Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience

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Read Through The New Testament in just 8 weeks with the NLT Bible and Immerse: Messiah
3 ways to get the most out of your experience
  1. Use Immerse: Messiah instead of your regular chapter-and-verse Bible. This special reader’s edition restores the Bible to its natural simplicity and beauty by removing chapter and verse numbers and other historical additions. Letters look like letters, songs look like
    songs, and the original literary structures are visible in each book. 
  2. Commit to making this a community experience. Immerse is designed for groups to encounter large portions of the Bible together
    for 8 weeks—more like a book club, less like a Bible study. By meeting every week in small groups and discussing what you read in open, honest conversations, you and your community can come together to be transformed through an authentic experience with the Scriptures.
  3. Aim to understand the big story. Read through “The Stories and the Story” (p. 483) to see how the books of the Bible work together
    to tell God’s story of his creation’s restoration. As you read through Immerse: Messiah, rather than ask, “How do I fit God into my busy life?” begin asking, “How can I join in God’s great plan by living out my part in his story?”
4 Questions to get your conversations started:
  1. What stood out to you this week?
  2. Was there anything confusing or troubling?
  3. Did anything make you think differently about God?
  4. How might this change the way we live?
Part of NLT Immerse: The Reading Bible, Complete Set, the Winner of the 2022 Christian Book Award for Bible of the Year!
Messiah is the first of six volumes of Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience program. Messiah takes the reader on a new and unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each part of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together combine to provide the reader with enjoyable and impactful readings all centered on Jesus. The end result is a Bible developed for the purpose of being read and understood, not referred to. Messiah is a new way to interact with God’s Word.
Messiah delivers Scripture to the reader as it was originally created: without chapter or verse breaks. While references are made available for ease of finding specific Scripture references, those references do not appear within the actual text of Scripture. This makes for uninterrupted reading of God’s Word. Created with the look and feel of a paperback book, and written using the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, the most readable translation available, Messiah enables you to easily read and understand the Bible.

Currently featured in the Saddleback Church "Anchored Life Challenge." To join the challenge and read through the New Testament in 8 weeks, join at

What is Immerse: Messiah – 8 Week Bible Reading Experience?

Read (and listen!) through the New Testament in 8 weeks with your small group or on your own.

Immerse: Messiah is the first of six volumes in Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience. Messiah takes the reader on a unique journey through every book of the New Testament. Each section of Messiah begins with one of the Gospels, and together they combine to provide a life-changing reading experience centered on Jesus. This fresh arrangement of the books highlights the depth of the New Testament’s fourfold witness to Jesus the Messiah. The Son of God, who fulfills all the longings and promises of the collected Scriptures, can be experienced in Messiah through the rich variety of lenses provided by the books of the new covenant.

The Immerse Bible Series is the proud winner of the prestigious Bible of the Year award from the ECPA Christian Book Awards. Immerse: The Reading Bible is specially crafted for a distraction-free listening and reading experience, helping you dive in and get immersed in Scripture. You’ll have a great experience using Immerse by yourself. But for an even richer experience, try reading with friends.

Immerse: The Bible Reading Experience is an invitation to a different kind of community interaction with the Bible. Less like a Bible study, more like a book club.

- 8 or 16-week Bible listening plans take you through a large section of the Bible like the New Testament or the Torah
- Meet once a week for a free-flowing discussion about the text
- Wrestle with questions and celebrate ‘aha!’ moments together

Nothing impacts spiritual growth more than spending time in Scripture. Immerse removes many of the barriers that make Bible reading difficult and invites communities to become transformed together through the power of God’s word.

 Welcome to the saddleback church anchored life challenge which can also by found on the saddleback companion app or by purchasing the immerse messiah book from tyndale.

The anchored life challenge includes speakers such as Andy Wood, Rick Warren, and Stacie Wood. 
Immerse Messiah 15

Andy Wood: [00:00:00] Welcome to Immerse Messiah Reading for week three, day 15,

Rick Warren: immersed in Romans. A woman named Phoebe stood to address the gathering of Jesus followers in the city of Rome. She was a respected leader of the church in Crea, the Port city for Corinth, where the Apostle Paul was collecting an offering for the poor in Jerusalem. It's likely that Phoebe had been about to travel to Rome, and Paul had chosen her to carry a letter from him to the believers there.

Rick Warren: Paul had worked long and hard to announce the good news about Jesus to the eastern part of the Roman Empire. But now in A. D. 56, though Paul had not even visited the church in Rome, he writes to the believers there, I have finished my work in these regions. And after all these long years of waiting, I am eager to visit you.

