Sunday, May 28, 2023

Posted on May 26 2023


Bible Background: Romans 5-8 is part of a unit. Chapter 8 seems written to reassure Christians living in a hostile empire that their experiences of suffering cannot take them out of reach of God’s love. The word for “Spirit” appears 20 x’s in chapter 8. While it’s true we have been adopted as God’s own children, there are still a lot of troubles to face in this life.

Going Deeper: 1. The hymn “Abide with Me” has a phrase “change and decay in all around I see” which summarizes all that’s wrong with the world, as Paul does in v.18-24. As Christians, we live in the world. We also live “in Christ”. And it is this living “in Christ” that allows us to live with hope.

2. There are many references in the Old and New Testament to ways the ‘creation groans’, and also many glimpses of a re-newed creation. Clearly the fate and future of the human race is inseparable from the fate and future of the whole creation. What are some of the signs of creation struggling? What responsibilities and powers do we have to be caretakers of creation?

3. v. 28 is a beautiful verse on prayer and the Spirit’s presence: “The Spirit intercedes for us”. What have been some times when you could not pray? Or did not know what to pray for? Or even might have prayed for the ‘wrong’ thing, as you look back? What comfort is there in this promise that the Spirit intercedes for us?

4. v. 31-39 are poetic and lovely. They are also powerful! Paul’s point is: If God gave his only Son to die for us, do you think God is going to give up on us now? Or let us flounder? Do you think troubles in this life/world are somehow greater than God’s love? Think of the “No” in v.38 as emphatic! No way! Not gonna happen! Impossible! When has it felt like God might have forgotten or abandoned you? When have you been reassured that God could not and will not let that happen?