Today's adventure drove me to taking a deeper look at the word Therefore. I love words, and especially the words which are significantly and strategically placed in Scripture to help us understand the heart of God.
Through many years of studying the Bible and being taught by some incredible teachers, I've learned to always read the Bible in context. When the word therefore is used, I've learned to ask, "What is it there for?", and back up in the text for clarification. Therefore is a connector which joins the previous text with the future text.
The spark from Sunday's sermon drew me to a very simple, but profound understanding of why therefore is used in the New Testament. Researching briefly Strong's Concordance Sunday afternoon, I discovered that therefore is used 53 times in the New Testament.
Though I have definitely not exhausted my research, or my theory theologically, I do believe three simple words could be interjected after every therefore in the New Testament; because of Jesus.
For example, Sunday's sermon was focused on Romans 8:1-4 (NIV) which begins, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus."
What is the therefore there for? If we insert those three simple words, "Therefore, (because of Jesus), there is now no condemnation for those who are in Jesus Christ," it becomes perfectly clear.
Another example: Acts 2:36 (NIV) says, "Therefore (because of Jesus) let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." A description of Jesus is given before in verse 33, so because of Jesus works again.
Here's one more example: Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV) says, "Therefore, (because of Jesus), my dear friends, as you have always obeyed-not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence-continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose." An extensive description of Jesus preludes these verses in verses 5-11, so it works here too.
Remember, this is just my theory. I will have to continue looking at all 53 uses of Therefore in the New Testament to see if this works all the time. Until then, think about this:
Because of Jesus - His willingness to step out of heaven and into skin, to be born of a virgin, to live in a body of flesh just like us, but still filled with the Divine...
Because of Jesus - His sacrifice satisfied the wrath of the Father for all sins committed by all humans. His sovereignty, His forgiveness, His mercy, His grace, His love, His position, His humility, His greatness, His Sonship, etc...
Because of Jesus - We who are in Him are not condemned by Him.
Because of Jesus - We are free! Free to point others to Him, free from fear, and free from the power of sin.
We can live life to the full because of Jesus.