Friday, September 22, 2017

prodigal grace

artwork by Cherry Ashen Fargo
When I saw this beautiful work of art, Extravagant Grace, by Cherry Ashen Fargo, it took me back to a recent Chris Tomlin concert where we heard a short message by pastor Louie Giglio on the parable about our Heavenly Father found in Luke 15. He explained that the word “prodigal” means “extravagant or lavish,” although the son was extravagant in his lifestyle, our Heavenly Father portrayed in this parable was also extravagant in his grace, love, mercy, and forgiveness. This drew my heart to do a word study on the Truth contained in Romans Chapter Eight . . . scripture passages I wrap around my heart, like the Loving Arms of my Savior Jesus Christ.


I remember a Bible study
my Daddy, Eston Willis, taught on Romans 8, in which he had us repeat several times at the beginning of each session these opening words: There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.


Romans Chapter Eight is uniquely the chapter of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is mentioned in Romans 8 no less than 19 different times. No other chapter in the New Testament contains as many direct references to the Holy Spirit. Romans 8 is also the chapter of Christian assurance. As theologian Frédéric Louis Godet said, Romans 8 begins with "no condemnation" and ends with "no separation” . . . which draws me to a word study of the word, condemnation…

Romans 8:1-3 . . .

Amplified Bible: Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice].

NLT: So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

Phillips: No condemnation now hangs over the head of those who are “in” Jesus Christ. For the new spiritual principle of life “in” Christ lifts me out of the old vicious circle of sin and death. The Law never succeeded in producing righteousness—the failure was always the weakness of human nature. But God has met this by sending his own Son Jesus Christ to live in that human nature which causes the trouble. And, while Christ was actually taking upon himself the sins of men, God condemned that sinful nature. So that we are able to meet the Law’s requirements, so long as we are living no longer by the dictates of our sinful nature, but in obedience to the promptings of the Spirit. 

Wuest:
  Therefore, now, there is not even one bit of condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit, that of the life in Christ Jesus, freed you once for all from the law of the sinful nature and of death. For that which is an impossibility for the law, because it was weak through the sinful nature, God having sent His Son in likeness of flesh of sin, and concerning sin, condemned sin in the sinful nature, in order that the righteous requirement of the law may be brought to completion in us who, not as dominated by the sinful nature are ordering our behavior but as dominated by the Spirit.

Young’s Literal:
 There is, then, now no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit; for the law of the Spirit of the life in Christ Jesus did set me free from the law of the sin and of the death; for what the law was not able to do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God, His own Son having sent in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, did condemn the sin in the flesh.


Condemnation from the Greek word katakrima. It comes from katá which means against or down, and krino, which means to separate from which the idea of discriminate, distinguish, and then to judge or pronounce sentence against. This word appears only in the book of Romans. The idea literally is of judgment coming down on someone. The Apostle Paul says God’s judgment is not going to come down upon us as believers, not now, not ever! Those in Christ are not condemned, because Christ was condemned in our stead. There is no punishment for us, because Christ bore our punishment. The word condemnation may also be translated judgment. There is no judgment for those who are in Christ because sin has already been judged in the substitutionary atonement of Jesus. 

Katakrima 
means 
to judge someone as definitely guilty and thus subject to punishment, which accounts for the literal translation of "adverse judgment and resultant punishment." It is a legal technical term for the result of judging, including both the sentence and the execution or the sentence followed by a suggested punishment (The suffix -ma makes it the result of judgment). Katakrima is always an adverse verdict. Stated another way,katakrima (condemnation) relates to the sentencing for a crime, but its primary focus is not so much on the verdict as on the penalty that the verdict demands.

Pastor F. B. Meyer
 explains katakrima this way, “Our standing in Christ is present: "Now." If we are in Christ, we need not wait in doubts and fears for the verdict of the Great White Throne. Its decisions cannot make our standing more clear, or our acceptance more sure. We can never be more free from the condemnation of God's righteous law than we are at this present. There are some who live on a sliding scale between condemnation and acceptance. If health is buoyant and the heart is full of song, they are sure of their acceptance with God; but if the sun is darkened and the clouds return; when the heart is dull and sad, they imagine that they are under the ban of God's displeasure. They forget that our standing in Christ Jesus is one thing; our appreciation and enjoyment of it quite another. Your own heart may condemn you; memory, the recorder of the soul, may summon from the past evidence against you; the great Accuser of souls may lay against you grievous and well-founded charges; your tides of feeling may ebb far down the beach; your faith may become weak and lose its power and grip; your sense of unworthiness may become increasingly oppressive--none of these things can touch your acceptance with God if you are in Christ Jesus.”

During a recent hurricane
 in the Gulf of Mexico, a news report highlighted a rescue device used on the oil rigs. In case of fire or hurricane, rig workers scramble into the bullet-shaped “
bus” and strap themselves into their seats. When the entry port is shut, the vehicle is released down a chute and projected away from the rig. The seat belts protect the occupants from the impact with the water. The capsule then bobs in the sea until rescuers come to pick it up. The device parallels the theological truth of Romans 8:l—There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Justification does not mean our world always stops falling apart. The rig still may topple in the hurricane. The storm will take its course. The welfare of the workers depends on whether they are in the rescue device . .  . those in the right place, whether a rescue module, or spiritually, believers in Christ, will weather the storm and be carried safely to the shore. Praise His Holy Name!

