Don’t let the “Enemy” (aka Turkey-Satan) play with your mind, for in your mind, your thinking and your attitude is where the battle for your life begins…
So let us start by setting our focus on Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith:
We are more than conquerors ONLY as we dwell in Christ, which means we must learn to wage war, not in our flesh, which is at enmity against the Spirit — “For the weapons of our warfare are NOT fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down of strongholds, by tearing down false arguments and every high-minded thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God (as found in His Word); as we are taking EVERY thought captive to the obedience of Messiah (2 Cor 10:3-5)!
To walk in the Spirit and wage war in the Spirit requires that we put on a whole new mindset and paradigm way of thinking; it requires that we put on the mind of Christ everyday, and in the process, reconcile ourselves as dead to sin.
Tree of Life Version
“For through law I died to law, so that I might live for God.
I have been crucified with Messiah; and it is no longer I who live, but Messiah lives in me.
And the life I now live in the body, I live by trusting in Ben-Elohim (Jesus)—who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
We must learn to fight in the spirit, using God’s rules of engagement in spiritual warfare; and as the Bible instructs us, we must resist the enemy and he will flee from us (James 4:7)!
The battle starts with the knowledge that there is now NO CONDEMNATION to those who are in CHRIST!
Tree of Life Version
Life in the Spirit
8 Therefore, there is now NO CONDEMNATION for those who are in Messiah Yeshua.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Messiah Yeshua has set you free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what was impossible for the Torah—since it was weakened on account of the flesh—God has done.
Sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as a sin offering, He condemned sin in the flesh—
4 so that the requirement of the Torah might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Ruach.
5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Ruach set their minds on the things of the Ruach.
6 For the mindset of the flesh is death, but the mindset of the Ruach is life and shalom.
7 For the mindset of the flesh is hostile toward God, for it does not submit itself to the law of God—for it cannot.
8 So those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Ruach—if indeed the Ruach Elohim dwells in you.
Now if anyone does not have the Ruach of Messiah, he does not belong to Him.
10 But if Messiah is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the Spirit is alive because of righteousness.
11 And if the Ruach of the One who raised Yeshua from the dead dwells in you, the One who raised Messiah Yeshua from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Ruach who dwells in you.
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome.
Neither he nor the other church leaders, James and Peter, had yet been to Rome.
Most likely, the Roman church had been established by believers who had been at Jerusalem for Pentecost (Acts 2:10) and by travelers who had heard the Good News in other places and had brought it back to Rome (for example, Priscilla and Aquila; Acts 18:2; Rom 16:3-5).
Paul wrote the letter to the Romans during his ministry in Corinth (at the end of his third missionary journey just before returning to Jerusalem; Acts 20:3; Rom 15:25) to encourage the believers and to express his desire to visit them someday (within three years he would).
This letter may well have been the first piece of Christian literature the Roman believers had seen.
Written to both Jewish and Gentile Christians, the letter to the Romans is a systematic presentation of the Christian faith.
When Paul, a devout Jew who had at first persecuted the Christians, became a believer, God used him to spread the Good News throughout the world.
Although he was a prisoner, Paul did eventually preach in Rome (Acts 28), perhaps even to Caesar himself.
Paul humbly calls himself a slave of Christ Jesus and an apostle (“one who is sent”).
For a Roman citizen—which Paul was—to choose to be a slave was unthinkable.
But Paul chose to be completely dependent on and obedient to his beloved Master.
What is your attitude toward Christ, your Master?
Our willingness to serve and obey Jesus Christ enables us to be useful and usable servants to do work for Him—work that really matters.
Obedience begins as we renounce other masters, identify ourselves with Jesus, discover His will and live according to it, and consciously turn away from conflicting interests, even if these interests have been important to us in the past.
[Some of the prophecies predicting the Good News regarding Jesus Christ are found in Genesis 12:3; Psalms 16:10; 40:6-10; 118:22; Isaiah 11:1; Zechariah 9:9-11; 12:10; Malachi 4:1-6.]
Paul states that Jesus is the Son of God, the promised Messiah, and the resurrected Lord.
Paul calls Jesus a descendant of King David to emphasize that Jesus truly had fulfilled the Old Testament Scriptures predicting that the Messiah would come from David’s line.
With this statement of faith, Paul declares his agreement with the teaching of all Scripture and of the apostles.
In verses 3-5, Paul summarizes the Good News about Jesus Christ, who
(1) Came as a human by natural descent,
(2) Was part of the Jewish royal line through David,
(3) Who died and was raised from the dead, and
(4) Who opened the door for God’s grace and kindness to be poured out on us.
The book of Romans is an expansion of these themes.
