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Msindisi Monthly #128

June 4, 2015

SALVADOR AND DIANNES MSINDISI MONTHLY

Number: 128          Jun 2015

 

P. O. Box 1481

Vryheid 3100

KwaZulu Natal

South Africa

 

+27 (0) 72 8311008

+27 (0) 72 3843786

 

Email: msindisi@gmail.com, salv.di@gmail.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Website: www.kwazulumission.com

 

KwaZulu Mission Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/kwazulumission

 

 

 

We shared a lovely braai meal at the beginning of this month with Sam and LJ who are getting married in June. Sam is the daughter of Girlie who attends the weekly Friday night cell group. We have known Sam since around 2010. She is a very special lady and we are so looking forward to being at her wedding to LJ in June.

Over the month we have made several runs to the Vryheid Hospital. One was, sadly, with a young girl who had taken an overdose of tablets to try and solve her problems. She was fine and we were grateful to be able to talk with her and the family about her response. The other visits were dropping mothers to be and fetching a mother and child. Sadly all these girls are not married and are very young themselves. This is very common in the area we live in.

Enjoyed lovely Braai with Sam and LJ's families.

Enjoyed lovely Braai with Sam and LJ’s families.

Kids club has been varied over the month, with us teaching the smaller children while Celani has taken the older kids. This last week we swapped and Sal taught the older ones while Celani was with the smaller kids.  We always start the morning picking up the kids from the Alpha area about 10 min drive away. Then the kids play while we set things up before singing and teaching. It really is a special morning with the kids.

Di used parts of the human face to teach that God sees everything, God hears everything and God knows everything. Older kids were taught by Celani.

Di used parts of the human face to teach that God sees everything, God hears everything and God knows everything. Older kids were taught by Celani.

Kids enjoying refreshments after kids club

Kids enjoying refreshments after kids club

Di with Kids from Kids Club

Di with Kids from Kids Club

Kids Club

Kids Club

Salvador teaches the little kids on the lost sheep.

Salvador teaches the little kids on the lost sheep.

Sal made contact with another Zulu pastor in Louwsburg called Hamilton Bhuthulezi. He was encouraged to hear his testimony. Sal has been researching for an outreach project to reach people into ancestral traditions. Sal has been going through to Johnny and Kim’s farm on a Saturday afternoon every two weeks to go through the discipling book that has been printed with one of their workers who has been attending the cell group when we have it at their place. He is very quiet and his English is very limited so Sal has felt that it was important to work through some fundamental doctrines with him in Zulu and to check his understanding of the Gospel. This month Nomusa asked to be baptised. She had heard Sal preach in 2010 when he had been in the Alpha area. Her testimony was that she knew there was nothing that could make her right before God but Jesus. She had been attending the discipling group which meets in Mkhulu’s homestead on a Tuesday afternoon. Please keep her in prayer.

Baptising Nomusa.

Baptising Nomusa.

We were excited to have Tony and Maria Verlaan with their friend Ashley come and stay a night. They brought with them the NTM Foundation teaching that has been completed and printed into Zulu. This is very exciting and we hope to run a workshop in the future at some stage. It’s always a pleasure having them come to stay, but it is never long enough!!

Tony and Ashley with Salvador

Tony and Ashley with Salvador

At the homestead saying goodbye to Tony, Maria and Ashley

At the homestead saying goodbye to Tony, Maria and Ashley

We visited the victory school for the second time, this is now going to be a monthly occurance, to sing and give a small talk for their devotion time in the morning. Di taught at Carebear earlier in the month.

Amazing KZN sunset view from our house.

Amazing KZN sunset view from our house.

On the 23rd we headed down to the coast again. Sal was asked to preach at CKM . He spoke on Pentecost and its special significance for Gentiles. We stayed with a lovely couple while there called Bruce and Moyra Cohen. While there we got to meet up with Calvin and Gracie from New Guelder Church. We also got to visit Transworld radio to seek assistance for Sal’s ancestor project.

Judy set up the table for Shavvu'ot at Coming King Ministries (CKM).

Judy set up the table for Shavvu’ot at Coming King Ministries (CKM).

Shavu'ot loaves.

Shavu’ot loaves.

Getting prepared for collective worship at Coming King Ministries in Ballito.

Getting prepared for collective worship at Coming King Ministries in Ballito.

Lee at sound desk at CKM

Lee at sound desk at CKM

Leslie (Right), pastor of CKM with John who is a fluent Zulu speaker.

