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God’s Grace Sets Us Free [Awakening Faith]

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Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

We see that death is gain, life is loss. Paul says, “For me life is Christ, and death is gain” (Phil. 1:21). What does “Christ” mean here except to put the flesh to death and receive the breath of life? Let us then die with Christ, to live with Christ. We should have a familiarity with death, a daily desire for it. By this kind of detachment our soul will learn to free itself from the desires of the flesh. Our soul must soar above earthly lusts to a heavenly place and hold fast to the place they cannot come near.

It must take on the likeness of death to avoid the punishment of death. Our fallen nature is at war with our reason and subjects it to sin and error. What is the remedy? “Who will set me free from this body of death? The grace of God, through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Rom. 7:24 – 25).

We have a doctor to heal us — let us use the remedy he prescribes. The remedy is the grace of Christ, the gift of his punished and killed body given to us. So let us be exiles from our own bodies in order to reside in the body of Christ. Though we are still in the body, let us not give ourselves to the things of the body. We must not reject the body’s natural needs, but we must desire the gifts of grace before all else.

--Ambrose

 

Awakening Faith DevotionalAwakening Faith: Daily Devotionals from the Early Church

by James Stuart Bell and Patrick J. Kelly

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