The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Christian believers in Rome is widely regarded as his most complete summary of the gospel he preached and taught wherever he travelled. In the first chapter of his letter, he tells the Roman believers that he longs to preach that gospel to them in person, and then, as though he can’t wait until he sees them face to face, proceeds to do just that in the rest of his letter.
It takes until Chapter 8 to reach the mountain top of the glorious freedom from condemnation and sin’s bondage that the gospel offers, but to get to that mountain top, Paul starts in the valley of mankind’s lost condition back in Chapter 1. There he describes the downward slide into sin that began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve succumbed to the serpent’s temptation and lies.
Our verse for today from that chapter describes in one sentence the essence of sin - exchanging the truth about God for a lie. Satan had openly questioned God’s love for Adam and Eve and accused Him of withholding the best from them.
Over thirty years ago, God graciously brought me to a turning point in my life and a place of repentance and surrender to the Lordship of Jesus. In that surrender, I finally exchanged the lies I had believed for so long about my identity, and the life I was living as a result of those lies, for the truth of what God said about me. Receiving such grace and mercy marked the beginning of a journey I’ve been on since, embracing God’s truth instead of the many lies I had accumulated in my life before I knew Him. It’s not an easy path, but it’s one that leads to true freedom, healing, and heaven.
It's the promise of Jesus for every born-again child of God that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth (John 16:13). That truth isn’t just intellectual knowledge and facts but a deeper and deeper relationship with Jesus Himself who is the Truth. Through His Word we find wisdom and comfort in our trials, and light that exposes lies that are hindering or controlling our lives.
Whatever lies have found a place in our minds or hearts, God’s word, the sword of the Spirit can reach them and break their hold on us. As I’m writing, I’m thinking of that same lie whispered by Satan in the Garden of Eden that even the most sincere Christian can struggle with, ‘God doesn’t love you!’. Circumstances, personal failure, and all kinds of negative influences and experiences in our present and past can seem to shout agreement with that lie, but they are all contradicted by this truth, that ‘God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8, ESV)’.
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