Leslie (Right), pastor of CKM with John who is a fluent Zulu speaker.

Salvador with Lee and Matthew

Salvador with Lee and Matthew

Di with Lorna and Lorna's daughter

Di with Lorna and Lorna’s daughter

At the end of the month we celebrated Phumlani’s birthday with a steak meal at the Spur. Lots of laughs as he spoke briefly with Caleb online before his meal then it was topped off with the staff girls dancing and singing happy birthday and giving a free ice cream.

Happy Birthday Phumlani

Happy Birthday Phumlani

Salvador and Phumlani have finished preaching through the area of Ehlanzeni which was very resistant to hearing the gospel. They have started working through an area called KwamaBaas and it will not take that long to work through it. This is the last area to spread the Gospel through in order to fulfil the vision with which we came toKwaZulu Natal in 2009. The idea was that someone from every homestead will have heard the gospel preached. Admittedly there have been occasional homsteads which were closed to the Gospel and some where their occupants have not been around but the vast majority have heard the message and even the vacant homesteads are left with Gospel literature waiting for the hosts’ return. The next thing is to prayerfully consider the next stage of evangelism, whether to revisit some homes or to preach at key places or both.Phumlani’s bible study in KwaBhekephi continues on Friday afternoons and the ladies have many questions. It is such a pleasure to see the zeal these ladies have for God’s word. When Phumlani gave one of the ladies a large print Zulu bible she screamed at the top of her voice in excitement and joy. All the other activities continued in between these events but this gives you some wide strokes to see how the month went.

Phumlani preaches to a small crowd of young people

Phumlani preaches to a small crowd of young people

Phumlani teaches the ladies in KwaBhekephi Bible Study

Phumlani teaches the ladies in KwaBhekephi Bible Study

This coming month we will be meeting up with members of other like minded independent assemblies in order to see how we can network and affiliate with one another. The following week we will take a trip round South Africa starting with LJ and Sam’s wedding. We are looking forward to seeing various brethren again and conducting some more interviews concerning ancestral traditions.

Salvador in Ballito

Salvador in Ballito

We give thanks to God always for you all.

Please pray for:

Nomusa in her new life in Christ.

Evangelism and outreach projects.

Bible Study in KwaBhekephi.

NINE 

THE SECURE, SOUND HOPE OF THE GOSPEL

ROMANS 8

From Romans 1 – 7 Paul has been expounding his Thesis of salvation; that the Jew cannot be made right before a holy God through observing the Law of Moses. He can only be made right by faith in Jesus and in what Jesus did on the cross. This is good news for us Gentiles because we were never included in the Mosaic Law in the first place. In Christ, however, we are equals with the believing Jews, being part of a higher law. In Romans 8 Paul brings a conclusion to the first 7 chapters. Now there are a couple of things I want to remind us about from previous chapters.

THE MYSTERY OF GODLINESS REVISED

One is the mystery of godliness. It is beneficial for us to remember the mystery of godliness because we will be dealing with the area of our adoption as sons. What is the mystery of godliness?

1 Tim 3: 16. “By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.”

Jesus never took His own vindication, He never righted His own wrongs, but submitted Himself to the will of the Father and God exalted Him. God initiates and we respond in faith. If we get this, we get the Christian life and God becomes very real. This means that we have an attitude of being God’s servants. That is the first thing I want to remind us of.

A LOOK AT THE MESSIANIC JEWISH COMMUNITIES

The second aspect is this, and that is the aspect of the Messianic Jewish community. There were two main messianic sects within early Christianity. There was the orthodox one and the heretical one. It seems that by the time of the early church fathers both groups had become heretical, OR it seems that they were both perceived to be heretical because the Gentiles did not understand the orthodox group, OR (more probably) like today’s denominations, these messianic Jewish communities were a mixed bag. But the orthodox group consisted of people that Paul belonged to in Acts 24: 5, and they called themselves the Nazarenes. This group of Jews believed that Jesus was God and man, that Jesus was the Messiah and the completion, or the fullness of everything that the Law, the Torah, spoke of. They practiced all the Jewish feasts and still went into the Temple, but they did not compel the Gentiles to do so, recognizing that these things did not secure or bring salvation. In this sect Gentiles and Jews lived together equally in the Messiah.

