Paul was more than just encouraging his fellow Believers here…he was beseeching and imploring them to take that decisive and dedicated step called sanctification. Why? When we first become a Christian we tend to hold on to parts of us that are comfortable, easy, or allow us to cope. But as we journey along with the Lord, He starts to demand we separate ourselves from those things. This process can be painful, but necessary for us to fully become God’s. Holiness or sanctification is being totally His…with nothing withheld…and Paul recognized that this was not only God’s Will but the very least thing we could do in view of the Lord’s sacrifice for us. (I Corinthians 6:20)
I have this Scripture on a beautiful plaque in my bathroom. And as I was getting ready this morning, I glanced up and there it was…like a beacon of truth, light, and hope. It was a wonderful reminder that I don’t have to do this thing called life all by myself. In I Timothy 1:12 it says that the Lord stands by my side and gives me strength…strength in all situations. This strength He gives me is much more than just bearing and suffering through a trial. The strength God gives, enables me to effectively handle with grace and patience all things that come into my life. For it’s only through Him, I can cope with all things for His glory.
Left on our own, the human thought process is very self-centered. We’re always looking out for ourselves, our comfort, and well-being before thinking of others. This self-indulgent reasoning though separates us from God’s love. But where we were once an enemy of God, we can now be reconciled to Him through the death of His Son Jesus. (Romans 5:10) Once we were foes of God, but now we’re friends…once we were alienated, but now united by His Son, Jesus.
Earlier in this chapter Paul asks the question, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:35) His answer here is – no one or thing can possibly come between us and Jesus. No rule or force of man…no point in time…no act of good or evil can ever cut the tie we have with our Lord. The bottom line is, there is nothing in creation that can keep us apart from God…for the entirety of creation is under His authority.
We look at the chaos today and we think the world is totally out of control. But Proverbs 21:1 reminds us, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord; He directs it like a watercourse wherever He pleases.” Pharaoh foolishly thought he was the most powerful man in the world…arrogantly thinking that no one could usurp his authority. But Pharaoh wasn’t aware that the Lord was directing him and that he was just a pawn in God’s bigger picture. For God tells Moses in Exodus 7:3, “But I will harden Pharaoh’s heart…” And in Romans 9: 17 Paul goes on to explain, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: ‘ I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ ” So as we see the turmoil around us, we need to remember that the mighty hand of the Lord hasn’t changed…He still rules and reigns over all…He’s still in control.
Job recognized and understood that the plans and purposes of the Lord couldn’t be stopped. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus made the statement that, “with God all things are possible.” This wasn’t a qualifying statement. Rather, when He said all, He meant all. Oh that we could have the same kind of discernment that Job had…the same kind of boldness, that when God says all things are possible, we know He means it. For God is a promise-making God…but more importantly, He’s a promise fulfilling God.