Lord Jesus, Thank You for this encouraging Truth from Your Word, that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. Thank You for the free gift of salvation, that we are justified on the basis of Your finished work on the Cross. Thank You that, right now, we are under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Because we have placed our trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, we are redeemed by Your precious blood. The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed. Knowing that God’s love for us and approval of us will never be determined by our performance is the most encouraging promise to which we cling. We love You, Lord. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.


Look Up—meditate on Romans 8:1-3 … pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In—as you meditate on Romans 8:1-3 … pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Romans 8:1-3 …pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ


Weekly LinkUps…

27 comments:

  1. Beth, thank you for this encouraging post today. Grateful to be reminded that we can and will weather any storm because He will sustain us - always. Blessings!

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    1. Amen, Joanne! Having just come through Hurricane Irma here in central Florida, this was especially meaningful to us! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  2. Would you believe that I spent Thursday afternoon studying Romans 8 for an upcoming lesson? Thanks for adding to the richness!

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    1. Thanks for sharing that with me, Michele! So glad it was helpful...many blessings to you ❤️

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  3. Beautiful thoughts, sweet friend. I love and appreciate you! God bless you always.

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    1. Cheryl, thank you so much for stopping by. Many blessings to you and your sweet family ❤️

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  4. I absolutely needed this. I shared a large part and quoted you as I shared on FB, I hope that's okay. I felt like many others can benefit. Wow.

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    1. Meg, thank you so much for sharing my post on your Facebook page. It is a blessing to share with others what has encouraged me. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  5. I love how you tied in these verses from Romans with the story of the Prodigal. There is so much shame and condemnation felt from those prodigal years, and prodigal children, but Jesus is so extravagant with His Grace! My friend Anna Smit is beginning a new website especially to reach out to those returning prodigals, and those praying for prodigals. (There is a actually a link in my latest blogpost.) I'm so glad I stopped in for your encouraging and timely words! Blessings to you!

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    1. WOW, Bettie, thank you so much for stopping by and letting me know about your friend Anna's new website. I clicked on the link you provided on your post and left her a message also. Many blessings to you both ❤️

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  6. Love Romans 8- thank you for all these insights! I didn't know the chapter was "The Holy Spirit chapter" or much of the other info. The rescue device illustration is also very helpful. Thak you!

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    1. Bethany, I so appreciate you taking time to stop by. It is a blessing to share with others what has encouraged me. Many blessings to you!

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  7. I love the art work and the reminder of God's extravagant grace. I'm trying to learn Romans 8 at the moment and have been really struck by how many times the Spirit is mentioned. I hadn't realised that before- it makes it very confusing to try and memorise when it says the Spirit, the Holy Spirit, God's Spirit etc but it's a great chapter!

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    1. I so agree with you, Lesley. Romans 8 is such a favorite of mine, I will be doing several more posts on it in the weeks to come. Many blessings to you!

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  8. Such powerful Words aren't they? It is so good to read the commentaries and the different versions too. It really brings it home- slicing through the schemes of our accuser.

    It's funny because today I was again reminded of Romans 3. We truly have all fallen short and YET He stooped down and took our curse upon Himself to free us all completely and forever. Tears. It always brings me to tears. May we all embrace our Way, Truth and Life each and every day, fully and wholly, again and again the richness of His grace.

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    1. Anna, thanks so much for stopping by! I so agree with you. I am always brought to tears by the grace of God, so rich, so free...truly, all is grace! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  9. No condemnation. Sweet, graceful music to our ears! How blessed we are to be loved so deeply by our Savior.

    Thanks for taking us to Romans, Beth ...

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    1. Amen, Linda! Thanks so much for stopping by... Many blessings to you!

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  10. Thank you for sharing beautiful art with every post. You've inspired me to make my own. Blessings to you!

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    1. Sarah, I am so grateful to the artists who give me permission to us their beautiful artwork with my blog posts. I am inspired by their art, but unfortunately, when I try to make my own art, it's a train-wreck! Many blessings to you!

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  11. The story of the prodigal is dear to my heart! Thank you for the reminder of how God forgets the sin and embraces his child!

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    1. Oh how I agree with you! Jesus saw every sin we would commit when He called us to Himself. Truly, all is grace. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  12. Romans 8 has been one of my favorite passages for decades! Every time I go to it, the Holy Spirit wraps me up in the vast comfort of God's grace. Thank you for your study and insights. Blessings!

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    1. Amen, Alice! I so agree with you...many blessings to you ❤️

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  13. Thanks for sharing this. These verses are some of my favorites. They set me free from shame and condemnation! Blessings!

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    1. Yes, Alicia, set free ... I so agree with you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  14. That is a beautiful piece of art. So is the Scripture in Romans.

    Thank you for sharing this with the readers of Literacy Musing Mondays.

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