The other Messianic sect within the early Church was called the Ebionites, which comes from the same word as Ebyown, meaning poor, needy or destitute. They believed that Jesus was Messiah and, it is claimed, they only accepted the Gospel according to Matthew. However they rejected Paul’s teachings and Gospel. Does this sound familiar? But they did not believe that Jesus was the son of God. This is what Paul was writing into and this is why Paul’s Gospel in this letter has to be viewed with Jewish eyes. Jewish readers would have been concerned with such questions as: How can Christ supersede the Law? Is this biblical? What about the Jews that do not accept Jesus as their Messiah? What about those who trust in their obedience to the Mosaic Law?

I am going to deal with this chapter in four points. From verses 1 – 4 we will look at the fact that there is no condemnation. From verses 5 – 13 we will look at being led by the Spirit as opposed to being led by the flesh. From verses 14 – 25 we will look at our future hope of adoption and lastly from verses 26 – 39 we will look at our assurance in Christ.

VERSES 1 – 4:

THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION.

‘Therefore’ is a word that summarizes what has gone before. In this case it is concluding the whole of the preceding 7 chapters. This goes back to Romans 1: 16 – 18. 16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH.

The wrath of God is revealed against all ungodliness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. The answer to this problem is not Moses. The solution to the problem of sin is the Gospel, which is the power of God to salvation. The reason for this is because in it, as I believe from faith to faith, I go through a process where God’s righteousness is revealed more and more to me. In Romans 7, Paul thanked God that Jesus set him free from the body of this death and in the mind he was then able to serve the Lord. Therefore there is no condemnation. There is no sentence hanging over us. We are free and free on two plains.

FREE FROM SIN AND ITS PUNISHMENT

We are free from sin. Though we still have a body of sin and we get tempted; though our flesh nature craves illicit desires; we are given the ability, if we walk in the spirit, to say no. But we are also free from the eternal consequence of our sins. We are no more counted guilty. How does God forgive us? God cannot forgive us purely on the basis of our penitence and saying that we are sorry. This is the problem with much of the Gospel preaching that people have listened to. They are told that if they only say sorry and try to stop sinning God will forgive them and this is a tragedy. If I do a bank robbery I will have to go before the magistrate and what will happen to me? I will have to be sentenced for my crime. But what if I turn round and say, ‘yes, I did it. I am guilty but I am really sorry’? Will that get me off Scott free? I may get a leaner sentence but I will still be sentenced. “Sorry” does not change anything. I have still broken the Law. We need to get a handle on this for ourselves and our Gospel preaching. God cannot simply let us off the hook, because He is a good God who does not pervert the course of justice. He does not take a bribe. It needed a sacrifice. Someone had to pay the price for our sin. If the cross is not at the centre of our gospel, then we do not have the Gospel. If the cross is not presented as the answer to forgiveness then we have neither the answer nor forgiveness.

The Law was weak in this regard. It was feeble, impotent, it carried no power and it was weak through the flesh. Remember the two diagrams that we drew concerning the Law of Moses, the law of Christ and the law of sin and death.

Diagram # 1                            Diagram # 2

Righteous:                                           Power of Spirit:

Law of Moses &                                 Law of Christ

Law of Christ

__________________                        _________________

Unrighteous:                                       Power of Flesh:                      

            Law of Sin                                          Law of Moses

& Law of Sin

Both diagrams have a horizontal line. When it comes to righteousness, both the Law of Moses and the law of Christ are above the line and the law of sin and death is below the line being unrighteous. But when it comes to spiritual power, only the law of Christ is above the line. Though the Law of Moses is spiritual, it grants us no spiritual power. So it can only be kept in the power of the flesh. It is powerless, weak, sickly and diseased through the flesh. That is why the Ebionites, and those Jews who still trusted in Moses, had to realize that they needed a law that superseded the Law of Moses. They needed to be under the greater law rather than the Law of Moses. Maybe this is the reason as to why Paul said in Romans 1 that he wanted to preach the Gospel to the Christians in Rome. There may have been some Ebionites in Rome confusing the believers. What is Paul telling the Ebionites who boasted in their attempt to fulfill the Law? ‘You do not fulfill it, we do!’ The requirement of the Law is fulfilled in us. How can that be when we, as believers, still sin, when we do not keep Shabbat or the Day of Atonement and when we do not circumcise our baby boys?

  • Firstly because Jesus is the fullness of the Law. When we have Jesus we have the fullness of the Law.
  • Secondly, verse 4 tells us that the Law is fulfilled for those who walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. What does the Law expect the Jew to do? It requires him to uphold righteousness through external means. Christ goes further and allows us to uphold righteousness through an internal change of heart. It is the requirement of the Law that is fulfilled in us.

