|Volume 21 Number 1 January 2019||
Gary C. Hampton
All are sinners. Sin’s reward is eternal death (Romans 3:23; 6:23). God has provided for our salvation in His tender mercy. On the basis of that mercy, Paul begged his fellow Christians to give over every part of their being in service to God (Romans 12:1). The Christian’s body belongs to God, so it should be kept holy or pure, free from sin, for God’s work. Each should keep his or her body acceptable to God by doing His will (1 John 5:3). This is only reasonable since God purchased the body of the Christian with His Son’s blood (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 1 Peter 1:18-19).
Paul did not want the brethren at Rome to imitate or conform to the world and its practices. He instructed them to daily reshape their minds so that they might judge the worthiness of God’s way (Romans 12:2; 2 Corinthians 3:17-18; 4:16; 5:17; 1 Peter 1:14-15). Before they became Christians, they practiced the fulfilling of their passions and lusts. Now that they were members of Christ’s body, the apostle asked them to test the goodness of God’s high standards.
Paul commanded the Roman Christians to not be proud, but to “think soberly” or develop a right-thinking estimate of themselves (Romans 12:3). The Lord said, “Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Any gifts and abilities we possess were not self-made but God-given. The Father measured out the portion each should have. None has the right to say he or she is better because of his or her own worth or work. Our very existence depends on God (Acts 17:25).
The church is like the human body. Many members make up one body. Each has its own function. None can boast of superiority because each function is necessary for the body (Romans 12:4-5; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27).
Each of us must do the Father’s will rather than letting worldly thinking shape us. Every Christian should recognize the value of every brother and sister in Christ. Commend them. Pray for them. By these means, we will maintain a good relationship to God and His family.
Casting Away Our Fears
You do not know it’s coming until it already has you. Once it has you, it is hard to get away. It’s the spine tingling, nerve shaking, heart racing kind of fear. It’s the kind of fear that haunts you in the night and makes you feel like there is no light. Such fear rocks you to your core until you cannot take it anymore. This is your greatest fear.
We all have things that we fear. Some fears are about our physical lives, and some fears concern our spiritual lives. Some fears are healthy and keep us safe, while other fears are harmful and lead to destruction. Healthy fears are in place to keep us from harm. They keep a child from playing in the street or from touching the stove. They teach a man to respect God and to know who is actually in control. Harmful fears immobilize and control. They may keep a person from ever leaving his house for fear of the outside world, or fears may keep a person from ever growing spiritually and from ever overcoming the fear of Judgment.
While fear is something that affects everyone in some way, there is a way to overcome that fear and cast one’s fears away. In 1 John 4:7-19, we read about the love of God. The love of God is demonstrated in many ways. It is clearly seen in the creation of the world, and it was poured out on all of mankind in the giving of His Son. We see the love of God in our lives, and we read about it in His Word. As we come to know God better, the best response is to love Him since He has loved us since the beginning. As we grow in knowledge and love of Him, we see the need to obey His Word and to truly abide in Him. Being in Christ and loving like God loves has some incredible benefits. If we truly abide in Him, we can know that whatever may happen to us in this physical life, it will be all right because God is there. We can also know that one day, if we are faithful, we will have a home with Him in Heaven. Having the perfect love of God in us casts out our fears and allows us to stand before Him as one of His. Let us all overcome our fears by getting to know God better and by demonstrating our love for God through obedience to His Word.