Read This Week: Romans 15

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, to bring praise to God. – Romans 15:1-2, 5-7 NIV

In our lifestyles, activities, words, and freedoms, we often fail to be mindful of and regard others, especially those who are weak or may be suffering from a lack of maturity. Having the mind and attitude of Christ in our freedom and knowledge is humbling ourselves for the sake of other people and their wellness. It is being conscious of and recognizing both where we are on the faith journey and where someone else might be.

In Romans 15, Paul identifies mature people who have an awareness of the needs of others and know the responsibilities we have to stand with and fight for each other as the strong. He says the strong do not patronize the weak or show frustration at their seeming immaturity or knowledge. This action does not serve the lifelong debt of love for one another. Instead, the strong is to be patient and bear with those who are weak while encouraging, supporting, and building them up in their faith. Verses 1-2 plainly state:  

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up. 

It is the mark of a mature follower of Jesus to walk with other people and relate to them beyond one’s own desires. Paul teaches in this chapter that the key to bearing with and building up the weak is following the example of Christ in how he denied Himself to please God the Father and served others for their good, not his own. Jesus properly handled his freedom for the sake of those who were weaker and therefore, we should too. Verses 5 and 7 communicate this truth:

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, to bring praise to God.

If the mature ignore the influence of their actions on the immature, they are no longer acting out of love. Love willingly sacrifices freedoms that cause another to stumble. If we fail to empathize with someone in their weakness when we exercise our freedom, it could cause that person to be destroyed by our actions. Freedom and love must go together. The strong should look out for the weak.

We need God’s help to bear with each other. If we have the attitude of Jesus, we can be an incredible bridge to learning and meaningful conversation while helping others grow in their faith. We can listen instead of arguing; seek to understand instead of posture; disagree without being disagreeable, and be more desirous of being in the right relationship with God and our neighbor than always being right on a subject.

Read This Week: Romans 14

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. – Romans 14:13, 17-18 NIV

Relationships can be messy sometimes. As we do life and interact with each other, particularly around subjects of disagreement and controversy, intentions, comments, and words can be easily misinterpreted. Things can get misconstrued and dicey, especially online when we can’t physically see each other in a conversation or detect tone and intent. 

While we’re not ultimately responsible for how someone receives and reacts to us, we can be mindful of how we judge them, speak, and take nothing for granted about their relational experiences, or what could be going on in their life. This thoughtful and Spirit-driven approach will allow us to not get in the way of another’s spiritual growth or hinder their relationship with God by our treatment of them.

In the latter half of Romans, Paul talks a lot about how Christians should give themselves wholly to God, and this commitment should be evident in relationships and the interaction between people inside and outside of the Church. This devotion and love for others should also be apparent to those with whom we disagree on disputable matters. He sets the tone in verse 1 of chapter 14: Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.

It is clear from this passage that some relational problems were arising between the Jews and Gentiles around peripheral issues like food laws and special days. But Paul wants them to experience Christian love, especially those who are weaker in the faith. He makes it plain that no one should hinder another with their thoughts and actions regarding personal preference.

The passing of judgment and mistreatment of another over things that don’t ultimately matter or impact the gospel can get in the way of a person’s true worship and spiritual development. It can also prevent God’s family from living in harmony with one another. The Scriptures teach us here that none of us are better than any other believer; we are all saved by God’s grace and have been welcomed into His family through mercy and love. We cannot look down on our brothers and sisters and create obstacles to their faith. Verse 13 says:

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 

The “stumbling block” in this chapter is interpreted as spiritual destruction and we should all avoid being the cause of that in anyone’s life. Disputable matters, even if we may be right on them, should not take precedent over love and encouragement to seek the truth. We should focus on guiding and building others up for the kingdom and staying out of the way of what the Holy Spirit wants to do in their lives. Paul says in verse 17:

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.