VERSES 5 – 13:

BEING LED BY THE SPIRIT AND NOT BY THE FLESH.

The first four verses deal with our justification and escape from the righteous sentence of God that was on our heads. This section deals with the Christian life, or sanctification if you like. Paul brings a distinction between those of the flesh and those of the Spirit. The bible is full of these distinctions; the righteous and the unrighteous; the saved and the unsaved. There is no middle ground. We are in one camp or the other camp. And how can we tell the difference between those of the flesh and those of the Spirit? Paul tells us in verse 5.

5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.

The word for ‘mind’ in Greek is the word, ‘Phroneo’. It means to exercise, i.e. entertain or have sentiment or opinion. By implication it also means to be mentally disposed, to interest oneself in (with concern or obedience), to set the affection on. Those who are of the Spirit set their minds on the Spirit. Their disposition is to entertain the things of the Spirit rather than the things of the world. This is not a natural disposition. Note here it says that they set their minds on the Spirit. This is not a nature but an act. As we saw in the last chapter, in the flesh we are slaves to sin but in the mind we serve the law of the Lord. Remember what Psalm 1 says, ‘Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the Law of the Lord and on His Law he meditates day and night.’ His affection is set on the spiritual things but this is an act of the will. It is not done for us; it is something we must exercise. But those who are of the flesh are not so. Their minds are set on the flesh. Now if our experience tends to the latter, the answer is not in simply changing our minds, though that is something important. Remember that having our minds changed is not the principle thing here. The principle thing is always verse 3.

3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh,

The principle thing is always the Cross of Jesus. We must start from there and our act of setting our mind on the Spirit is a response to the work of Christ that God has done for us. Paul shows us this in verses 11 and 12.

11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh –

Paul says that on the basis of the Holy Spirit living in us (and on the basis of God’s promise), just as Christ was raised from the dead, so we will be raised too. On the basis of Christ’s complete and finished work on the cross, we are under obligation not to walk according to the flesh. Why? Because there are consequences to the path that we walk down. Verse 6 says the mind set on the flesh is death and the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace? These are the destinations of the two paths. We cannot walk down a path of lawlessness and end up with life. We cannot walk down the path of the Spirit and end up with death. We need a spiritual life to live, a newness of life and notice that this is something that you cannot do. John 3 shows us that this is completely a work of the Holy Spirit.

How do you get the Spirit? You cannot simply ‘get the Spirit’. In fact Romans does not tell us how we get ourselves born again; that is God’s work. What it does tell us about is the glory of the new covenant and Christ’s sacrifice. It tells us that we need to believe and trust in that sacrifice. It also gives us the promise that if we believe with the heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, and if we confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus, we WILL be saved. If we enter into this salvation, if we accept the biblical account of the Gospel, then the Spirit births us into the Kingdom on the basis of faith.

John 1: 12 “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name:”

 

As Peter said, ‘Repent and be baptized and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ And if Christ’s Spirit lives in you then you belong to Him, so implies Romans 8:9. Is it any wonder why Paul says that the Gospel itself is the power of God to salvation for those who believe? This is because it is ministered to us by the Holy Spirit of God who lives in us. This same Spirit also raised Jesus from the dead.

VERSES 14 – 25:

OUR FUTURE HOPE

The first section dealt with justification; the second dealt with sanctification; but this section deals with glorification. If you look at this section it tells us that we are children of God and yet, at the same time, we are still waiting to receive the sonship. It tells us that we have been saved and yet 1 Peter 1: 5 & 9 tells us that we are still awaiting the salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. We are still obtaining the salvation of our souls. How can you have something and, then in the same breath, still be waiting to receive it? Are we saved or are we still waiting to be saved? There are two extremes of thought on this. There is the Roman Catholic error, which says you can never truly say that you are definitely saved. They say that is the sin of presumption. That is why my friend’s grandmother lives in fear because no one will be doing Mass cards for her when she dies. She does not know how long she must ‘supposedly’ stay in purgatory. The second error is when we say that we are totally saved now and therefore we have it all in the bag no matter how godless a life that we live. Thus we do not move on at all in the Christian walk. One heresy says that, because we are in salvation, and God has done it all, then we can claim all the blessings and benefits of salvation now. This would include total healing and in another stream of Christianity, total sanctification. We will deal with healing shortly but the truth lies elsewhere outside these two errors. The truth is that we truly have salvation now, and yet we still are awaiting it too. This seems like a contradiction in terms. It makes no logical sense to us. Yet it is perfectly logical and makes perfect sense when you introduce 3 certain spiritual ingredients. Hebrews 6: 11 – 12.

