I find myself in this little box, surrounded by pride, selfishness and unrighteous anger.
I end up here when my heart suddenly drifts away from the grace of the Lord and leans in to the frailty of the human spirit. This box is manmade; which makes the structure and confinement itself, weak. Ultimately then, I have a way out, a way back to Christ-likeness – to humility, to love, and forgiveness. But it doesn’t always feel that simple. More often than not, it feels like it’s slowly closing in on me, like my mind and heart are paralyzed to the sin.
And then enters Jesus.
Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sin is real; but paralysis is an illusion. The book of Romans is a practical teaching of grace to a church needing doctrinal guidance; a rift between Jews and Gentiles and a misunderstanding of who the gospel is for. Paul corrects and encourages his readers that the grace of Jesus Christ is for all nations, all people, and all sinners. So, when we read in this section of scripture that nothing in this world can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus we learn two things:
The little box that sin creates is unmatched to the power and glory of God. It crumbles under His hand and belongs with the enemy in hell – not with a child of God.
We are freed from said confinement because of the love and grace poured out on the cross in and through Christ Jesus. It is through the death and resurrection of the Son that we are able to break through the lies of the enemy, repent, forgive, and love.
These are truths that paint a door inside that little, suffocating box. And it’s unlocked, ready to be walked through to the freedom, forgiveness, and sanctification of the faithful. That’s the key, the faithful. Those that see the door, hear the Father’s voice and run towards it no matter how deep they think they are – the blood of the cross already went to the depths of sin and conquered that space.
But, I’d be naive to think there aren’t moments that the door seems so far away. That our weary souls weight on the mind to the point of blurry vision. What then? Do we suffocate in the box of our sin? By no means! Sometimes we need a brother or sister to open the door for us and let the light in. Let the light break through the darkness and show us the way.
My friends, this is one of the many ways God has tangibly placed guidance and support in the midst of this fallen world – community. This, the opening of the door, exhorting and admonishing in the name of Jesus is why a covenantal relationship with a church is foundational to our faithful walk with the Lord. He knows we need physical love, teaching and aid. The church is here for that. Our brothers and sisters are here for that. In the moments our mind and heart are heavy with sin, frustration, selfishness, etc. we need a sister to remind us “that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
I’m sitting here today in a little box of selfishness and see my husband holding open the door to forgiveness. Despite my words towards him, despite my pride and control he is standing there with his hand stretched out, ready to help me back to the fold of grace, reminding me that this box of sin is no place for a child of God. A child beloved, hand picked, and forgiven belongs in the light, where unconditional love redeems our brokenness and restores our weary spirit. There is nothing that can separate us from that truth, so let us stand up, and run to the open door.
Resources for finding a solid, gospel-centered church: