based on the LGG study, From Broken to Restored, w4d1
Scripture: Nehemiah 8:1-12; Hebrews 4:12 / SOAP: Romans 8:1-2
Let’s take a look at the overview of the passage from Nehemiah in order to fully appreciate the verses we are focusing on in Romans today. In Nehemiah we read:
- All the people were eager to hear the book of the law (3)
- When the book was opened all the people stood up (5)
- When the priest blessed the LORD, all the people replied “Amen! Amen!” with lifted hands (6)
- The people remained standing as they were being taught (7)
- The people gained understanding from what was read (8)
- Keep in mind what was read most likely would have pointed out their sin which, by the law, deserved death
- The people were weeping but those who were reading and teaching the law instructed them not to mourn or weep (9)
- They were reminded that the “joy of the LORD is your strength”
- Again, before they departed, they were reminded “do not grieve”
Fast forward to Paul’s words in Romans 8:1-2, where he announces that there is no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ. Why? What’s different from the weeping and grief we saw in the people of Nehemiah’s day, at the reading of the ‘book of the law’? We find the answer in verse two of Romans eight –
To this we should say, “Amen! and Amen!” with lifted hands, as the people did in the day of Nehemiah. For, this is is the gift of the Gospel message of Jesus Christ – that through Him alone we, who by faith have believed, are set free from the law of sin and death!! We no longer face the condemnation that that law pronounced – because Christ took it for us when He was condemned on the cross in our place. – Why? Because God so loved the world that He gave His only son so that whoever believed in Him would have everlasting life. You see, as John said, “Christ did not come into the world to condemn the world but in order that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:16-17)
As Hebrews 4:12 says, God’s Word is very much alive and active, able to judge the desires and thoughts of the heart – but it also reminds us of the good news of the Gospel – Jesus died to set us free and because of this – those who believe in Christ are made alive and are no longer condemned!
May this be our message to the world around us – in word and in deed.
Making it Personal – Reflection
How do you respond when you read the Word of God? Do you feel guilt and shame, or are you able to repent and accept God’s grace and receive His forgiveness with joy?
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