Christians have both a privilege and a great responsibility.
Paul and the apostles received the privilege of being called, but they also received the authority and the responsibility to share with others what God has done.
God also graciously forgives our sins when we believe in Him as Lord.
In doing this, we are committing ourselves to begin a NEW LIFE.
Paul’s new life also involved a God-given responsibility: to witness about God’s Good News to the world as a missionary.
God may or may not call you to be a foreign missionary, but He does call you (and all believers) to be Christ’s ambassador and to witness to the changed life that Jesus Christ has begun in you.
Jews and Christians alike stood against the idolatrous Roman religions, and Roman officials often confused the two groups.
This was especially easy to do since the Christian church in Rome could have been originally composed of Jewish converts who had attended Pentecost in Jerusalem.
By the time Paul wrote this letter to the Romans, however, many Gentiles had joined the church.
The Jews and the Gentiles needed to know the relationship between Judaism and Christianity.
Paul says that those who become Christians are invited by Jesus Christ to:
(1) Belong to God’s family, and
(2) Be His very own people.
What a wonderful expression of what it means to be a Christian!
In being reborn into God’s family we have the greatest experience of love and the greatest inheritance.
Because of all that God has done for us, we strive to be His holy people.
Rome was the capital of the Roman Empire that had spread over most of Europe, North Africa, and the Near East.
In New Testament times, Rome was experiencing a golden age.
The city was wealthy, literary, and artistic. It was a cultural center, but it was also morally decadent.
The Romans worshiped many pagan gods, and even some of the emperors were worshiped.
In stark contrast to the Romans, the followers of Christ believed in only one God and lived by His high moral standards.
Christianity was also at odds with the Romans’ dependence on military strength.
Many Romans were naively pragmatic, believing that any means to accomplish the intended task was good.
And for them, nothing worked better than physical might.
The Romans trusted in their strong military power to protect them against all enemies.
Christians in every age need to be reminded that God is the ONLY permanent source of our security and salvation, and at the same time He is “our Father!”
Paul uses the phrase “I thank my God through Jesus Christ” to emphasize the point that Christ is the one and only mediator between us and God.
Through Christ, God sends His love and forgiveness to us; through Christ, we send our thanks to God (see 1 Tim 2:5).
The Roman Christians, at the Western world’s political power center, were highly visible.
Fortunately, their reputation was excellent; their strong faith was making itself known around the world.
When you pray continually about a concern, don’t be surprised at how God answers.
Paul prayed to visit Rome so he could teach the Christians there.
When he finally arrived in Rome, it was as a prisoner (see Acts 28:16).
Paul prayed for a safe trip, and he did arrive safely—after getting arrested, slapped in the face, shipwrecked, and bitten by a poisonous snake.
When we sincerely pray, God will answer—although in His timing and sometimes in ways we do not expect.
A reading of the first few verses of Romans relates Paul’s ardent desire to visit Rome and the sovereign hand of God that had prevented him from getting there for quite some time.
The combination of these two factors—Paul’s impassioned desire to go to Rome and God’s sovereign “no”—resulted in his sitting down to write this letter to the Romans.
This letter is a powerful exposition of the Christian faith and has helped countless millions of believers across the centuries since Paul first penned it to the group of believers in Rome.
Perhaps there are some “no’s” in our lives that God is planning to use greatly if we would just faithfully do what lies directly ahead of us instead of worrying about why we didn’t get our way.
More about this condemnation thing…
An unhealthy focus on the past will prohibit us from going into the future God has for us.
That’s why the Bible tells us that “Having set our hand to the plough we don’t look back” (Luke 9:62).
Listen to what Paul says about himself in 1 Timothy 1:15…
“Trustworthy is the saying and deserving of complete acceptance: “Messiah Yeshua came into the world to save sinners”—of whom I am foremost.”
If anyone had reason to self condemn himself, I believe it would be Paul because he started out persecuting, condemning and killing Christians.
He had to learn, as we all do, that the secret of letting the past lie in the past is that we put it ALL (all of our sins, past, present and future) at the foot of the cross; and because of that transaction – the propitious sacrifice and poured out blood of Jesus – all of our sins are wiped clean.
This is what the Bible says that God does with our sins:
Tree of Life Version
10 He has not treated us according to our sins,
or repaid us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is His mercy for those who fear Him.
12 As far as the east is from the west,
so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so Adonai has compassion on those who fear Him.
14 For He knows our frame.
He remembers that we are but dust.
So the very reason that we typically want to condemn ourselves because of mistakes we’ve made in the past, is the very reason why Christ came to die for us and to set us free!
Selah (let us pause and calmly think about this)
Come join the Adventure!