No condemnation – life, in Christ, led by the Spirit

7 01 2012

DAY TWO HUNDRED AND FOUR : Hosea 8 v. 1 – 9 v. 17; Romans 8 v. 1 – 17; Proverbs 17 v. 25 – 18 v. 6

HOSEA
Israel To Reap The Whirlwind – The call is to sound the trumpet, for ‘an eagle is over the house of the Lord because the people have broken my covenant’.
Although Israel is now crying out to God, they have rejected what is good, and will be handed over to an enemy.
They have established kings God has not authorised; they have made silver and gold idols which have led to their destruction.
God calls for the calf-idol of Samaria to be thrown out – ‘how long will they be incapable of purity?’ (good question…)
‘They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind’ – in other words, worshiping false gods is like chasing the wind, empty promises.
The Assyrians will harvest whatever they sow now, as Israel will be devoured by its neighbour.
‘Ephraim has sold herself to lovers’, like a wild donkey (an ass) wandering into the grasp of Assyria. They will waste away.
Ephraim’s altars built for sin-offerings have become places where sin is glorified (dedicated to false gods); the laws God had taken time to write for them have been totally disregarded. The sacrifices they offer they then eat, and ‘the Lord is not pleased with them.’
Now is the time for their wickedness to be punished – exiled to Egypt.
‘Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces…I will send fire upon their cities that will consume their fortresses.’

Punishment For Israel – there is nothing for Israel to rejoice in, no cause for celebration, says God. They have proved themselves unfaithful, chasing after prostitutes. They will experience lack of food and wine, and be exiled from their land. There will be no acceptable sacrifices offered to the Lord, they will simply remain unclean. ‘What will you do on the day of your appointed feasts, on the festival days of the Lord?’
Those who survive will be taken by the Egyptians, their treasures will be taken, their tents become overgrown with thorns.
‘The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this.’
Israel has sinned so greatly, and shown terrible hostility; prophets are dishonoured, the inspired treated like maniacs.
God’s prophets have been trapped  and shown great hostility.
God remembers ‘finding Israel’, and it was as sweet as finding grapes in the desert – like the early fruits on the fig-tree. But now they have consecrated themselves to the ‘shameful idol of Baal Peor’.
‘Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird – no birth, no pregnancy, no conception’. It sounds like the end for them. Their children will die early – it will terrible. They will be given ‘wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry’.
Israel will be rejected, ‘no longer beloved’, because of their wickedness. ‘I will drive them out of my house’.
‘Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit’. Their children will be slayed. Nasty.
‘My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him; they will be wanderers among the nations.’
This is bad.
Really bad!

….but there is good news today….


ROMANS

Life Through The Spirit – Those who are ‘in Christ’ must not fear any condemnation, ‘because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.’ There’s a real freedom to experience, not found by the law, but by the sending of God’s own Son to be a sin offering.
‘And so He condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who live…according to the Spirit.’
Lives lived according to the sinful nature tend towards natural desires, leading to death. Lives lived according to the Spirit tend towards what the Spirit desires, leading to life and peace.
Sinful nature is hostile towards God, does not submit to Him (‘nor can it do so’), and cannot please God.
The readers / hearers of the letter Paul is writing are controlled by the Spirit, Paul contends, ‘if the Spirit of God lives in you’.
You cannot belong to Christ unless the Spirit is in you; but if ‘Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness.’
If the Spirit of Him who raised Christ from the dead is living in us (what an amazing thought!), He will give life to our mortal bodies, through the Spirit in us.
Don’t live according to sinful nature – it only leads to death. ‘But if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.’
‘You did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship…to cry, ‘Abba, Father’.’
We are God’s children (the Spirit witnesses to our spirit). That’s who we are.
As children, we are heirs – ‘heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ’ (stunning !!) – as we share in His sufferings and enter His glory.

PROVERBS
It is not good to punish an innocent man, or to flog officials for their integrity
A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered
An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends…a fool finds no pleasure in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions
The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook
It is not good…to deprive the innocent of justice
A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating

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