Called According to His Purpose

Romans 8:12-14 ESV

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”

We learn in the first eight verses of Romans 8 that God, by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who WALK not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. So, how we live, whether for God or for self, in this life, determines where we will spend eternity, and whether we are condemned of God or not.

For if we live according to the flesh our minds are set on the things of the flesh, and that ends in death, not in life everlasting. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. And again, being in the flesh has to do with how we live and what we do and it is not dependent on whatever profession of faith we may have made in Christ Jesus.

For our salvation from sin is not determined by profession of faith but by whether or not we live that faith in daily practice. For if we live according to the flesh, according to what our sinful flesh craves, we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God. But if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the body, we will live. For it is all who are being led by the Spirit who are the children of God, not those who give lip service only.

Romans 8:16-18 ESV

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Now, we cannot quote verse sixteen independent of the verses before it and the verses which follow it. We aren’t children of God just because we claim we are or just because we claim that the Spirit says that we are. And this suffering being spoken of here must be understood in the whole context of this chapter and not just in a partial context. For the suffering isn’t just about suffering persecution because of our faith in Jesus Christ.

We are the children of God PROVIDED that we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. And what kind of suffering was just talked about? We must WALK (in conduct, in practice) not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. By the Spirit we must be putting to death the deeds of the body (the works of the flesh), that we might live. So the suffering here is in us dying with Christ to sin that we might live to his righteousness in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

This includes the suffering of persecution at the hands of others because of our walks of faith in Christ Jesus in obedience to his commands, and because of our testimonies for the Lord and for his gospel. But ultimately it all comes down to us dying to sin and to self daily that we might live to him and to his righteousness, and that we might have eternal life with God. For if we continue to live in sin and for self we will not inherit eternal life with God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Romans 8:26-28 ESV

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

When we suffer for righteousness’ sake, or when we suffer via daily dying to sin and to self, that we might walk in obedience to our Lord, our Lord helps us to do so in his strength. And he will provide us with all that we need to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return (Titus 2:11-14). We are not on our own, our Lord will help us every step of the way.

But we have to be those who rely on the strength of the Lord, and who call on him for help, and who receive his help, and who do not resist him. He is not going to help us if we don’t want his help and if we refuse to listen to his counsel and if we go our own way instead. He is not going to help us if we seek his counsel and then we turn right around and do what we want to do anyway. Then we are like the double-minded talked about in James 1.

So, we must yield to the Lord and do what he says to do, even if our emotions aren’t there. And we must trust the Lord to work everything out according to his will and purpose for our lives, even if things might look very bleak sometimes. For he doesn’t promise us that life is going to go smoothly for us and that we won’t hit any “bumps in the road.” He promises us suffering for the sake of righteousness, so we need to be those who yield control of our lives over to him and who choose to do his will.

[Matt 5:10-12; Matt 10:16-25; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 6:22-23; Lu 21:12-19; John 15:1-21; Jn 16:33; Ac 14:22; Rom 5:3-5; Phil 3:7-11; 1 Pet 1:6-7; 1 Pet 4:12-17; 1 Thess 3:1-5; Jas 1:2-4; 2 Co 1:3-11; Heb 12:3-12]

Paradise Valley

Lyrics by Noah White, Music by Virgil Stamps (1935).

As I travel thru life, with its trouble and strife,
I’ve a glorious hope to give cheer on the way;
Soon my toils will be o’er and I’ll rest on that shore,
Where the night has been turned into day.

Up in paradise valley By the side of the river of life,
Up in paradise valley, We’ll be free from all pain and all strife;
There we’ll live in the garden, ‘Neath the shade of the evergreen tree,
How I long for the paradise valley, Where the beauty of heaven I’ll see.

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