Romans 5:1-11; Romans 8:1-27
If you seriously engaged in Monday’s devotional, you were asked to reflect on your emotions in light of all that Jesus has done for you. Of course, the “correct” response to this truth is to feel a deep sense of joy over your salvation. A Christian shouldn’t be depressed, right? Come on, we’re children of the King! Now, be truthful. Did you truly experience deep joy and exhilaration yesterday? No one is watching and no one will read what you write. If you did, then great. Skip this lesson and embrace your joy. If you didn’t, then keep reading. You are not alone.
Is the deep sense of joy missing in your heart? Do you know why? A stark reality in our culture is that many Christians are depressed. So many Christians do not feel the joy of their salvation? Why is that?
There are many factors involved. Many people deal with deep psychological trauma from their upbringing. Others have physical, chemical imbalances in the brain. These are very real conditions and require good, Christian counseling. We could all use some serious, intense Christian counseling.
Keeping that in mind, and not to trivialize it, there is a core biblical truth that lies at the root of this sense of depression and lack of joy that, if properly understood, may lead to healing and the rediscovery of joy. The truth lies in our passages for today.
As a result of being justified by faith, what do we have?
Summarize vv. 6-8 in your own words.
What does it mean to be reconciled?
If a person is in Christ Jesus, what is his/her status before God? (v.1)
In vv.5-11 Paul draws a contrast between those living according to the sinful nature and those living according to the Spirit. Below is a table with two columns. On the left is “sinful nature” and the column on the right is “Spirit guided life”. Go through these 7 verses and write the description of each kind of life in the appropriate column.
sinful nature Spirit-guided life
According to vv. 12-17 were does our obligation lie? Why?
What kind of Spirit did we receive? What are the benefits of having this Spirit?
So, what about joy? Here’s the bottom line: we don’t experience joy because we are still struggling with sin in our lives. We allow doubt, fear, nasty habits, envy, etc. to remain resident in our hearts. On top of that, we allow ourselves to feel shame because of the sin that is in us. Then, on top of that, we think that we have to work harder to overcome the sin in us. But, there is one simple truth that Satan wants us to forget. SIN IS DEAD!! Jesus has defeated sin. It no longer has reign in our hearts. Or, another way to look at it is that WE ARE DEAD TO SIN!! Either way, we have moved out of the battle with sin. It is no longer our master.
As a person who has placed faith in Jesus Christ, we have moved out of the struggle that Paul describes in chapter 7 and have moved into the zone of peace. We are at peace with God. He does not condemn us, nor will He condemn us. By His grace, we have been set free. The struggle we feel within us is an illusion. If we would turn around and embrace the full pardon that God has given to us through Jesus, and then we could begin to live in the reality that we are children of God, full heirs to His glory, and, some day, we will step into His presence and bask in the beauty of His glorious reality. That is our hope. It is the hope of glory that gives us joy. It gives us drive. It allows us to persevere when times get tough. It gives us the strength to be positive when our circumstances are negative. When we embrace the hope of a future glorious reality we can transform the present difficult reality into a vehicle of life-changing joy.
Let go of the struggle, embrace the victory that comes by grace, and step into your role as a child of God.