Rick Warren: I am planning to go [00:01:00] to Spain, and when I do, I will stop off in Rome. And after I have enjoyed your fellowship for a little while, you can provide for my journey. In anticipation of a visit to Rome on his way to Spain, Paul writes the longest of his letters. In this letter to the Roman believers, he makes the case for the world transforming news about Jesus.

Rick Warren: News that welcomes both Jews and Gentiles together into God's family. This good news is the plan God reveals through the entire story of the Bible to bring His blessing and salvation to all nations. The Roman Church, a Gentiles, exists as a result of this good news. And as Paul's letter is read, these believers are invited to support the continued expansion of the Good News.

Rick Warren: Paul's message to the Romans follows the usual pattern of his letters, including the opening and closing greetings. [00:02:00] He starts with a clear and strong statement expressing the heart of the royal gospel about Jesus. And of his own mission as an Apostle. Following this, Paul presents a substantial teaching section in the first part of the main body of the letter.

Rick Warren: This section is as long and complex as anything we find in his letters, so it's worth saying a little more about how Paul structures the flow of his thought here. Paul regularly taught his churches, comprised of both Jews and Gentiles, the story of God's people in the First Testament. In this section, he builds his presentation of the Good News directly on the sequence of ancient Israel's calling, captivity, rescue, and promised inheritance.

Rick Warren: Paul writes that God created all people to worship Him and to serve His purposes in the world. But this human vocation was disrupted by the intrusion of sin and death. Abraham's family was chosen as the means by which God [00:03:00] would reclaim his original purpose. Through Abraham's descendants, God sent his son as Israel's Messiah to rescue them and fulfill their mission.

Rick Warren: In his death and resurrection, Jesus is shown to be the Savior of the whole world, bringing life and restoration to all peoples on earth. God's people look forward to receiving their promised inheritance when they are raised from the dead and all of creation is set free from death and decay. The second part of the main body of the letter then follows, detailing what new life in Christ should look like within a believing community of Jews and Gentiles.

Rick Warren: For example, Paul explains how they should accommodate Jews who wish to continue observing their Jewish dietary regulations and festivals, while not requiring Gentiles to participate in these activities. Between the two major sections of the main body, Paul inserts a short hymn of praise. The scope of God's restorative work through [00:04:00] Jesus is stunning.

Rick Warren: And Paul shows us that the only fitting response is worship. Oh, how great are God's riches and wisdom and knowledge! While concluding his letter, Paul asks the Roman church for help so he can continue to share the good news with all people. He both opens and closes his letter with the hope that all Gentiles everywhere will hear the good news about Jesus so that they too might believe and obey him.

Andy Wood: The Letter to the Romans This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach His good news. God promised this good news long ago through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures. The good news is about His Son. In His earthly life, He was born into King David's family line [00:05:00] and he was shown to be the son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Andy Wood: He is Jesus Christ, our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles.

Andy Wood: I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be His own holy people. May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give you grace and peace.

Andy Wood: Let me say first that I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith in Him is being talked about all over the world. God knows how often I pray for you, day and night. I bring you and your needs in [00:06:00] prayer to God whom I serve with all my heart. By spreading the good news about his son.

Andy Wood: One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing, to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you, so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.

Andy Wood: I want you to know, dear brothers and sisters, that I planned many times to visit you, but I was prevented. Until now, I want to work among you and see spiritual fruit, just as I have seen among other Gentiles. For I have a great sense of obligation to people in both the civilized world and the rest of the world, to the educated and uneducated alike.

Andy Wood: So I am eager to come to you in Rome, too, to preach the good news. For I am not ashamed of this good news about Christ. [00:07:00] It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes. The Jew first, and also the Gentile. This good news tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish, by faith.

Andy Wood: As the scriptures say, it is through faith. That a righteous person has life, but God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky through everything God made.

Andy Wood: They can clearly see his invisible qualities, his eternal power, and divine nature, so they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God, or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what [00:08:00] God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused.

Andy Wood: Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshipping the glorious, ever living God, they worshipped idols, made to look like mere people, and birds, and animals, and reptiles. So, God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies.

Andy Wood: They traded the truth about God for a lie, so they worshipped and served the things God created, instead of the Creator Himself, who is worthy of eternal praise. Amen. That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex, and instead indulged in sex with each other.

Andy Wood: And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned [00:09:00] with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved. Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, He abandoned them to their foolish thinking, and let them do things that should never be done.

Andy Wood: Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy. Murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy.

Andy Wood: They know God's justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, [00:10:00] they encourage others to do them too. You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad. And you have no excuse. When you say they are wicked and should be punished, You are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things, and we know that God in His justice will punish anyone who does such things.

