Victorious Living -1, from the book of Romans by Rev. Shine. P Thomas
What is Victorious Living?
The book Romans Teaches us Something important,
Life is a journey that has its own share of joys and sorrows. We deal with stress at work, challenges in the family. We live in a world today which is a very difficult world, but Jesus changed my world and that is what the gospel is all about.
Some of you may be asking, “What is the gospel? What do you mean by salvation, being saved, born again?” The book of Romans teaches us that. The word gospel simply means the good news. Now the very term good news presupposes that there is an alternative. There is the bad news. The gospel, the good news came in the context of the bad news.
I. The Bad News
1. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. There is none righteous. No not one the Bible says.
2. The wages of sin is death
For the wages of sin is death. The Bible says it is appointed once to man to die. We will not see anyone who can live long in this life. The Bible tells us that it is not only appointed unto man once to die but after this the judgment. So there is the bad news. We are all sinners. We all have to pay for that.
II. The Gospel is the Good News
The gospel presents the alternative, there is good news. While the wages of sin is death:
For the wages of sin is death; the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. You do not have to earn it. It is a gift of God; it is earned for you by Jesus Christ. If you will believe on him, receive Jesus, that gift of salvation (forgiveness of sins, being saved from your sins and the wages of your sins) is yours.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
The gospel of John tells us
For God so loved the world (you) that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus Christ), that whoever (anyone) believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. You do not have to pay those wages, judgement after death, but can have everlasting life.
The book of Romans is all about the gospel. But then most of you here listening to me here are already saved and baptized. What now? How is it that we ought to be living in this world? The book of Romans which teaches us on salvation also has some practical application on how to live victorious lives after salvation.
I beseech you therefore, (Therefore in light of all the good news of the gospel I beseech you) brethren, (you have been saved, you are brothers and sisters in Christ) by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
1. Present ourselves to God
So now that we have been born again, our sins forgiven; how are we to live in this world? First of all by presenting our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.
Under the Old Covenant, God accepted the sacrifices of animals. But because of Jesus’ ultimate, once-for-all-time sacrifice on the cross, the Old Testament sacrifices became obsolete. For those who are in Christ the only acceptable worship is to present ourselves holy to the Lord.
How do you present yourself holy to God? Present your bodies holy. Keep yourself holy from the world’s pattern.
1 John 2:16
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
In Romans 7, Apostle Paul talked about that terrific struggle in these areas. Everyone struggles with this. as a believer which went on in his body on a daily basis. It is the struggle that went on between the flesh and the spirit. Paul said he often found himself doing things that he is not supposed to do and he did not want to do, but he did them. Then he often found himself not doing things that he knew he ought to do and he wanted to do and somehow he found himself not doing them. In that great struggle between the flesh and the spirit of God, he ended by saying:
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body (the flesh) that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So who can help us overcome our flesh, our passions and lust of this world? Only Jesus Christ can. I have heard many believers who say, “Lord I have tried that so many times. I have even gone forward in church services and prayed, and i have been counselled in this regard, but I keep on falling short of the glory of God. Now I feel guilty and i don’t think i can make it. So what do I do? Shall I back off? No. This is where we need to keep presenting ourselves to God. Jesus Christ can surely deliver us. Don’t back off even if you are defeated in your flesh today.
Remember our salvation is not a matter of works.
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—9not by works, so that no one can boast.
We did not deserve it, we were lost sinners and Jesus died for us and we just believed on him and he saved us. So we ought to walk the Christian walk the same way. The work of grace in our lives is the work of God.
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you (at salvation) will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
God will work in your life. But how can God work unless we present ourselves to him on a regular basis?
This is our prayer life. If you never meet with God and never present yourself to him and ask him to take charge of your life every day, how can you expect to have victory over the flesh, the body? But if we present that body to Christ, he is the one who works within us to accomplish his will in us. That is our reasonable service.
He saved you didn’t he? Don’t you think it is reasonable that you present yourself to him every day and ask him to have his way in your body, in you. It is reasonable service. Spend time with God in prayer. Let God do what he wishes, but I just present myself to him on a regular basis.
This is talking about our prayer life, coming to church on Sunday, using every opportunity to pray individually, together as a family, and also coming corporately and presenting before God.
2. Be transformed, not conformed
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Conformed – Being similar to the world, being in harmony with the world’s rules, standards, living, and habits.
Transformed – Change in form, nature, and appearance.
Believers are not supposed to be conformed to that world either in appearance or in substance. We are not to be like the world, we have been saved out of the world.