When we make the eternal purposes of God our priority rather than arguing over minor disputes, we will express God’s righteousness, peace, and joy that transforms lives and relationships. Compared with this, our minor differences of opinion become irrelevant and of little consequence. We instead please God and do His will as a community. And when we please God, we don’t get in the way. Those around us are blessed, encouraged, built up, and their path to truly serving the Lord is not blocked by unnecessary obstacles.

Read This Week: Romans 13

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other commands there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does not harm a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10 NIV

Debt, in any context, is usually seen as something negative that needs to be stopped and eradicated. We spend a lot of time, energy, and resources each year learning about how to put an end to personal and collective debt. However, Romans 13 tells us about a debt that we should never pay off. It is the unpaid debt that will probably never be mentioned at a financial seminar but is vital to living in freedom. 

In this chapter, Paul instructs believers to pay their debts as is their moral and civic duty, but then makes one exception to the rule. He says the debt that we cannot pay in full is our command and obligation to love one another. The love of God in our hearts that is to be freely given and poured out to others is the singular, permissible unpaid debt. Verse 8 states:

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

The point here is that in our life with God we are bound, like a debt, to the fulfillment of these essential truths: love for our neighbor (any person we come in contact with) as well as love for God. The love that we share with the world is a debt that we are to continuously pay and never satisfy throughout our lifetime. We will always owe one another this wholehearted devotion.

Paul evokes the words of Jesus from Matthew 22:37-40 and tells us to follow his example of love in our lives. He reiterates that Jesus said the underlying principle that governs all commands and human behavior is to love God and our neighbor. Verses 9-10 says:

The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other commands there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does not harm a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Those who genuinely love people will not break the law or violate directives that hurt, damage or exploit others. Those who follow and say they love Jesus but don’t extend that love to people are exposing an improper, misguided understanding of God’s principles of love. Paul is making it clear that a tangible indication of loving Jesus is found in loving and serving others and never stopping.

This passage teaches us that the key to a successful life – being a good citizen, living in a society with honor and respect, fulfilling our responsibilities, having moral integrity, and not being overcome by sin – is properly loving God and allowing that to underwrite, inform, and empower the love we give to other people. When we are filled with God’s love, we will not harm our neighbor (v.10) and will not even think about how to gratify the desires of our flesh (v.14) while making a consistent payment of eternal impact every day.

Read This Week: Romans 12

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will. – Romans 12:1-2 NIV

The biggest challenges we often face in life are internal. A lot of times, we fail to win the battles on the outside because we do not address the war going on inside our heads. We must understand that the mind can be our greatest strength and danger, and to find success on the journey, we must renew and change our thoughts.

In Romans 12, Paul brings us to a pivotal point in his letter. After 11 chapters of theological teaching, he begins a section of practical guidance. He shifts from instruction to exhortation. That is not to say that his earlier writings are not full of encouragement, it just means that he is now going to focus on various areas of daily living and the characteristics of a life of obedience to the gospel. He has outlined the purpose and will now speak on the functional power of living as a Christ-follower.

Interestingly enough, Paul begins this part talking about the importance of the mind and summarizes the entire chapter in the first two verses. He writes that we should offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God. We should be holy, acceptable, and reasonable in our worship to Him. Verses 1-2a says:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is.

The key to a life that is pleasing to God is to reject the way of thinking that is prevalent in the world and allow the Holy Spirit to renew, change, and formulate our minds. To break free from the patterns of thinking that are not set on truth and God’s word is to adopt a Christ-centered perspective. A renewed mindset leads to a new person. A person that sees life, family, work, relationships, and choices from a new vantage point.

Verses 3-21 practically lay out how the person with a new mind lives in the world. This person does not think more of themselves than they should. They are humble and sincere in their love and devotion to God and others. They are passionate about doing what is right, serving the Lord, and growing in their faith. They are joyful and express hope through their handling of difficult circumstances, practicing hospitality, and giving to those in need. A person with a renewed mind prays, is a blessing to people, and lives in harmony with those around them. They are not overcome by evil, but instead overcome evil with good.