Andy Wood: Since you judge others for doing these things, why do you think you can avoid God's judgment when you do the same things? Don't you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can't you see that His kindness is intended to turn you from your sin. But because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself.

Andy Wood: For a day of anger is coming, when God's righteous judgment will be revealed. He will [00:11:00] judge everyone according to what they have done. He will give eternal life to those who keep on doing good, seeking after the glory and honor and immortality that God offers. But He will pour out His anger and wrath on those who live for themselves, who refuse to obey the truth and instead live lives of wickedness.

Andy Wood: There will be trouble and calamity for everyone who keeps on doing what is evil, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. But there will be glory and honor and peace from God for all who do good, for the Jew first and also for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism. When the Gentiles sin, they will be destroyed.

Andy Wood: Even though they never had God's written law. And the Jews, who do have God's law, will be judged by that law when they fail to obey it. For merely listening to the law doesn't make us right with God. It is [00:12:00] obeying the law that makes us right in His sight. Even Gentiles, who do not have God's written law, show that they know His law when they instinctively obey it.

Andy Wood: Even without having heard it, they demonstrate that God's law is written in their hearts. For their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. And this is the message I proclaim, that the day is coming when God through Christ Jesus We'll judge everyone's secret life.

Andy Wood: You who call yourselves Jews are relying on God's law, and you boast about your special relationship with Him. You know what He wants. You know what is right, because you have been taught His law. You are convinced that you are a guide for the blind and a light for people who are lost in darkness. You think you can instruct the ignorant and teach children the ways of God, for you are certain that God's law gives you [00:13:00] complete knowledge and truth.

Andy Wood: Well then, if you teach others. Why don't you teach yourself? You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples? You are so proud of knowing the law, but you dishonor God by breaking it.

Andy Wood: No wonder the scriptures say, The Gentiles blaspheme the name of God. Because of you. The Jewish ceremony of circumcision has value only if you obey God's law. But if you don't obey God's law, you are no better off than an uncircumcised gentile. And if the Gentiles obey God's law, won't God declare them to be his own people.

Andy Wood: In fact, uncircumcised Gentiles who keep God's law will condemn you Jews who are [00:14:00] circumcised and possess God's law. But don't obey it. For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No. A true Jew is one whose heart is right with God.

Andy Wood: And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law. Rather, it is a change of heart. Produced by the Spirit, and a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people. Then what's the advantage of being a Jew? Is there any value in the ceremony of circumcision? Yes, there are great benefits.

Andy Wood: First of all, the Jews were entrusted with the whole revelation of God. True, some of them were unfaithful, but just because they were unfaithful, does that mean God will be unfaithful? Of course not. Even if everyone else is a liar, [00:15:00] God is true. As the scriptures say about Him, You will be proved right in what you say, and you will win your case in court.

Andy Wood: But, some might say, Our sinfulness serves a good purpose, for it helps people see how righteous God is. Isn't it unfair, then, for Him to punish us? This is merely a human point of view. Of course not. If God were not entirely fair, how would He be qualified to judge the world? But, some might still argue, how can God condemn me as a sinner if my dishonesty highlights His truthfulness and brings Him more glory?

Andy Wood: And some people even slander us by claiming that we say, the more we sin, the better it is. Those who say such things deserve to be condemned. Well then, should we conclude that we Jews are better than others? No, not at all. For we have already shown that all people, whether [00:16:00] Jews or Gentiles, are under the power of sin.

Andy Wood: As the scriptures say, no one is righteous, not even one. No one is truly wise. No one is seeking God. All have turned away, all have become useless. No one does good, not a single one. Their talk is foul, like the stench from an open grave. Their tongues are filled with lies. Snake venom drips from their lips.

Andy Wood: Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They rush to commit murder. Destruction and misery always follow them. They don't know where to find peace. They have no fear of God at all. Obviously, the law applies to those to whom it was given, for its purpose is to keep people from having excuses, and to show that the entire world is guilty before God.

Andy Wood: For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law [00:17:00] simply shows us how sinful we are. But now, God has shown us a way to be made right with Him, without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith In Jesus Christ.

Andy Wood: And this is true for everyone who believes. No matter who we are. For everyone has sinned. We all fall short of God's glorious standard. Yet God in His grace freely makes us right in His sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when He freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin.

Andy Wood: People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed His life, shedding His blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when He held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past. [00:18:00] For He was looking ahead and including them in what He would do in this present time.

Andy Wood: God did this to demonstrate His righteousness, for He Himself is fair and just. And he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus. Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No. Because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

Andy Wood: After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn't he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and He makes people right with Himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Well then, if we emphasize faith, does this mean that we can forget about the law? [00:19:00] Of course not.

