In Genesis Joseph speaks to his brothers after their father died. The brothers are fearful that, in his position of power, Joseph will take vengeance on them for the time they threw him into a pit, ignoring his pleas (Psalm 105:17-20) and sold him as a slave. But Joseph now sees the events from God’s perspective.

“Joseph said to them, ‘Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? …you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring about …” (Genesis 50:19,20). We should to look into all strange and unexpected events to see whether the hand of God is there, allowing or causing events for some divine purpose. But we usually perceive this only later, not as the events unfold. This also to our endeavours to understand prophecy.

Psalm 51 reveals David’s total remorse and repentance after his sin with Bathsheba, an example for all who awake to what a mess they have made in some part of their lives – but the awakening must be from the heart and create a prayerful seeking of God’s guidance.

Then in Romans we have Paul’s powerful portrayal of the impact that the sacrifice of Christ must have on us, as it had on him. This impact may not come to begin with, but it must come if we are to be people whom our Lord can use in his service. Paul writes of how “the free gift of grace of that one man (in contrast to Adam). Jesus Christ abounded for many” (5:15). Yet, because it is free, do we really appreciate it? Don’t misunderstand the teaching of grace – it is not always abounding, regardless of what we might do.

In chapter 6 Paul makes a special point, “We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus”.

Then he says to those in Rome and of all ages, “you also must consider yourselves dead to sin” and pleads, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies, to make you obey their passions” (verses 11,12). Let us all see ourselves to be “dead” to sin. And if we cannot see that, then draw closer to Christ, our mediator, in earnest prayer.