Paul sets the tone for the rest of the book by connecting a new mind to a new life and future. He tells us that when our thoughts are changed and restored, it is then that we can know what the will of God is and live out what is pleasing to Him. When we see our lives and the world from a mind that has been changed by Christ, we will see God’s perfect intention for us and a path ahead that is good and worthy of Him.

Read This Week: Romans 11

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. – Romans 11:30-32 NIV

Mercy is a readily embraced word in our lives. It is often used in the contexts of our court systems and narratives of justice and punishment. The idea that we can receive compassion or forgiveness for something that we deserve a penalty for touches the deepest and most humane parts of us. Mercy is an expression that goes against our natural tendencies and makes for a powerful impact both when we give and receive it.

Mercy is the theme of Romans 11 as Paul builds off of the previous chapter and further asserts that God has a plan of salvation for the Jews and Gentiles. God has not totally rejected His chosen people, and in the same manner, has provided a way of salvation for everyone else. The Apostle cites the grace and mercy of God through Christ applied both to the Jews who rebelled against the message and to the Gentiles who heard the good news and received it because of Israel’s rebellion. He writes in verses 30-31:

Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.

Paul shows that God’s plan of salvation means that Jews are saved in the same way that Gentiles are. All people of all races are redeemed through faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. All receive mercy despite our disobedience and the desire to live our way. There is nothing more worthy about one group of people over another in God’s sight. He has the same purpose for us all. Verse 32 is a good summation of the gospel for the world: For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

We see that Jesus is at the center of God’s sovereign plan for mankind even as we tend to make ourselves the focus of God’s work. But His will does not revolve around us or one particular group. It is His gospel that reveals His holiness, righteousness, and goodness. He owes nothing to no one but out of his great love and mercy, gave Jesus for the salvation of everyone who believes.

Paul ends this chapter by quoting Isaiah 40 and praising God for His infinite power, wisdom, and perfect plan. We should have this same attitude and posture of worship to the Lord for His mercy on us when we didn’t and don’t deserve it. And may we, in recognizing the mercy and favor we’ve received from Almighty God, have mercy on others. 

Read This Week: Romans 10

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. – Romans 10:14-17 NIV

We all learn in different ways. We collect, process, and apply information in a manner that is unique to our personalities and cognitive abilities. But one thing is the same across the board, our access to an abundance of information through multiple avenues.

We live in an unprecedented age where we can receive messages in an instant that teach us and contribute to our intellectual, mental, emotional, and spiritual growth. Not many people, even in the most remote places, lack the ability to send and receive messages that inform. Knowing this, Christians have an opportunity to use all available resources to share the good news of Jesus Christ like never before.

Although it was different in the ancient world, Paul makes a similar point in Romans 10 that the Israelites didn’t have an excuse for rejecting the message of Christ because they had heard it and had access to the messengers that delivered it including himself. He frames this with several questions about faith and belief coming through first hearing the gospel. He says in verse 14:

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

Paul’s intent in these questions is to counter the implication that Israel was not at fault in their failure to believe in God’s word because it lacked preachers and exposure to it. He quotes Isaiah 52:7 in verse 15 and Isaiah 53:1 in verse 16 to assert that God had been faithful in sending his messengers, but the message had not been received or embraced. Verse 16 says:

But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.

Paul was applying this truth from the Old Testament to the preaching of the gospel in the present day. He wanted to reiterate the sequence of events that leads to faith in Jesus. It starts with the good news being shared so that people can hear, receive, and believe. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the messenger to deliver the gospel and the responsibility of the person receiving the message to respond.

The focus of this passage is ultimately the message; the gospel of Jesus. It must be shared for people to have the opportunity to believe. Once it is shared, people then have the choice to reject or accept it. The good news is so important and so eternal that the messenger has no excuse not to tell it. And because of its power and vitality, when it is heard, there is no excuse not to do something with it.

Paul writes in verse 15 that beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! This essentially means that in the Christian life, nothing is of greater value, more fulfilling, more worthy, or more impactful than sharing the gospel with our loved ones, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and the world. It is a beautiful message that changes everything.

