“A Woeful Man?” ( Romans 7:24-8:2, WYC ) by Carley Evans


24 I am an unhappy man [I am a woeful man]; who shall deliver me from the body of this sin?

25 [Forsooth] The grace of God, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore I myself by the soul serve to the law of God; but by the flesh to the law of sin.

8 Therefore now nothing of condemnation is to them that be in Christ Jesus, which wander not after the flesh.

2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath delivered me from the law of sin, and of death [hath delivered me from the law of sin, and death].

Paul is fully aware of Saul. He speaks of the “old man”, the “woeful man”, the man trapped in sin throughout the seventh chapter of his letter to the Christians in the city of Rome. He asks the question we all – eventually – ask, “What will rescue me from this?”

His answer is “the grace of God.”

Our rescue “from the law of sin and death” is from God, not from ourselves. And because it is not of ourselves, but of God, the good news is that there is no more condemnation.

Let this soak in – you and I who are under God’s grace – are no longer condemned. We are prisoners set free. Our freedom is not because we did or do something for God, but because He did and does something for us.

Through Jesus Christ, we are saved. As Paul says many times, “let us rejoice!”

“Prized Possession” ( Romans 14:8, LEB ) by Carley Evans


Who owns a possession greatly prized? One in a special case? Most people, I think. You protect it; cherish it; bring it out on special occasions. You cry if it breaks; then work to repair it. This possession is special; it belongs to you.

The Lord looks on us the same way for He purchased us with His own Blood.

For if we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord. Therefore whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

“Saved Through Him from Wrath” ( Romans 5: 1-10, HOLMAN ) by Carley Evans


So much of the good news is contained in the first ten verses of the fifth chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome. He says clearly that we are “declared righteous,” that “we have peace with God,” that “we have obtained access” to “this grace in which we stand.” We may know with certainty that “this hope will not disappoint us.” Why? “Because God’s love has been poured out.” We have been given the Holy Spirit. And all this was given to us “while we were still helpless.” “Christ died for the ungodly.” That’s you and me! This willing death of God’s Son “proves” God’s love for us. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us!” Therefore, “we will be saved through Him from wrath.” After all, says Paul, if Christ died for us while we were His enemies, “how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His Life!”

Since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have also obtained access through Him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. And not only that,but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance,endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This hope will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us! Much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by His blood, we will be saved through Him from wrath. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!

“If You Will Use” ( Romans 10: 9 KNOX ) by Carley Evans


ImageHeard this before? Cheap grace? Read Paul’s short description of “finding salvation”:

Thou canst find salvation, if thou wilt use thy lips to confess that Jesus is the Lord, and thy heart to believe that God has raised him up from the dead.

What’s cheap about that? As a matter of fact, what’s particularly easy about that? Certainly it is not common to believe a person rises from the dead – it’s common to pretend this happens but to believe it really happens – well, that’s not as likely and definitely not easy to believe.

To say out loud “Jesus is Lord” and act like Jesus is Lord is not that easy and certainly not cheap either. To act like Jesus is Lord is costly. Jesus warns about starting a task you haven’t planned to finish, about forgetting your daily cross, about lip-service to God without a change of heart.

He warns that not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord” actually understands who He is and what He does.

“And Now, Worship” ( Romans 12:1, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


X and P are the first two letters of Christ fr...
X and P are the first two letters of Christ from greek Χριστός; this is a very old symbol of christians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Paul calls us – that is, Christians – “rational creatures.” As rational creatures, we owe God our “bodies as a living sacrifice.” I like Paul’s use of the plural when he refers to the bodies of Christians and the singular when he refers to the living sacrifice. Paul often refers to Christians as members of the singular “body of Christ.” The whole body of Christ, i.e. the Church is the “living sacrifice” we owe to God. Together we must “offer up [our] bodies” that are “consecrated to God and worthy of His acceptance.” Worship is a mutual undertaking, i.e. worship is meant to occur among fellow Christians. As “rational creatures,” Paul expects us to understand these truths. He calls us to worship together as one; to offer our bodies together as one, united “living sacrifice.” We are the body of Christ, the Church of which He is the head.

“And now, brethren, I appeal to you by God’s mercies to offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, consecrated to God and worthy of his acceptance; this is the worship due from you as rational creatures.”

“Reform Your Wit” ( Romans 12:2, WYC ) by Carley Evans


If we worry a bit more about reforming our wits as we do about reforming our behaviors, we’d be much better off, I believe. God asks us to change our minds; that is literally to allow Him to change the patterns of our thinking. He asks us to allow Him to perform this exacting task through His own Word; but also through the indwelling of His own Holy Spirit, the third Person of the blessed Trinity.

“And do not ye be conformed to this world, but be ye reformed in newness of your wit, that ye prove which is the will of God, good, and well pleasing, and perfect.”

As we allow God to work in us through His Word and His Spirit, we inevitably find our thought patterns change. As our thoughts are changed, so our behaviors follow.

Attempting to achieve change in behavior prior to change in thought is pointless in God’s eyes.

Read the Word. As you read the Word, allow the Word to transform your mind. The rest will follow.

“Pouring Out Speech” ( Psalm 19:1-2, ESV ) by Carley Evans


Sydney, St Bede's Church, Drummoyne. The Warat...
Sydney, St Bede’s Church, Drummoyne. The Waratah window by Alfred Handel. depicts Australian native flowers, the red Waratah, emblem of the state of New South Wales; Flannel Flowers, Christmas Bells and Wattle (Acacia). The inscription reads “The heavens declare the glory of God. The firmament showeth his handiwork.” The window was designed in 1932.http://eprints.utas.edu.au/7081/31/Ausglass_Spring_Summer_1991-1992.pdf (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

David, the psalmist, sings:

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”

Day and night the heavens and the sky “proclaim [God’s] handiwork.” Day “pours out speech” and “night reveals knowledge.” And so, says Paul to the church at Rome, “men are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20, NIV) We are without excuse “because what may be known about God is plain to [us], because God makes it plain to [us]. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – are clearly seen, being understood from what is made.” (Romans 1:19-20, NIV)

“Even though [we] know God”, says Paul, “we neither glorify Him as God nor give thanks to Him, for [our] thinking becomes futile and [our] foolish hearts are darkened.” (Romans 1:21, NIV)

Paul says “you, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things… When you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?” (Romans 2:1-4, NIV)

Do not show contempt for the riches of God’s grace! Rather, withhold your judgment of others. Give thanks to God, renewing your mind, allowing His light into your heart. Listen to the day’s speech as it pours forth. Absorb the night’s knowledge as you sleep in God’s arms. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.