Pathway To Excellence

“Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life”.  Proverbs 4:23

Introduction

It is imperative for God’s elect in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness that constitutes Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection to know that we are not home yet!  While elects want to be delivered from this world, they need to remember that we are living in a world that is under a curse.  As a result of that curse, there is a lot of groaning and turmoil taking place.  In the midst of all that, it is easy to become discouraged and laidback than to be diligent.

However in Romans 8:18-27, Paul teaches the elect that the pathway to excellence is one of diligence.

The word diligence means ‘to be characterized by steady, earnest and energetic activity.’ 

It is the opposite of mediocrity.  Paul shares with us three arenas of life where there is diligence in the midst of a devastated world to attain pathway to excellence in Christ.

1. The Creation Groans vs 19-22

The word ‘groan’ means to sigh.  It has the idea of one groaning under a burden.  This is the image used to describe creation.

a. Creation’s experience vs 20 – creation came under curse not by its own doing but because of the sin of Adam.  Gen 3:17-19   Adam chose to walk in rebellion to the command of God and all of creation was thrown under a curse.

b. Creation’s expression vs 22 – it depicts as sighing or writhing like a woman in the throes of childbirth. The results of that curse are plain to be seen such as earthquakes, thorns, deadly animals, poisonous snakes, death and violence.

c. Creation’s expectation vs 19-22  –  it tells us that creation itself expects  to  be delivered from the curse that has been placed upon it.  Creation  yearns  for that  time when  it  will  in fact be delivered from ravages of the curse of sin.

2. The Christian Groans vs 23-25

These verses describes how elects are groaning to be free from their sinful bodies.  Rom 7:24   Elects long to be remade into the image of the Savior.  This is the heart of every born again saints of God.

a. The Christian agony – along with creation, the elect groans to be free from this mortal and sinful body.  Paul mentions the ‘first fruit of the Spirit.’  This refers to  the indwelling ministry of the Spirit of God in the elect’s life.  When elects got saved, the Spirit moved into our spirit.  1 Cor 12:13; Rom 8:9    The Holy Spirit produces within the elect  a  sense  of longing.  Elects  want to be delivered from the sinful mortal bodies. Regardless of what anyone tells us, our flesh did not get saved!  It is depraved and wicked as it had ever been.  Rom 7:18-25.

b. The Christians anticipation –  Paul tells us that we are saved by ‘hope.’   What does he mean?  Hope in the Bible has a vastly different meaning than it does in our world today.  When Bible use the word ‘hope’  it means an assurance based on a conviction.  Instead of hope being a fond wish or desire, biblical hope is a deep settled knowledge grounded in the promises of God.  We are saved by faith in the Gospel of God’s Righteousness  that comprises Jesus’ baptism, death and resurrection.  It is the only faith that one day our Lord will come for us and take us home.  1 Cor 15:49-55

3. The Comforter Groans vs 26-27

These verses go on to tell us that it isn’t the creation and the Christians who are groaning in this present world.  Our Heavenly Comforter, the blessed Holy Spirit, also groans with us.  We are glad to have One with us Who is able to experience our needs,  Heb 4:15

a. The Comforter sustains vs 26a   –  this verse teaches us that the Holy Spirit comes alongside of us as we travel through this harsh world and ‘takes hold of our burden.’  What burden?    The burden of living in the weak, sinful and morally defiled bodies!  The Holy Spirit knows our tendency toward evil and He helps us.  The Holy Spirit knows that we are prone to wander and He helps us.  The Holy Spirit knows that we often grow weary in wellbeing and He helps us.  It is only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit working in us to help us that we are even able to do anything that could be called good.  We are weak in the flesh but the Holy Spirit strengthens us so that we are able by His help to carry on for the glory of God.

b. The Comforter speaks – to illustrate his point, Paul appeals to the arena of prayer.  It is because of our sins and our propensity for evil, we are not able to pray in a manner that is absolutely consistent with the perfect will of God.  However, the Holy Spirit, Who is God, knows the will of God and He knows what is in our redeemed spirit.  He takes our prayers which are often flawed and misguided and straightens them out and tells the Father what is really in our hearts.

Conclusion

Whoever said the walk of faith was an easy walk lied.  However, I will say that even though it isn’t always easy, it is never impossible.  We have the Spirit of God within us Who leads us to the pathway of excellence if we remain diligent and committed.

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