“Wrestling With Romans”
Honest to Goodness (Chapter 8 Verses 18-27)
Taking up again from yesterday’s note (v27), it is possible for our Christianity to degenerate into mere heartless religion, is it not? We would not be into political correctness in any sense, but we are into doctrinal correctness. Now I am not saying we should not pay careful attention to our Bible teaching, of course we should, but when we become proud of it, when it becomes simply an item to parade before others, instead of the warp and woof, the foundation of our Christian life and faith, I think God’s voice is silenced, the Spirit is offended. We make some progress in sanctification, and we would never be involved in certain sins or so we say. We would listen quite happily to a sermon on the Good Samaritan we would nod, approve and even say our Amen! But our evangelical wrath is poured out on homosexuality, abortion and other sins that are not our area of weakness. I read an account of a man who was a professing Christian he had been secretly trapped in homosexuality for years, unknown to his Church. Through a major crisis that almost cost him his life, he was brought to repentance and restored to God’s favour. Unfortunately for him, not before he had contracted AIDS. When he went to his Church to tell them the good news, they were angry with him, bitter, full of nothing but wrath. Some would not even shake hands with him in case they caught AIDS themselves. And there they were, so, so proud of their doctrinal correctness, and no doubt evangelical morality too. My dear friends let the Holy Spirit search your heart today, no matter how painful, because in the end it will be less painful than the consequences of degenerating into Pharisaic evangelicalism (Matthew 5.20). Righteousness is cold, hard and unloving, holiness is pure, loving, joyful, caring and sensitive, and honest.
The Holy Spirit knows the will of God (v27b) that too is a great comfort. In my prayers for you, you could be forgiven for doubting whether I was on target or not, understanding the needs, the hub of the matter, just what is required. But the Spirit of God knows just what to pray for, he would never pray for us contrary to the will of God, supreme, absolute confidence can be placed in him. There is nothing to fear in the ministry of the Spirit, nothing at all, he will do, or give us nothing that is harmful (Luke 11.11-12). If you are ever led astray, I guarantee, it will never be by the person of the Holy Spirit. But is not this an encouragement to pray? Are you troubled, facing trial, trying to overcome some kind of sin? Here is your best Counsellor, your Friend and Helper within (vv26-27). He is God, he cares for and loves you (1John 4.12, 16).
(© James R Hamilton, written September, 1997)