11 And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”

The ingredients are hope, faith and patience. To realize the full assurance of hope until the end means that you have an assurance of salvation but that assurance needs to be realized. It is like when you have a plan to do something. That plan may be a reality in your mind. But for it to become an experiential reality, you have to execute certain activities to cause it to become an outward observable reality. Now when we receive salvation it is similar yet different to this analogy. It is similar in the fact that what we receive has yet to be realized. But it is different in the fact that the reality in the mind is not a certain thing. It may happen or it may not happen. Who knows? That is why you have to work on probability with these ventures. But that is not the way with salvation. Salvation is not about probability but about certainty.

Turn back to Romans 8: 24 & 25.

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.”

SAVED AND YET STILL NEEDING SALVATION

We have been saved; that is past and that is fact. Yet it is in hope that we have been saved. Hope does not speak of something past but of something future. The word in Greek is ‘Elpis’ and it means a confident expectation of something that will come to pass. These verses teach us that we do not have it all here and now. We have been justified and positionally sanctified, we are being experientially sanctified and, one day, we will be glorified. We have not yet received the sonship. If we did have it all here and now then we would not need hope, because as verse 25 says, ‘who hopes for what he sees?’ We do not see it all here and now. People tell us, ‘So you believe in heaven, where is it? All you believe in is pie in the sky when you die but where is it?’ In hope we have been saved. We cannot see it but it is certain and will happen. But there is still something lacking in understanding how something yet future, that has not happened yet, can be brought into our present day reality. By grace you are saved, through faith. Faith is the key here. Hebrews 11: 1 & 2 say that faith is the evidence of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faith takes what is there as future fact and brings it into our present day experience. Faith is something we grow in and so Paul said in Romans 1: 16 – 17, that the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. It is not a stagnant thing; it is a living thing. Thus, when we accept the Gospel we are not only positionally righteous but we have actually received a new nature, a living Word and a living hope. A seed may not look like there is any life in it when it is sown but it will not fail to grow if planted and watered. It is not a static faith that we have but it is living and dynamic. We rob ourselves of so much when we only see our salvation as positional and, what theologians call, merely forensic. God does not only declare me righteous but He has made me a new creation in Christ. As Paul also says, the Just shall LIVE by faith. Faith is based on God’s word and is staking your whole life on what God has said. It is so certain that we will be completely saved to the utmost if we are in Christ, thus we are saved. So if we are still waiting to receive the adoption to sonship, what right do we have to call ourselves children of God in the here and now?

Verse 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

The Holy Spirit, who lives in us, testifies that we are children of God. The Holy Spirit is the One who makes our faith a reality in itself and our hope is not vain. The Holy Spirit is God almighty. He is the ‘I AM’ as much as the Father and the Son are. In the beginning ‘He is I AM’, He now is I AM and in the end ‘He is I AM’. The Spirit is eternal and not bound to the limits of time. He knows us now and, in the same measure, He also knows what we are when we are glorified. He is there in the future just as much as He is here in the present. He ministers to us the reality of what we shall be. We are dealing with something that we cannot grasp it with our finite minds. How can someone that is outside time relate to us who are trapped by time? God sees the finished product but we do not and therefore we have to travel the journey to reach the destination of ‘fully realized’ salvation. When we look at salvation by faith we are looking at it from an eternal perspective. When we look at the salvation yet to come, we are looking at it from a perspective of time. And this journey that we travel includes certain ingredients.

As verse 17 shows, the journey includes suffering. But this is suffering in a specific context. It is suffering with Christ. Jesus suffered in His death for sin, and through His persecution for righteousness’ sake. But our journey also includes enduring a fallen world and fallen bodies. It includes living with sickness, though God does heal. Our God still heals today but these people that claim you do not have to suffer, you are a ‘King’s kid’, they forget some things. Though they are right that the Atonement includes healing, (Jesus carried our infirmities), they are wrong to say that this means we can always claim healing in the here and now.

