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Romans 6:17-18


Darlene

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Heavenly Father,

 

This morning I have been feeling a breakthrough of sorts. Having been in, what has felt like a desert, for a while, I'm very grateful for this refreshing, for as long as You deem appropriate.

 

In all honesty, I've missed this depth of connection with You. I know that many times over the past few months, I started defaulting back a little bit onto my own reasoning, my own strength, my own drive, all the while knowing that wouldn't work. I don't know why I even tried to do that, other than old habits. Regardless, through it all, Your Spirit kept whispering Your Truth...Your strength, Your power, Your love, Your grace, Your faithfulness.

 

So Father God, this morning, I bend, yield and acknowledge my total dependence on You. From the biggest and most obvious obstacle, to the tinyest and most obscure, hidden detail, I need Your guidance, Your wisdom, Your direction, Your help.

 

I can't help escape the concern that I'm not explaining this correctly, but even there, I'm dependent upon You and Your Spirit to illuminate properly what lies on my heart.

 

Bless this study today...teach me and us, grow me, so that I might understand Who You are and all that You have done, a little better today.

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

 

 

17. But thanks be to God, that whereas ye were bondservants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that pattern of doctrine [salvation by the cross] unto which you were handed over [by God in the gospel].

 

18. And being set free from sin, ye were made bondservants to righteousness.

 

The rvbv writes, "Now, our becoming obedient from the heart to the Word of the cross involves a work of Divine wisdom and power far beyond that involved in the creation of the world! For how shall a creature remain, and behold his utter judgment on the cross? How shall he despair eternally of himself, and yet find hope? How shall he continue a free being and yet consent to be bound forever, - "with cords of a Man, with bands of love"? How shall he walk with confidence into the Court where very thoughts come into judgment? Moral and spiritual impossibilities are greater than physical impossibilities. It was impossible that where nothing at all existed the physical universe should leap into being - out of nothing but God's word! Man, having sinned, ran from God. Men yet sin and flee from God. Now God's holy nature, His infinite righteousness, bar the way back. But Christ comes, sent of the Father. And there is the blood of the cross. And form the North and South, and East and West, men, women, - and children, too, come, obeying from the heart this impossible news: of peace by the blood of His cross, - peace for those whose sins slew Christ! They come to be gladly bound with the unbreakable "bands of love, the cords of a Man" - Christ Jesus! (See Hos. 11:4.)

 

And we see that mighty work of response to grace in such hearts abide and endure. We see God's willing "bondservants" pouring out their lives in glad service, in all lands, to all limits!

 

Now, this becoming obedient from the heart to that pattern of doctrine of salvation by the blood of the cross, and the freedom from sin that goes with it, may be enjoyed even in this life, "without stint or limit." For "all things are possible to him that believeth."

 

Note that the Old Version misses the entire sense of this seventeenth verse in translating: "that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you," whereas the true rendering is, that form of doctrine unto which ye were handed over (or, delivered). For the verb is in the plural - ye were delivered over! This statement instructs us deeply in the Divine arrangements. The Israelites, for example, were delivered over to Moses and the Law. It was not only that the Law was delivered by Moses to them; they were themselves delivered over to a legal dispensation - to a "mold of doctrine," which had the Ten Commandments as the foundation, and the "ten thousand things of the Law" spoken in accordance therewith. The Jews knew they were under the Law. They had been handed over to it, to its demands, and to its whole economy. Likewise, believers now are delivered over to a form or pattern of teaching. Summarily, this is the Gospel, - particularly, the work of Christ on the cross. Belivers have been handed over by God to the mighty facts, not only that their guilt was put away on the cross, but that they, as connected with Adam, died with Christ; that their history in Adam is thus entirely ended before God; and that they now share the risen life of Christ, and are before God as risen ones (Romans 6:10,11). And all believers are comprehended in these great truths, whether they apprehended them or not! It is the first duty of every teacher of God's saints to open to them the glorious facts already true about them, and unto which great mold or form of doctrine, they have been "delivered over" by God. (The word "delivered is the word constantly used, for instance, of our Lord's being handed over to His enemies (Matt. 20:18,19; John 19:11,16); and of the disciples' being delivered over to councils (Matt. 10:17,19). It is used of the Jews' being "delivered over to serve the host of heaven," in Acts 7:42 (most significant as to its force in Rom. 6:17); and I Corinthians 11:23 contains the word in both its significances: Paul delivered over to the Corinthians directions concerning the Lord's supper; Christ was delivered over to His enemies. It is the same Greek word in both cases.

 

This distinction is vital, because people conceive of the Gospel as something delivered to them to "live up to," or to lay hold of by their own wills, rather than handed over! "Obedience of faith" can be nothing else than walking in the light of facts Divinely revealed.)

 

Now in verse 17 we see that these Roman believers had become obedient from the heart unto this mold of doctrine, - that of salvation by Christ on the cross. They had yet much to learn concerning their salvation, (and Paul was coming to "establish" them). But they had seen and accepted redemption by the blood of the despised Lamb of God: which involved everything, - of separation from a sinful world, as well as of safety from Divine judgment.

 

In verse 18, Watchman Nee comments on "freed from sin", stating, "this occured as a result of the crucifixion of the old man (v. 6)."

 

Verse 18: Being set free from sin, ye were made bondservants to righteousness. It will help us to note carefully that in this verse is the first description of "experience" in this Sixth of Romans. But it is the result of that "obedience of faith" in which these believers had received the good news of their salvation by Christ crucified; for lo! they found themselves thereby "set free from sin," - sin was no longer their master. (To make the words "free from sin" of Chapter 6:18 denote what is called "eradication of the sin-principle," a sinlessness in the flesh, is a terrible perversion. Paul constantly preached and testified to the contrary. Our bodies will not be redeemed (no matter how much we may be blessed or filled with the Holy Spirit) until "the redemption of the body" at Christ's second coming. Till that time, sin will be in the flesh, although those who "obey from the heart" in simple faith that word of the cross unto which they have been delivered, will find themselves in a state of blessed relief form sin's bondage. For Scripture does teach heart-gleansing, a "pure heart," as we have elsewhere shown.)

 

Heavenly Father,

 

You know that anytime the 'heart' is discussed in Your Word, I immediately tune in because the heart is something I over understand. As I typed out today's study and it began to unfold, I felt soothed because 'I get' what is meant by 'obeying from the heart'. In spite of countless areas where I don't understand or I do fall short, I do believe in my heart all that Christ did and accomplished on the Cross. And it is in my heart, as I continue to learn from there, that Your Truth as outlined here in Romans, is doing a work, even now, again, in my heart.

 

So Father, may this glorify You...may this be pleasing to You, and may Your perfect will, Your destiny for my life, and all our lives, unfold without hinderance from us.

 

My heart this morning, is filled with Your presence and in turn, feels as if it is pouring out love, for You.

 

*sigh*, who knows if I'm making any sense (lol) to others who read this prayer, but I know that You understand.

 

 

In Jesus Name I pray,

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