So now, those who are in Christ Jesus are not judged guilty. Through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free from the law that brings sin and death. The law was without power, because the law was made weak by our sinful selves. But God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son to earth with the same human life that others use for sin. By sending his Son to be an offering for sin, God used a human life to destroy sin. He did this so that we could be the kind of people the law correctly wants us to be. Now we do not live following our sinful selves, but we live following the Spirit. Romans 8:1-4 (NCV)
One thing that has made an impression on me during this football season is witnessing bits and pieces of Ray Lewis’ faith. Whether you are a Raven’s fan or not, whether you are happy Ray is retiring or sad to see him go, he is a living example of God’s grace for all.
The success of the Ravens this season caused a bit of an uproar in my family’s house. Not because we are a family divided, but because of a hatred of the Baltimore team that is circulating within the social media and among fans of different teams.
Over the past few weeks, since the Ravens played through the post-season, since they won the Super Bowl, and especially since Ray Lewis announced his retirement, I have heard over and over the judgments of others. I am not talking about fans opinions about how games are played and won, but assessments of character and moral conduct based not in the present, but in the past.
We have all been in positions in our lives where we have fallen short of the glory of God. We have all sinned. We have all walk a less than perfect walk. And, we have all been offered a gift, called grace, in the form of a loving Savior who came to earth, who died for our sins, and who lives again forevermore.
Sometimes our circumstances put us in positions where we have to make choices: do we turn away from God or turn toward Him? Do we take things into our own hands or seek the mercy of a loving Father?
When we turn toward God and run into our Father’s arms, we choose a new life, to be reborn. We choose to live in freedom. We choose to live in the spirit and let Holy Spirit live in us. We choose a gift that is not deserved, but is freely given.
The moment we believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord our world changes and perspectives and paradigms shift. What we were accused of is absolved. The punishment sought out by others is paid by Christ on the cross. The enemy is defeated in our life and we are triumphant because of everlasting love.
But in all these things we are completely victorious through God who showed his love for us. Yes, I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor ruling spirits, nothing now, nothing in the future, no powers, nothing above us, nothing below us, nor anything else in the whole world will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39 (NCV)
I am so grateful that God has given me the opportunity to be free: from sin and from religious legalism. I am grateful that He lifted me out of my depravity. I am grateful that He redeemed me and called me His. I am grateful that God is for me, so that nothing can defeat me (Romans 8:31). I am grateful for the joy of my salvation. I am grateful that I will be judged in mercy.
Yesappa, I ask You to do the impossible in my life. Make me a woman after Your own heart. Help me run more and more after You. Fill me with Your love that I may be an outpouring of You into the world, another example of Your gift of grace. Be with me always and forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.