  • Firstly they forget the servant mentality that we looked at in the introduction, which is Godliness. We are sons by faith but experientially we are yet to receive the sonship. Thus even though I approach God boldly as a Son, I still maintain a servant mindset remembering that the glorification lies in the future and is not yet.
  • Secondly, they forget that we live in a fallen world. Verse 20 – 21. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.  God’s purposes go beyond saving our souls but God wants to redeem the physical world too. God is concerned about the redemption of creation. But the world was subjected to entropy, futility, so that God would set it free at a later time. The pinnacle of the creation was man and the pinnacle of redeemed creation will be redeemed man. That is God’s ecological program to save the whales and to stop the destruction of the planet. He saves the creation by saving men. We are not oblivious to this corruption though we are saved. In fact, healing is certain but it will come when Jesus returns. Verse 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. We are still waiting for the redemption of our body. Any healing we receive is only a temporal foretaste of glory and nothing more.

VERSES 26 – 39:

ASSURANCE 

I do not want to delve too much into this section. Rather I want to use this section as a conclusion to Romans 8. This is always a question when we talk about the fact that salvation is yet future. ‘Well where is the assurance in that?’ The assurance can only lie in God Himself. I got into a conversation with someone at a former workplace in the UK. He asked me where my assurance of salvation was, if I believed that it is possible that I could walk away from the Lord. I told him that my assurance is not in a doctrine that I can never fall away, nor in a doctrine that I have to keep myself saved, but my assurance lies in a person. That person is the person of Jesus Christ. It is not my STAYING in Him that assures me, but it is staying in HIM. Do you see the difference? Paul seeks to give us that assurance of salvation before he moves on.

  • Firstly from verses 26 – 27 we have the assurance of the intercession of the Holy Spirit. We are weak, sick, feeble and we do not know how to pray as we should. Quite often we do not come to God in a way that He deserves. But we have the Spirit who pleads our case and speaks in groans too deep for words. This is not a reference to speaking in tongues. Tongues are simply the ability to speak in another language, other than your own, by the aid of the Holy Spirit. The phrase “too deep for words” means that the groans cannot be uttered. We utter words with the languages that we speak in, but these groans cannot even be uttered in words. What is this about? Verse 27 says that the Spirit searches our hearts. He knows exactly what we are and what we are asking for even when we do not. He knows our hearts’ desires better than we ever could. And the Spirit intercedes for us, filling the gap that we have made with our weakness.
  • But secondly there is the assurance of God’s eternal nature. As we have said, God is the ‘I AM’. He is not subject to the limitations of time. As such, verse 29 says, those He foreknew He predestined.

FOREKNOWLEDGE AND PREDESTINATION

This foreknowing does not mean that God saw in advance those who would accept Him and who would reject Him as if he was on the outside looking in. This ‘foreknowing’ is not referring to God looking forward in time and picking out those who He would want to save. This is knowledge in terms of a relationship. In other words, God knew you before the foundation of the world. This is because God is not trapped by the limitations of time. So God was in relationship to us before the creation of the world because He was here today, and in eternity future, before the creation of the world. This does not mean that God chose some people to heaven and hell arbitrarily. The logical sequence starts outside of time and the problem with this whole debate is that we take something that is outside time and try to understand it in a linear fashion. The predestination is based on the foreknowing and not the foreknowing on the predestination. What we are dealing with is a mystery of God’s purposes for His people. Predestination means that God limited certain people in advance for a purpose. Predestination is never spoken of in the New Testament in terms of obtaining salvation. God does not predestine us to be saved. Rather predestination is spoken of as being unto sonship, co heirs and brethren with Christ. Test me on this and look up the word predestine and all the scriptures it refers too. But surely is not sonship itself salvation? No it is not. God could have saved us merely to be servants and not to be sons.

A life as a servant of God is much more than the terrors of hell. But God’s purposes are greater than servitude. He wants to elevate us to being sons of God. We are sons now by faith but we will completely receive the sonship when Jesus returns. There is no choice in this regard. If you are saved, if you are in Christ, God has already determined before the beginning of time that you would be made into a son of God. You are predestined to be rulers and you have no choice in the matter. It is predetermined by God that all those who knew beforehand would be glorified as rulers. And on the basis of that predestination comes God’s call to salvation and on the basis of that call comes justification, and on the basis of that justification comes the glorification. How can we marry this to our temporal experience? We cannot comprehend the magnitude of God’s plan but God’s eternal nature should give us assurance that what He has purposed will come to pass. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

Verse 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

The love of God resides in Christ Jesus. If you and I are in Christ Jesus then what God has decreed cannot fail to come to pass. We have this assurance because the Spirit in us testifies to us. And we can trust God because of His eternal nature. The way to remain assured is to remain in Jesus. Abide in Him and you will bear much fruit. And if you abide in Him, nothing can pluck you out of His hand.

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