Read This Week: Romans 9

I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit — I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel. – Romans 9:1-4 NIV

We often hear the word compassion as an expression of sympathy in contexts of caregiving professions, the judicial system, or helping the poor and marginalized in society. Compassion is taking pity and having concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others. But a better definition of compassion is “to suffer together or the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s difficulties and feel motivated to relieve them.”

In other words, true compassion in life toward any individual or group doesn’t just stop with the emotion. When we are genuinely feeling compassion, it should move us to action. We should walk alongside others, get involved in their lives, and go beyond our own comfort to help alleviate their suffering.

This was the Apostle Paul’s heart and posture toward the people of Israel in Romans 9. Even though his letter is addressed to the believers in Rome and primarily a Gentile audience, it in no way leaves out his compassion and love for the Jews and the implications of the gospel for his own countrymen. In fact, at the beginning of the entire book, he says that the gospel is rooted in God’s dealings with Israel. Because of this, we not only see his compassion for the nation but his anguish at their unbelief in Christ.

We observe Paul’s intense concern in verse 3, “For I could wish that I, myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.” When Paul thought of his people and their estrangement from God, he felt overwhelming grief. His compassion is so strong that he is ready to forfeit his own hope in Christ if it would benefit and save them. It would be hard to find a greater expression of love and an ultimate form of compassion than this. Paul is so desperate for the Jews to be saved that he would ask God to cut him off from Christ if that would bring their redemption.

Just imagine if this type of compassion, care, and effective love was felt and expressed in the hearts and lives of modern-day believers? That we would care so much for the suffering and lostness of those far from God, that we would be willing to go to any lengths to see them rescued from their sin, restored to a relationship with their heavenly Father, and experience the joy of eternal salvation.

As followers of Jesus, there is no such thing as caring too much. There is no such thing as having compassion without action. Our understanding of God’s sovereignty and what He has done for us should not lead to complacency or apathy about the spiritual and physical suffering of others, but to extraordinary empathy and burden for them. Our love for Christ and his gospel compels us beyond a feeling to a calling, a purpose, and a mission to care too much.

Read This Week: Romans 8

If Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – Romans 8:10, 26-27 NIV

The Holy Spirit has been referred to at times as the “Forgotten God” because so many Christians neglect His presence in their lives. The Spirit is the member of the triune Godhead mentioned the least during Sunday gatherings and whose power we often fail to access in our daily journey. Some even substitute the gospel for the work of the Holy Spirit. But, His existence is undeniable, and His presence is what empowers the people of God to live out His purpose, accomplish His will, and be the Church in the world.

The Apostle Paul does not forget or neglect the Holy Spirit in the teachings of Romans 8. From the second verse to the end of the chapter, he asserts that it is not possible to be a Christian without the Spirit. We cannot separate the person and work of the Holy Spirit from the Father or from Jesus. Paul sets the tone for this in verses 2 and 5-6:

The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

Here, we see that the Spirit is the One who causes us to believe in and benefit from Christ’s finished work on the cross. He enables us to do God’s will and gives us the power over sin and death in the present as well as the ability to live victoriously apart from what our flesh wants to do. The Holy Spirit reminds us that we are justified before God and no longer condemned.

Paul also uses this opportunity to teach the Roman believers and us that the Holy Spirit is our Helper as Jesus said He would be in John 14:26. He helps by teaching us the deep things of God and how to obey the Lord’s commands. The Spirit helps us escape from and avoid sin. He stands in the gap for us in our weaknesses. And as Paul specifically points out, the Spirit prays for us and intercedes on our behalf. Verse 26 says:

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us.

In our new life with God, the Holy Spirit shows up in ways and at a point where we often need it most, in our prayers. Because of our weakness, we sometimes don’t know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit comes and ministers to us by assisting in our communion with God even when we can’t find the words to say. The Holy Spirit, however, understands our hearts and the meaning of our deep emotions, and through them, pleads to God for us. He is the ever-present help in time of need.