Andy Wood: In fact, only when we have faith do we truly fulfill the law. Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What did he discover about being made right with God? If his good deeds had made him acceptable to God, he would have had something to boast about. But that was not God's way. For the scriptures tell us, Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.

Andy Wood: When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous. Not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners. David also spoke of this when he described the happiness of those who are declared righteous without working for it.

Andy Wood: Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience [00:20:00] is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin. Now, is this blessing only for the Jews, or is it also for uncircumcised Gentiles? Well, we have been saying that Abraham was counted as righteous by God because of his faith.

Andy Wood: But how did this happen? Was he counted as righteous only after he was circumcised? Or was it before he was circumcised? Clearly, God accepted Abraham before he was circumcised. Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous, even before he was circumcised.

Andy Wood: So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith. but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is [00:21:00] also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised. But only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Andy Wood: Clearly, God's promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God's law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith. If God's promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary, and the promise is pointless, for the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it.

Andy Wood: The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break. So, the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it. Whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham's. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.

Andy Wood: That is what the scriptures mean when God [00:22:00] told him, I have made you the father of many nations. This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Even when there was no reason for hope, Abraham kept hoping, believing that he would become the father of many nations.

Andy Wood: For God had said to him, That's how many descendants you will have. And Abraham's faith did not weaken. Even though, at about 100 years of age, he figured his body was as good as dead. And so was Sarah's womb. Abraham never wavered in believing God's promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger. And in this, he brought glory to God.

Andy Wood: He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. And because of Abraham's faith, God counted him as righteous. And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn't just for Abraham's benefit. [00:23:00] It was recorded for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead.

Andy Wood: He was handed over to die because of our sins, and He was raised to life to make us right with God. Therefore, since we have been made right in God's sight, by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ, our Lord, has done for us, because of our faith. Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory.

Andy Wood: We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. [00:24:00] And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.

Andy Wood: When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us.

Andy Wood: While we were still sinners and since we have been made right in God's sight by the blood of Christ He will certainly save us from God's condemnation For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his son while we were still his enemies We will certainly be saved through the life of his son so now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ is [00:25:00] Has made us friends of God.

Andy Wood: When Adam's sinned, sin entered the world. Adam's sin brought death. So death spread to everyone for everyone's sinned. Yes, people sinned even before the law was given, but it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break. Still everyone died. From the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even those who did not disobey an explicit commandment of God, as Adam did.

Andy Wood: Now, Adam is a symbol, a representation of Christ, who was yet to come, but there is a great difference between Adam's sin And God's gracious gift for the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many, but even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus [00:26:00] Christ.

Andy Wood: And the result of God's gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man's sin for Adam's sin led to condemnation, but God's free gift leads to our being made right with God. Even though we are guilty of many sins, for the sin of this one man, Adam, caused death to rule over many. But even greater is God's wonderful grace and his gift of righteousness, for all who receive it will live in triumph over sin and death, through this one man, Jesus Christ.

Andy Wood: Yes, Adam's one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ's one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God. And new life for everyone, because one person disobeyed God, many became sinners, but because one other person obeyed God. Many will be made righteous. [00:27:00] God's law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were.

Andy Wood: But as people sinned more and more, God's wonderful grace became more abundant. So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God's wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life.

Andy Wood: Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not. Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it? Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined Him in His death, for we died. And we're buried with Christ by baptism.

Andy Wood: And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. [00:28:00] Since we have been united with Him in His death, we will also be raised to life as He was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ, so that sin might lose its power in our lives.

Andy Wood: We are no longer slaves to sin, for when we died with Christ, We were set free from the power of sin, and since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with Him. We are sure of this, because Christ was raised from the dead, and He will never die again. Death no longer has any power over Him. When He died, He died once to break the power of sin, but now that He lives, He lives for the glory of God.

Andy Wood: So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God. Through Christ Jesus. Do not let sin control the way you live. Do not give in to sinful desires. [00:29:00] Do not let any part of your body Become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God for you were dead, but now you have new life.

Andy Wood: So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God. Sin is no longer your master for you. No longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God's grace. Well then, since God's grace has set us free from the law, does that mean we can go on sinning?

Andy Wood: Of course not. Don't you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death. Or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God. Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly [00:30:00] obey this teaching we have given you.

Andy Wood: Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I'm using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin.

Andy Wood: Now, you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living, so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God.

Andy Wood: Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift [00:31:00] of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. Now, dear brothers and sisters, you who are familiar with the law, don't you know that the law applies only while a person is living?

