January 31, 2018

Perfectly out of Control

Romans 2:12–14

Cliff Aldredge
Wednesday's Devo

January 31, 2018

Wednesday's Devo

January 31, 2018

Central Truth

The law is the list of ceremonial and moral commands given in the first five books of the Bible. Ignorance of the law is no excuse; sin under the law has consequences. We’re all sinners without hope. Jesus is the perfect way out of chaos and control and into freedom.

Romans 2:12–14

God's Judgment and the Law

12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.

Dive Deeper | Romans 2:12–14

Have you ever done anything really, really wrong?

Let’s pretend you got caught and know you are guilty of a very serious crime.

You can represent yourself, but your only strategies are to claim you didn’t know any better or admit guilt and accept the consequences.

An attorney is willing to take your case. He is the favorite son of the judge you’re up against, and he has a perfect record.

Those are our options. We can perish apart from the law (claim ignorance), be judged by the law (accept the consequences), or place our faith in the Son with the perfect record who can justify us with the Judge. Being justified means that we are not liable for the consequences of our sin under the law.

To be justified, we must admit we need His help, believe in the work He performed and confess that we are guilty.  

The story doesn’t begin, however, when I know I need help.

When I’ve just blown it, I choose to represent myself with doomed strategies:

  • Self-justification: minimizing my offense or making my own law;
  • Performance: trying to offset my offense and earn my way to righteousness;
  • Rationalization: blaming circumstance or others;
  • Self-righteousness: finding people who are worse to make myself feel better.

I also wrongly hope that I don’t get caught. When I get away with it, my heart rots even further. Getting caught is God’s grace. Secrets make you sick. Life is found in the light, and confession leads to forgiveness and healing.

We can be out of the law’s control by being ignorant or rejecting it, which leads to chaos and disorder. Or we can be under the law’s control but subject to its consequences, and there is no hope.

The good news is that there is life available under the law in God’s order and design but out of the control of the law's consequences by admitting guilt and taking refuge in a relationship with the Judge’s Son.

We can move perfectly out of control and into true freedom by admitting defeat and pursuing relationship.

This month's memory verse

Peace with God Through Faith

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

– Romans 5:1

Discussion Questions

1. What area of your life do you need to strive to be a has-been? What’s your plan to be more of a has-been today than yesterday? Pick one thing, and do it. Build some obedience momentum over time.

2. Something is going to rule over you, and those who are truly free have selected the best master. Freedom is not found in independence but through correct dependence. Do you know what the master of your heart is today? Ask two people who know you well what is mastering your heart.

3. When you feel guilty, what’s your go-to reaction? Maybe you’re an awesome blame-stormer, good at hiding it, or are just explosive with anger. Perhaps you direct anger inwardly, and you feel like you punish yourself enough to pay for your sin. Whom do you have in your life to help you recognize and deal with unhealthy response patterns?

4. Do you realize that it’s better to be caught than to continue in sin? If so, when is the last time you practiced confession (allowing yourself to be caught)? The best time to practice confession is today. Pray to God and confess so you can be forgiven, and confess to others who love you and love Jesus so that they can pray for you to be healed (see James 5:16).

5. Chaos and disorder are the result of someone living outside of the law. Shame, guilt, and hopelessness are found under the law’s consequence. A regeneration of the heart and a desire to follow the perfect law that leads to freedom is the testimony of those who have trusted Jesus, who completely fulfilled the law and offers us His performance for our devotion. What holds you back from living in the freedom offered to us?