The Kingdom of God

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The Kingdom of God is not based on legalism. Accept the peace, joy and freedom that comes from living through the Holy Spirit.

Today’s Reading: Romans 14

Key Verse: Romans 14:17

for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

What contrast: the kingdom of man and the Kingdom of God. Man is impressed by great buildings, pomp and circumstance. God is impressed by humble people who worship Him. The emphasis in today’s reading is about food in Rome. Almost all the meat and vegetables sold in the markets had been presented to the gods as a sacrifice. This offended the consciences, particularly of Jews (remember the dietary laws we read about in Leviticus). Many new believers in Jesus who started off in peace and joy have had their freedom withered away by legalism. Paul deals with this issue in several of his letters, notably Galatians. Here, in Romans, he raises the same issue and warns believers against being bound up in rules about appropriate food and drink. While the legalist may strive for righteousness, he or she will never achieve it. This matter caused Paul to take a stand against Peter (Galatians 2:11-21). Paul declared that Christ died in vain if righteousness comes through the Law.

PRAYER FOR TODAY:

Lord God, I’m learning that holy living comes through Your Holy Spirit living within me, not from keeping religious rules and regulations, not eating certain foods, etc. Please fill me up more and more with peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. By faith I am truly free to be a faithful follower of Jesus in Your Kingdom! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen!

100 PERSONAL WORDS:

I don’t believe that when Peter and Paul disagreed they considered forming a separate religious denomination. As a teenager, I saw the once mighty soul-winning “Holiness Movement” almost destroyed by legalism (e.g. a certain way of dressing, etc.). Perhaps the “Old Order Mennonites” would be a modern example of outward righteousness. The main body of these precious people have moved away from these restrictions and are a great example of “peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The “holier than thou” attitude produced by my own efforts is a huge turn-off for those people with whom I want to share Jesus. Every morning I open my heart to a new infilling of God’s Word and His Spirit. I live life to the full. What peace! What joy!

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