life. It’s no coincidence that we often use verses in Romans for evangelism. It’s a well of gospel truth: clear, deep, and pure.
By the time he gets to Romans 5, Paul’s dealt with sin, death, the law, and justification by faith. In the next four chapters he ties it all together. Through faith in Christ, because of what He’s done for us, we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37)— righteousness wins over sin, life wins over death, and the Spirit wins over the flesh. To me, Romans 8 is a victory cry, beginning with, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” and ending with, “[nothing] shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). That just reaches into my heart and injects joy!
But Romans 8 isn’t just spiritual candy. It’s deep, nourishing, tough, make-your-head-want-to-explode spiritual truth. Paul talks about:
- -life in the Spirit instead of death in the condemnation of sin ( verses 1-4)
- -the mindset of the Spirit versus the mindset of the flesh (verses 5-11)
- -the fact that the Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead now dwells in us (verse 11)
- -how the Spirit testifies that we are God’s adopted children, and we are able to call him Father (verses 14-17)
- -how our suffering for Christ now will lead to a much greater glory later (verses 17-18)
- -how believers groan with creation in anticipation of resurrection and regeneration (verses 18-25)
- -the Spirit of God interceding for us when we don’t know what or how to pray (verses 26-27)
- -the ultimate good God has in store for those who love him— to be conformed to the image of Christ (verses 28-30)
- -how we are more than conquerors in him, because nothing can stand against us and nothing can separate us from his love when we are in Christ (31-39)
If you have never shouted "Amen" in your life, that has to at least make you want to! And that’s why I love Romans 8— it’s the beauty of the gospel wrapped up in a way that makes me paralyzed in wonder at God’s love, thinking: I don’t deserve this.
I don’t deserve the Spirit of God living in me, leading me, interceding for me, and reminding me that I belong to Him. I don’t deserve to be adopted into God’s family, to be a coheir with Christ, who died for me. I don’t deserve glory and resurrection. I don’t deserve the ultimate good. I don’t deserve to be made anything like Christ. I don’t deserve to conquer anything. And I certainly don’t deserve a love that will never, ever let me go. Yet God loves me with that love. And He gives me all these things, not because I deserve them, but because He loved me enough to reach down into my world and bring me up into His by the blood of His Son.
I love Romans 8 because through it God says, “Daughter, you belong to me and I will never let you go.”
What does a truth like that do to me? Ultimately, the response to this wonder isn't paralysis, but action. God's active, invasive, ridiculous love motivates me to live with confidence in Christ, sharing His love with others however I can, empowered by His incredible, creative, intimate Spirit.
Adapted from a post previously published on LauraCoulterwrites.com. Used with permission.