It is no wonder after Paul outlines this ministry of the Holy Spirit that he writes, We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. This verse is never more true or understood when we remember that we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, the same power that raised Christ from the dead. How could all things not work together for good when we know we have the Spirit of God with us at all times? May we never forget that beautiful and hopeful truth.

Read This Week: Romans 8

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. In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:28, 37-39 NIV

The word conquer brings connotations and feelings of victory over something; the demolition of a worthy opponent or getting the better of someone on the way to ultimate triumph. It is a strong verb originally meant for kings and their adornment of praise after successfully overcoming and putting down an enemy. To conquer is to establish a lasting and permanent mark of defeat.

In chapter 8 of Romans, the Apostle Paul doubles down and gives new meaning to the word conquer. He says we are more than conquerors as Christians indicating that we’ve gone beyond a decisive win to something deeper and more profound. Through Jesus’ finished work on the cross, we have gained a conclusive advantage over sin and death once and for all time. Nothing is left unconquered in the power of Christ. It is a total victory over our present brokenness, suffering, and hardships.

Paul writes in verses 1-14 that this total victory comes through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us after salvation. He declares that we live in our bodies with the same Spirit’s power that raised Jesus from the dead. The power that not only overcame the stronghold of sin and death but completely obliterated it. A person with that capability and power capacity is not merely a conqueror but someone that ascends to new and never before seen heights of success. Verses 10-11 says:

But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.

The total victory in our lives made possible by the Holy Spirit first came to us through love – the complete love of God. In verses 28, 37, and 39, Paul references this love as the reason all things work together for our good. He says that love gives us the very purpose we long for on the journey and in our struggles. Paul points to love as the catalyst of victory over sin, weakness, and demise. The love of God in Christ Jesus laid the groundwork for us to win now and for eternity.

Our confidence and assurance in life culminate in God’s great love for us. This section affirms that nothing, in our full range of existence including the natural and supernatural forces around us, the uncertainties of time, and all reaches of space, can separate us from the love of God. Nothing can stop it, restrict it, or keep us from knowing and feeling His love in our best and darkest moments. It is a total victory in Jesus.

Read This Week: Romans 7

Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! – Romans 7:21-25 NIV

As we genuinely attempt to follow Christ, do good, and be faithful to God’s Word, we sometimes forget that in the middle of this pursuit is a warring agent that wants to knock us off-kilter and destroy us. We sometimes lose sight of the fact that we’re in a struggle of such magnitude that it is described as a war in the Bible.

Romans 7 begins with Paul building off of his assertions in chapter 6 that we’ve been rescued from God’s judgment and are no longer under the law that leads to sin and death. He writes in verse 6, Now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit.

This section indicates that we used to be controlled and governed by our rebellious hearts. We were dominated by our natural sin that leads to death. But through salvation in Christ, we have died to the power of sin and are delivered from the law to follow God by the power of the Holy Spirit. We no longer serve ourselves according to our sinful nature, but, in His grace, we serve the Lord Jesus. However, Paul points out that there is still tension between the sinful flesh and the Spirit that lives in our hearts:

I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

He says we have the desire to do what is good and right, but it is often difficult to do so. Difficult because of the conflict between our inner being that has been captured by God, and our flesh that wants to sin and do evil. Paul goes on to describe this conflict as a war waging against the law of our minds and trying to make us prisoners of the law of sin. While we are under the power and influence of grace and the Holy Spirit, we live in this fallen world and our flesh wants desperately to sin. It is a war.

But, there is good news – the war is winnable. In fact, the war has been won. As Christians, we know that our hearts and lives have been transformed by faith in Jesus, and we have been rescued (v.24), set free from the law and sin. And although we constantly struggle with what we want to do and what we should do, Christ has given us power and relief from that struggle. He has given us the ability to win the war; the power to do what is good and honors God while fighting off the desire to do the opposite.

This chapter ends with Paul’s joyous battle cry of victory: Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! Jesus neutralized and ultimately destroyed evil through His death, burial, and resurrection. He gives us victory over our flesh and empowers us to be successful amid the reality of our fallenness. With him on our side, we cannot lose.