I am starting an eight part series on Romans 8.
I am way out of my depth here, but will you wade into the deep waters of this most wonderful chapter in the wonderful book of Romans with me?
If you have been in church for any time at all, you have heard sermons on this doctrinally filled chapter. It is full of God’s sovereignty, goodness, grace, and mercy.
Let’s just skim through the chapter and list all the truths Paul hurls at us.
-I have been set free from the law of sin and death
-I am in the Spirit
-He will give life to my mortal body by the Spirit
-I am an adopted heir
-The Spirit intercedes in prayer for me
-I have confidence and security in Christ
-Nothing can separate me from the love of Christ
These are freedom-generating truths! These are deep theological foundational truths. And I know you would agree with me, but some of you don’t really buy into it. You don’t see what difference it will make to you when your boss threatens you job, or your child is sick, or your dryer dries its last load, or your car won’t start in the morning, or your husband leaves you, or … surely, one of these hit home.
God speaks to us in His Word. He has things to say to us. Do I access this vital resource only on Sunday or when I have an extreme crisis? Or, do I daily turn to His word to see the wisdom that awaits me there? Theology is practical. It speaks to the issues of daily life. It impacts every part of my life.
Are you worn out by trying to obey all the commands you find in Scripture? Worn out by the dos and don’ts? Worn out by trying to be good enough? Wise enough? Bold enough? Worn out by trying to be enough, enough, enough! Stop! Let God’s word set you free!
As I was writing this a song lyric kept buzzing unwelcomed through my mind: “I gotta be free. I gotta be me.” I couldn’t remember who sang it or what song it was from, and it kept bugging me. So, I googled the words.
I was surprised at how many different songs over the years have a title that talks about wanting freedom. There are scads of them. I found my song. It was sung by Sammy Davis Jr in 1968.
Why are there so many songs written about freedom? What is it that we seek? What is this freedom that human beings seek after, write songs about, and in some cases die for?
What freedom were the patriots of early America seeking? The Declaration of Independence gives us an answer.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The dictionary’s meaning for freedom is:
(1) The state of being free within society from oppressive restrictions imposed by authority on one’s way of life, behavior, or political views.
(2) The power or scope to act as one pleases
Isn’t this what two year olds are after?
Yes, from our beginning we are seeking to be free. This is why the teenager runs away from home. This is why the drug addict does it again, the alcoholic takes another drink. Why the unhappy woman divorces for the third time.
And we call it the pursuit of happiness. But that is not what Thomas Jefferson meant by it.
What did Jefferson mean by “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”?
He meant we make choices everyday. We were made to by our Creator to make choses. But, not all choices are good. Some, made on impulsive behavior, turn out not for our happiness, but for our determent. But, if I say no to drugs, alcohol, or that creamy chocolate eclair because I know it will be bad for my health, I have made a choice for my long-term good. That is the pursuit of happiness Jefferson had in mind. Not the “if it feels good do it” pursuit of happiness that came out of the sixties and still flourishes.
So, why do we all seek the freedom to be happy?
We want to be happy.
But, the problem lies in that on our own we do not know what will make us happy. Even when we have done everything within our power to put ourselves in a happy bubble, in the darkness of night when we are awake and alone we will wonder is this all there is? We may not speak it aloud. We may not dwell on the thought. But it is there brushing through our minds, unasked for, unwanted.
Have you been there? I have. I’ve sung those songs. I want to be free. Gotta be me. Then, God gave me a new song.
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I’m found
Was blind, but now I see.
This is the freedom Romans 8 is talking about, our freedom in Christ. And we are going to see it echoed throughout the chapter. Jesus said it Himself, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).
So get ready! Paul is going to share with us truths so astounding, so unbelievable, and so glorious that I hope we will be overwhelmed with awe and so be set free in Christ.
Until next time
You are loved