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The long front porch

I once was told we had to understand the intent of words in scripture, such as understanding what the 'therefore' was there for. It is a word that tells us we are about to understand the conclusion of all that has been presented. As a result of something that has been done, enacted, created, etc., we are to understand that what follows is the conclusion of the matter. With that in mind, if we were to read the scripture with an eye on the words that really help us to understand a condition has been met, or that the matter is firmly and finally settled, we might just realize we have no excuse for continuing in fear, despair, or doubt. It would settle our minds and hearts as we come to trust what has already been accomplished on our behalf.

Therefore, now no condemnation awaits those who are living in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King, because when you live in the Anointed One, Jesus, a new law takes effect. The law of the Spirit of life breathes into you and liberates you from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

This particular 'therefore' is there for us to begin to focus anew on the hope we have in Christ Jesus and to stop looking at all the other things we had relied upon, such as our good works, or a pursuit of empty religious rituals. The Apostle Paul has spent a great deal of time helping us to understand the course of mankind, the coming of Christ, and the liberty God provided in the finished work of the Cross and the Resurrection. I like the first seven chapters of the Book of Romans to a 'long front porch' that helps us get to the doorway of what it is we will come into as we reach that end. Grace is that doorway, but in order to understand and fully value grace we need to understand the exact reason we need grace in the first place. Paul tells us of the downward spiral of mankind in choosing their own will over God's, finding ways to dishonor not only God, but themselves in the very actions that are a result of each of us being born with a sin nature.

Grace wouldn't be necessary if mankind could have found a way to liberate themselves from sin and death! A Redeemer wouldn't have been necessary if mankind could have learned to live above the pull of sin deep within us. Grace has always been the entryway - Christ being the one that unlocked the door of grace. Left to our own devices, we'd have wandered around on the 'front porch' of God's goodness and love a long, long time. So, the 'therefore' is there for us to realize we are no longer to be 'porch dwellers', wandering all around grace, trying to find a way to escape our sin nature all on our own. Grace must be embraced, but when it is fully embraced and we pass from self-reliance and self-will into the abundance of grace, we begin to experience the liberation we could never find in our religious pursuits or grand efforts of 'good works'.

Therefore...NOW no condemnation awaits those who are living IN Jesus the Anointed...
There is a definite moment in time where the threshold of grace is passed and we fully enter into the embrace of the liberating freedom that grace brings into our lives. It is important to keep in mind that NOW refers to something that comes without further delay in our lives - it is immediately available to us as we enter into it. What is it that is available as we cross over this threshold of grace? The removal and full release from ALL condemnation that sin brings into our lives past, present, and future! As we living IN Jesus, we are continually renewed by grace and this renewal process continually releases us from the grip of condemnation - whether it comes from others or our own self.

The long front porch prepares us for the entry into the place where we finally find our rest, peace, and eternal hope. There is no better time to enter into that place of liberating grace than NOW. Now suggests a permanence of it always being the right time to seek more and more of God's grace each and every time we need it in our lives. Liberating grace - always renewed - freshly embraced - setting us free from the laws of sin and death. Neither sin, nor death need hold us bound any longer. We are free in Christ Jesus. Let that sink in. You have entered into a new way of living - NOW live as liberated children of the Most High God. Just sayin!

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