We live just down the road from a local volunteer fire station, so we hear the fire siren quite regularly. If my dog is outside when the siren goes off, my dog will start howling. I don’t know why he doesn’t howl inside. Only outside. But here’s the thing. He cannot control the howling. When the siren goes off, if he is outside, it is as though something inside him has to come out. It’s actually a bit freaky and hilarious at the same time. He almost vomits. His instinct to howl is so powerful within him that there have even been a couple times when we were in the middle of a run, the siren went off, and even mid-run, he started howling.
My dog’s howling taught me something about how God wants to change the world.
All week long we’ve been studying the hope the God has made available for the separated and the condemned. In the previous post, I mentioned that Jesus’ crucifixion holds out amazing promise for us. While the significance of Jesus’ crucifixion is astounding, and I encourage you to read the previous post first if you haven’t already, there’s so much more to the story. As we conclude our study this week of Romans 8, in verse 34 Paul mentions Jesus, “who died—more than that, who was raised to life.”
Jesus defeated death. He defeated evil and powers of darkness. He didn’t stay dead. By the amazing miracle of the resurrection, he rose again. What’s more, Jesus was first of many who would come after him and rise again. He won the victory, and he invites us to have victory with him.
But what does that mean? What is the significance of the resurrection and Jesus winning the victory over sin, death and the devil? How can we experience his victory?
Paul explains more just a few pages later in Romans 10:9,10, when he writes, “if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
What Paul is talking about is the kind of belief that leads to action, to a changed life. He is not talking about beliefs in our minds. He is not talking about opinions that can change. Instead, we show what we believe by our actions. True believers of Jesus, Paul says, will make Jesus Lord of their lives. When you make him Lord of your life, you allow Jesus to guide you and you follow his way of life. You do what he did. Your life will be filled with his Spirit, and the good qualities and actions of his Spirit will flow freely out of your life. We are going to study those Spirit qualities starting next week. They are called the Fruit of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. Nine qualities that should be obvious and abundant in the life of Christians. One week per fruit of the Spirit.
Imagine a world where more and more people can’t help but have the good things of God flowing from their lives! That is the abundant life.
But the salvation that God invites us to is also the hope of eternal life. When we believe with genuine life transformational belief, we have the hope that when we die we will be with God in heaven.
When we believe in the resurrection, when we live the way of Jesus, we are saved, and there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love.
Is that abundant life the story of your life?
Do you have the promise of eternal life?
Or are you perhaps feeling separated from the love of God?
Today is the day. Easter reminds us that we never need to be separated from God. In this life, and in the life to come.
Please comment below if you’d like to talk about it further!