Wretched to Lovely (Romans 7-8)

I always return to Paul’s description of fighting with the fleshly desires in chapter 7. Even though it’s super wordy and confusing, I think that makes it even more appropriate for describing the confusion and frustration at trying to live contrary to what our sinful nature desires. I have to side with Paul when he ends his dilemma with “What a wretched man I am” (7:24).

Then chapter 8 starts being more positive with our life in the Spirit and the wonderful future we have as heirs of Christ once the present sufferings are done. It is a beautiful aspect of what we get when we “trade in” our current lives for the new ones found in Christ. And, who can separate us from the love of God now? Absolutely nothing.

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Saved from the Cause (Mark 1-2)

Well, unlike in Matthew, Mark just jumps right into the thick of things. Chapter 1 is like a synopsis of “the early years” and then starts right in on the miracles and ministry.

Today I taught in Sunday School about how the judges (In Judges) could only save the Israelites from the “consequence of their sins, not the cause” (aka temporarily deliver them from bondage, not permanently give salvation/forgiveness). In this reading, we see Jesus, who can save from the cause – he can forgive our sins and make us whole (and paralytics walk)!

Chapter 2 also shows a lot of things Jesus did that other people didn’t like. The author is interestingly setting up the public views of Jesus in the beginning, and it will be interesting to watch how public opinions (disciples, crowds, and religious leaders) change and grow throughout Mark.