Some items from church this morning:
A. The Bible study went through Romans 8:14-30, which talks about God’s Holy Spirit in the Christian life. The Spirit is God’s life and breath, which is added to our life and breath. Christians used to have a life leading to death, but God has breathed in them and given them new life. There is a continuous conversation occurring between the Holy Spirit and the spirit of believers—which the pastor defined as believers’ life force and breath as human beings, but also as the new person in Christ. The Spirit keeps believers in the faith, deepens their faith, continually enlightens them, and connects them to the Trinity. The Spirit is involved in their prayers, either in that he continually dialogues with their spirit, or in the sense that he prays for them before God when they lack the words. The pastor commented on election. Election is from the Old Testament: God gathers God’s people to be a witness to the nations and to serve him. The purpose of election in Romans 8 is to comfort the believers: believers can go through the brokenness and craziness of life knowing that God is not making things up while going along, for God is working out a story of redemption for believers and creation, and none of the craziness in life can separate believers from the love of God in Christ. Believers belong to God.
B. The pastor referred to an interpretation of Romans 8:17 that distinguishes between being an heir of God and a co-heir with Christ. All believers, according to this interpretation, are heirs to God, but only those who suffer as Christ did are co-heirs with Christ. The pastor disagrees with this interpretation, while saying that the Greek is consistent with it yet does not necessitate it. The pastor also said that believers in Rome likely believed that they were suffering as Christ did. If the world rejected Christ, then it would reject them. The Romans empire was also a place of suffering: political conspiracies, lead pipes poisoning people, and persecution of Christians.
C. The service was about forgiveness. The youth pastor said that, when we hate people for what they have done to us, those people’s deeds are holding us in bondage. The pastor made the same point, while commenting on how people like to keep records. His relatives, for instance, make their decisions about whether to acknowledge others on whether others have acknowledged them. I admit that I am like this, and part of this is showing others that I am a person of value. The thing is, they may neither notice nor care, but this only reinforces that I would rather not have to devote my time to them. As far as bondage goes, is unforgiveness bondage? I would say that the Christian requirement that I forgive, love, and befriend everyone is bondage, as I cannot live up to that. I am at the point where I do not want to forgive. I do, however, want to forget, to cope successfully with bad memories, and to move on. Maybe that is forgiveness; maybe not. What is forgiveness, anyway?