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Over-Victors

Over-Victors

I’m continuing my study through the book of Romans. We’ve been looking at Paul’s questions at the end of chapter 8.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Romans 8:35-36

This is a great question. Every believer needs to remember both the question, and Paul’s answer. It will help us to face the toughest times in our faith journey.

He asks if there’s anything or anyone who could place a separation between us and Christ. The word trouble, in this verse, is a Greek word that means pressure. That’s something we all have to deal with.

We may not like it when we find ourselves under pressure. But, it’s one of those things that we’re told to rejoice over throughout Scripture (John 16:33; Romans 5:3).

The word hardship, on the other hand, means to be in a narrow confining space. There are times we feel like we’re in a rut with no way out. Even in those times, God’s love is reigning over us. Paul actually says that he enjoys those times because when he’s weak, God shows His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).

The apostle goes on to list other things we may face such as persecution, hunger, poor clothes, danger or fighting. In all of these things, none of them will put space between us and God’s love. We are the only ones who, by our own foolishness, can distance ourselves from the Lord.

Paul goes on to quote Psalm 44. It basically is asking God, “Why have you forsaken us? Our enemies are trampling us.” So, Paul is asking if that’s what serving God is all about. I like his answer.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

The short answer is NO!!!! We’re not meant to be a bunch of doormats for the enemy and the world to walk over. He literally says that we are over-victors.

It goes beyond just a victory. Not just a 6 to 5 win. It’s more like a 1500 to 5 blowout. If it were boxing, it would not be just winning by points but a first round knockout. There’s no need for a recount.

We’ve been given victory over all of the things listed previously…AND MORE!!! Not life or death. Not even the principalities of the enemy’s kingdom.

He also includes many of the things we worry about on a daily basis. The present things that are happening to me right now. But also, the future events that I don’t even know about yet. The Lord has them all taken care of already.

There may be high things, like walls or barriers, that I don’t think I can get through. Or, there might be deep mysteries beyond my limited understanding. The bottom line is that there is no thing, creature, or organization that can keep God’s love and grace from reaching me.

That’s the joy of being an over-victor. It’s all manifest by our intimate times spent with the Holy Spirit.

Question: What are some areas of victory that you’ve experienced lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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The Law is not Your Friend

The Law is not Your Friend

We’re continuing our study through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. We’re looking at the example of a marriage in talking about our being set free from the law, sin, and death.

We are told, from this Scripture, that in Christ we died to these things and can now bear fruit to God.

For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death.

Romans 7:5

This verse takes us back to when we were in the flesh. Paul now introduces this new concept. He uses the phrase, in the flesh, translated controlled by the sinful nature. He first used this term in Romans 6:19. But now he’s giving us some added details..

Remember that the flesh is the nature and will of the body. Paul told us, in chapter 6, that our major weakness is in our flesh. This is important for us to understand.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Galatians 2:20

In this verse, Paul literally says that I am crucified in Christ, yet I live in the flesh. This may sound like a paradox.

By faith, our flesh is crucified in Christ. This is the key point. Even though my flesh is crucified, I run into problems when I try to crucify only a part of it.

The devil wants you to concentrate on a small piece of the flesh. God wants the whole thing – that’s where your victory comes from so that you can live by faith in Him.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.

2 Corinthians 10:3

The original text of this verse reads that we walk in the flesh. It tells us that though we walk in the flesh, we don’t strategize according to flesh. That’s because the flesh doesn’t want what God wants.

Looking back to Romans 7:5, we see how this works. The phrase translated, the sinful passions aroused by the law, literally means that the influence of sin was energized or empowered by the law.

The law gave sin all of its power along with the accompanying emotions, pleasure, and guilt. Of course it also included all of the conflict that we experienced.

At that time, the law and sin was our husband, spiritually speaking. This sin planted a seed in us. It was then activated by the law, and produced the fruit of death. (A list of this fruit is found in Galatians 5:19-21)

These are all the things that we look back and say, “How could I have done that?” It’s all rooted in being married to sin and the law. The law said, “Don’t do that.” The flesh responded, “Why not?”

Whenever you say, “I shouldn’t do that,” you’re planting a seed of death in your heart. The key is to stop trying not to do sinful things. Instead, start living by faith in Christ crucified.

But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.

Romans 7:6

Here Christ is telling us that the only way out of prison is to die in Him. So, we died in Christ and now we’re raised in the Spirit. We’ve been resurrected into a new life apart from, freed from the law.

Now we can voluntarily choose to serve a new way, in the spirit. We no longer have to serve in the old, antiquated way of following a set of rules.