Andy Wood: For example, when a woman marries, the law binds her to her husband as long as he is alive. But if he dies, the laws of marriage no longer apply to her. So while her husband is alive, she would be committing adultery if she married another man. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law and does not commit adultery when she remarries.

Andy Wood: So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point. You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God. When we were controlled by our old [00:32:00] nature, sinful desires were at work within us.

Andy Wood: And the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death. But now we have been released from the law, for we died to it and are no longer captive to its power. Now we can serve God. Not in the old way of obeying the letter of the law, but in the new way of living in the Spirit.

Andy Wood: Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not. In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, you must not covet. But sin used this command to arouse all kinds of covetous desires within me. If there were no law, sin would not have that power.

Andy Wood: At one time, I lived without understanding the [00:33:00] law. But when I learned the command not to covet, for instance, the power of sin came to life. And I died. So I discovered that the law's commands, which were supposed to bring life, brought spiritual death instead. Sin took advantage of those commands and deceived me.

Andy Wood: It used the commands to kill me. But still, the law itself is holy, and its commands are holy, and right, and good. But how can that be? Did the law, which is good, cause my death? Of course not. Sin used what was good to bring about my condemnation to death. So we can see how terrible sin really is. It uses God's good commands for its own evil purposes.

Andy Wood: So the trouble is not with the law. For it is spiritual and good. The [00:34:00] trouble is with me. For I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself. For I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good.

Andy Wood: So I am not the one doing wrong. It is sin living in me that does it. And I know that nothing good lives in me. That is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can't. I want to do what is good, but I don't. I don't want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don't want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong.

Andy Wood: It is sin living in me that does it. I have discovered this principle of life, that when I want to do what is right, I [00:35:00] inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart, but there is another power within me. That is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me.

Andy Wood: Oh, what a miserable person I am. Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God. The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is. In my mind, I really want to obey God's law. But because of my sinful nature, I am a slave to sin. So now, there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.

Andy Wood: And because you belong to Him, the power of the life giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us. [00:36:00] Because of the weakness of our sinful nature, so God did what the law could not do. He sent His own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have, and in that body, God declared an end to sin's control over us by giving His Son as a sacrifice for our sins.

Andy Wood: He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature, but instead follow the Spirit. Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit.

Andy Wood: So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death, but letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God's [00:37:00] law, and it never will. That's why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

Andy Wood: But you are not controlled by your sinful nature. You are controlled by the Spirit, if you have the Spirit of God living in you. And remember, that those who do not have the Spirit of Christ living in them do not belong to Him at all. And Christ lives within you. So even though your body will die because of sin, The Spirit gives you life.

Andy Wood: Because you have been made right with God, the Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, He will give life to your mortal bodies, by this same Spirit living within you. Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sinful nature urges you to do.

Andy Wood: For if you live by its dictates, You will die, [00:38:00] but if, through the power of the Spirit, you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God's Spirit when He adopted you as His own children.

Andy Wood: Now we call Him Abba, Father, for His Spirit joins with our spirit, to affirm that we are God's children. And since we are His children, we are His heirs. In fact, together with Christ, we are heirs of God's glory, but if we are to share His glory. We must also share His suffering. Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory He will reveal to us later.

Andy Wood: For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who His children [00:39:00] really are. Against its will, all creation was subjected to God's curse. But with eager hope, the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God's children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning, as in the pains of childbirth, right up to the present time.

Andy Wood: And we believers also groan. Even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering, we, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as His adopted children, including the new bodies He has promised us.

Andy Wood: We were given this hope when we were saved. If we already have something, we don't need to hope for it. But if we look forward to something we don't yet have, we must wait patiently. And the Holy [00:40:00] Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

Andy Wood: And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying. For the Spirit pleads for us believers. In harmony with God's own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. For God knew His people in advance and He chose them to become like His Son so that His Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.

Andy Wood: And having chosen them, He called them to come to Him. And having called them, He gave them right standing with Himself. And having given them right standing, He gave them His glory. What shall we say about [00:41:00] such wonderful things as these? If God is for us Who can ever be against us, since He did not spare even His own Son, but gave Him up for us all?

Andy Wood: Won't He also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for His own? No one, for God Himself has given us right standing with Himself. Who then will condemn us? No one, for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God's right hand, pleading for us.

Andy Wood: Can anything ever separate us from Christ's love? Does it mean He no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? As the Scriptures say, For your sake we are killed every day. [00:42:00] We are being slaughtered like sheep. No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

Andy Wood: And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love, neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow, not even the powers of hell. Can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below. Indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Andy Wood: This concludes today's Immerse Reading Experience. Thank you for joining us.