“There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” 8:1-2
This is the gospel. We are not sentenced to death anymore. We are not slaves to our sin. We are free, because Jesus paid our debt and his Spirit lives in us, “helping us in our weakness” (8:26).
Salvation is past, present and future. We were saved eternally when Jesus died for our sins. We are currently, every day, being sanctified. And yet, we are still waiting for the day Christ’s new Kingdom is completely established. Living in that tension is weird.
My son has asthma, and for a while, whenever he got a cold, it moved down to his chest and we ended up in the hospital. After several visits to the ER and an overnight stay in the hospital, our doctor provided us with several inhalers and liquid steroid medicine to administer to him on our own to keep us out of the ER. Last night, his breathing started getting tight and we reached for the medicine. However, it takes about 9 hours for the first dose of steroids to kick in. He swallowed the cherry flavored syrup and we waited. We knew the medicine was in his system, we kept our inhalers in hand and we just waited. We prayed that his breathing would stabilize, the medicine would prevent a severe asthma attack and his airways would open. I laid in bed feeling his chest rise and fall on mine, groaning prayers to God that he would heal his little body. I was confident the medicine would do it’s job, and I had a few ways to troubleshoot his tight breathing in the meanwhile, but the tension of waiting was horrible. (This application is a bit of a stretch, but after a long, sleepless night, writing about it is cathartic so bear with me.)
My relationship with God would not be the same if my son didn’t have asthma. It’s led to some deeply sanctifying moments as I learn to trust God in my parenting. I wouldn’t know or experience his love and grace as deeply if I didn’t battle chronic anxiety. He uses our earthly failing bodies and our internal short-comings for good. Look for this in your life and take note. Where have you seen God work things together for good in your life? This is a beautiful piece of the gospel.
Look ahead with hope. We are not yet perfect, but we are healed. And still healing. Waiting for the medicine to kick in. In the meanwhile, stay eager with hope (8:20-23), ask the Holy Spirit for help in your weaknesses (8:26), and trust that your journey is not in vain, for God is sovereign, using all things to work together for the good of those who love him (8:28).