Question: Why does following a set of rules make it impossible to serve God?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2021 in Faith, Legalism, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

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Our Victory is in Christ

Now that we’ve seen the war against the flesh and the world, we’ll move on to the final battle.  We’re in a war against the spiritual forces of the kingdom of Satan.

As I’ve already written about, the people around us are not the enemy.  They’re prisoners of war in the spiritual battle.  They’re being held captive by the world system under the control of the devil.

It’s up to us, God’s people, to set them free and bring them to the cross.  That’s where they can find true salvation for their souls.

In order for that to happen, there are some things that we need to understand.  We can’t go into this battle with only half the information.

The first thing that we have to realize is that Christ has already won the war.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
Colossians 2:15

Jesus Christ has once and for all won the victory over all the power of the enemy kingdom.  However, that doesn’t mean that the fighting has stopped.

Just like in WWII, when the Axis powers collapsed, the Allied forces had to mop up the remaining troops.  They had to enter the concentration camps and free the surviving prisoners.  That’s where we are in the spiritual war today.

The trouble is that even in defeat, the enemy is dangerous.  He wants as few people as possible to be set free by the knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just how do we thwart the devil’s plans?  The Lord already took care of this.  Look at what Christ said to His followers.

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
Luke 10:19

The same power over the enemy that the Lord walked in has been conferred upon us.  We have authority over the enemy’s kingdom.  Of course, the devil would like that to remain a carefully guarded secret.

As long as we look to the future for our victory, we’ll never see the enemy kingdom back down.  We must learn to walk in the authority of Christ that we’ve already been given.

We need to see a God’s-eye-view of the spiritual war.

“…I will build my church, and the gates of Hades [Hell] will not overcome it.”
Matthew 16:18b

We have to come to the realization that the gates of Hell don’t move.  They don’t attack the church.  These gates are fixed around what the enemy already possesses and he’s trying to keep hold of.

The gates of Hell are around our centers of education.  They surround our political systems.  They’re also around our entertainment industry.

What we need to see is that it’s not an insurmountable obstacle.  The gates of Hell – all the power of the enemy – cannot withstand an attack by God’s people walking in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Too often we try to infiltrate these areas of society using the rules of the world.  That’s why we only achieve limited success.  We need to learn to take this battle into the spiritual realm.

I’m going to take a few posts to talk about what God has given us in order to walk in the victory that Christ has already won for us.

Question: What are the spiritual battles that you’re facing right now?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Fight or Flight

We’ve been looking at Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane just before His trial.  Now, He’s about to be arrested.  You may want to read Mark 14:42-51 before continuing with the rest of this article.

The Lord knew that His captors were approaching.  He woke up His disciples and went to meet the officials.  It’s interesting to see how the disciples reacted.

Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
Mark 14:47

We know from the other Gospels that this verse is referring to Peter.  A fisherman wielding a sword.  I’m surprised that he didn’t hurt himself!  The best he could do was to cut the ear off of an unarmed servant.

When the other disciples saw the futility of resisting, they all ran away.  One of them, when he was grabbed, left without any clothing.  It was the normal, human fight or flight reaction.

The Lord knew where He was headed.  He was looking forward to the victory He was going to accomplish on the cross.  So, instead, I want to talk about what was happening with the disciples.

What they did was the normal reaction that’s built into all of us.  When we see trouble coming, our entire being begins to prepare to either fight or run away.  God placed that in our DNA in order for us to protect ourselves in emergency situations.

The problem is that there’s a spiritual side that many of us fail to grasp.  In the spiritual battles that we face, there are times that we need to apply the lessons of “fight or flight”.

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Ephesians 6:13

I think Scripture is clear that the first choice is to stand your ground.  We need to prepare ourselves spiritually so that we don’t fall back into our old ways.  If you’re strong in the Lord and understand your place in Christ, then stand and fight that spiritual battle.

But what about those who aren’t in that position?  They’ve tried to fight the enemy and merely “cut off a servant’s ear”.  They haven’t put on their holy armor.

Many believers find themselves in spiritual struggles with no hope of victory.  They’ve resigned themselves to falling backward for the rest of their lives.  There is another choice.

Look at what Paul advised a young pastor who he was mentoring.

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22

Some of the worst problems we face are when the old man tries to reassert itself.  The sins that we thought were long gone are suddenly calling to us again.

This is especially true of addictive sins.  Drug, alcohol, and sexual addictions are a few areas that never seem to let up on their assaults.  What do you do if your spiritual strength is not enough to overcome?  Should you just give in?  Absolutely not!

There is a time to flee.  Get out of the situation that’s causing the temptation.  You must leave the environment that weakens your defenses.  There’s nothing shameful about a strategic retreat.  It gives you the ability to strengthen your position for the next battle.

Question: When have you needed to flee from an overpowering situation?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 

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