As believers we are not to be conformed to this world. I am so concerned because we live in a pagan world today and I see so many Christians who look like the pagan world – In dressing, appearance, in habits and living. You may say that is surface but it speaks of something deeper within the heart, issues of one’s heart. It speaks of a perhaps a shallowness, perhaps an insensitivity to the spiritual things of God. So we need to be careful about these kinds of things, we certainly ought not to be engaged in many of the very wicked practices of the world. Such as practice of abortion, piercing, tattooing, immorality, immodesty etc.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed….
We are supposed to be looking and behaving like those new believers which we are in Christ. You say, “How can we do that with all the pressures of the world? We are so surrounded with it. It comes in through the ears, eyes, internet, music, billboards, newspaper, we are surrounded with it. How can a person not be conformed? How can we be transformed?
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Transformation happens from the inside out; it is not the outside in. It is something which is to come from a renewed mind – that transforms us. Dear friend may I pose this practical question for you? How is your mind going to be renewed unless you are taking something into your mind which will renew it? I am speaking of God’s word, this book. How can we ever expect to be transformed through a renewed mind if we never read, if we never think on the things that God tells us, if our minds never go to God?
Now let me ask you a question? How consistent were you in the last seven days in reading the Bible? Was it just a little snatch somewhere or was it something that you consistently practiced in the last seven days on a daily basis where you took some time out of your activities to take in a little of the renewing of your mind so that your life would become transformed instead of conformed to this world?
You see theology is very practical and there are things that we can do that God has laid out for us which will help us to grow in him as we ought to. So we are to present ourselves to God, we are to be transformed, not conformed.
This transformed mind produces the following qualities in the believer:
3. Think of ourselves with honest humility
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
…honour one another above yourselves.
Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. (Excessively proud of oneself).
4For just as each of us has one body with many members (hands, feet, eyes, ears), and these members do not all have the same function, 5so in Christ we, though many (many believers), form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
So we are to not think highly about ourselves but think soberly about ourselves. We are not to be wise in your own opinion. Not to be full of ourselves. We are to think of ourselves with honest humility and prefer others in our relationships.
How is it in your life? Do you look out for others? Are you always pushing yourself forward? This is how we are to live, now that we are born again, now that we are new creatures in Christ.
We are to:
4. Stay focused
6We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;7if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; …….. do it cheerfully.
We are to stay focused. We are to do whatever God has gifted us, whatever role he has given us in the home and society. What is it God has gifted you to do in life? Maybe it is singing, giving more than others, helping, serving, teaching, leadership, payer ministry? Are you doing justice to the gift given to you? If not, if you are too busy and have no time to exercise these gifts either in the church or outside in the harvest field. If we always have excuses for God’s work, it just means we are not focused in our Christian life.
Give Your Best While you are Focused
Now the Bible also wants us to stay focused in our secular life. Maybe you are a teacher, a doctor, an accountant, or a software professional. God wants us to stay focused. Give your best to God and be a good example.
May be you would say I am nobody, I am just a housewife. Do not say that. Your life there in the home touches lives with the permanence that cannot be accomplished in any other what. What about your children as you raise them for the Lord? What about your husband as you support him and help him, and correct him? There is not a husband here who at sometime during life if his wife walks with God will be saved from a bad mistake in life before God if his wife carries out her ministry to her husband as she ought to. Oh housewives! What is it that God has given you to do? Ok stay, focused. Do that. Do it with diligence, do it carefully.
Perhaps you are old and say I cannot do anything. Oh you can, you can pray, you can pray for the missionaries, preachers, little children, the world. You can give a smile to the people around you; you never know what your smile can do to others.
Wherever you are, whatever God has given you to do, stay focused.
5. Have a cheerful and generous spirit
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love. Be nice to each other, smile when you see others, be kindly affectionate one to another.
12Rejoicing in hope, (be cheerful, at no point we are a failure, we are more than conquerors, so always have hope in your life), patient in tribulation, (tribulation comes, pain may come, you may have testing time but be patient), continuing steadfastly in prayer; (instant in pray, you pray just as the pull of the trigger. It does not mean that you go around praying audibly all the time, not close your eyes when you are driving at 80 k/h don’t do that. But be instant in prayer. Make your heart a heart of prayer) 13distributing to the needs of the saints, (you should be a giving person) given to hospitality.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. We are to have a spirit that is cheerful and generous.
Be generous not only in helps and money but in your patience and tolerance to others.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
Bless then which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
6. Be honest
Provide things honest in sight of all men.
As God’s people always speak the truth. If people see or hear even a single lie, they will never trust you about anything. So we ought to speak the truth 100% of the time.
Victorious Living Needs a Transformation
Let’s commit ourselves to present ourselves to God and be renewed in our mind by reading his word on a daily basis, so that we become transformed and live a victorious lives as the days go by.