Tag Archives: Christ Jesus

Potential AND Limitations

Romans 8:1 Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.  3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. NASB

It’s a sad truth that many Christians have looked at God’s acceptance of their apology as little more than a release from guilt.  There is a difference between knowing you’re forgiven and “no condemnation.”  It’s the difference John Piper points out in this quote: “our apprenticeship to Jesus is living into both our potential and our limitations.”

Even forgiven believers struggle to accept the potential God has created in them because there are obvious limitations that condemn us; the ”shoulds.”  The “Shoulds” are “the law of sin and of death” that “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus” has overcome.   We have incorrectly separated our potential from our limitations rather than celebrating that God has a plan to weave a life for us that includes potential AND  limitations.

Nothing is more powerful than the realization that careless. broken and sinful people can be forgiven AND that Jesus has a plan to redeem our potential AND limitations as part of the perfect life He’s creating for us right here and now.  Can you believe that?  It’s true!

Read what the Apostle Paul wrote in Second Corinthians 12:10 “For when I am weak, then I am strong…”  Click the image to enlarge it. It’s a visual object lesson.   God has lined up those secured vertical strands of His promises to be like the years of our life.  Our choices sometimes fall under the promises and sometimes skip right over the top of them.  The Lord has chosen to weave those “+” and “-“ choices of our life into a fabric that completes His life in us.  Potential AND limitations woven together “so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit;” confident that we are part of His perfect design.  “Therefore there is now no condemnation at all for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Second Chance: 2 Timothy 2

√ Re·new·al: the replacing or repair of something that is worn out, run-down, or broken 

2 Timothy 2 [NIV]
1 You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others…4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this…25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…

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Renewal is the application of “the grace that is in Christ Jesus” that fills the void sins once occupied in us.  What makes renewal real is Jesus’ grace, and our confidence in it.  That’s the only thing that can overcome our limitations.  

Paul knew it was God who’d entrusted him AND his limitations, to be a witness for Him.  He had first-hand experience of the power of Jesus to change even the most undeserving opponent, despite their limitations.  Isn’t that an interesting thought?  God knows how to teach us to use what we wish he would just take away.  

This is my grand finale for all of us today.  I want our confidence to be in God’s power and the grace of Jesus to help us reveal He is the strength we count on despite our obvious limitations.   Then we can we be His reliable witnesses “qualified to teach others… in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth…”  I guess it’s the “takes one to know one” method of witness….and on a personal note, if God can “gently” instruct and continue to change a woman who once said…I’ve changed enough…He can change anyone.