The scripture we studied together was Romans 5-6; the theme, "No Longer" was taken from 6:6:
" . . . knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin."The other main verse was Romans 6:14: "For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the law but under grace."
She talked about the differences of living under the law verses living under grace. And let me tell you, my heart was convicted and hungry for change. I wish I could have taken photos of her stage props - they were great visuals. She had a banner on one side that said "Grace" and on the other side of the stage was "Law." She would often walk over to one of them and literally stand "under grace" or "under the law" as she shared examples of both and why we find ourselves often stuck in the middle.
A couple of words she mentioned while standing under the law were "fear" and "anxiety" and if you've been reading my blog this month, you already know those are a few of my issues I need to work on. The thought struck me while Beth was talking, "If I am truly living under grace, I wouldn't experience those things!" I wanted to pause her presentation, make her back up and say it all again. Fear and anxiety are sins -- they are there because you lack faith in God and want to control things yourself. According to Romans 6:6, I am not suppose to be a a slave to sin any longer! Fear and anxiety should not rule over me.
Another interesting point Beth made, relating to the fear of disappointing God or feeling unworthy of his grace was that scripture never says anything about God being disappointed with his people. According to the studies Beth has done (I say that because I haven't verified it myself) the word "disappoint" is only in the bible one time and "disappointed" five. Not one of these six references assigns the word to God. It is always referring to the people (us!) not being disappointed in God if we believe in him! A similar (but very different) word is used to describe God's feelings toward us, and only in reference to when we shrink back from our faith . . . the word is "displeased."
Isn't that a interesting! If we are wanting to walk close to God but fear that we will just disappoint him in the end (because we fall short every time), we're believing a lie! The thing that brings God displeasure (not disappointment) is us falling away from our faith or have a lack of faith. But trying to live by faith will never disappoint Him!
One more illustration I want to share! Please stick with me, I know this is a longer post.
Going back to the theme scripture for the day, Romans 6:6, Beth brings out this life size dummy. She drags him back and forth across the stage illustrating that this is what we often do with our "old dead self." We don't get rid of him, instead, he bring him along like an old friend we can't live without. Bringing up old sinful habits is like giving CPR to the corpse we're dragging around.
"that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with"
The funniest thing she said all day was, "You bring your old dead self to bed, your husband brings his old dead self to bed, and look, now you have a bunch of dead people in your bed!" Or something to that effect.
Our old self is to be done away with. We are no longer slaves to sin. We are to live under grace.
At the end of the day, I just wanted to stand up and shout "Freedom!" Christ has given his very life to set us free from sin. And I often find myself refusing to actually live by that gift of grace. Beth quoted someone during her talk saying, "I know I'm saved by Grace, but to look at my life, you would never know it!" The person had found every aspect of her walk with God, except salvation, was still very much under the law. She wasn't living out of the abundant grace she had been given. That's how I felt . . . well, still feel.
I want to live a life that speaks of this grace. I need to say a loud "No Longer" to a few things!